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Whiteness Is the New South Africa

Qualitative Research on Post-Apartheid Racism


Christopher B. Knaus and M. Christopher Brown II

In 1994, the world joined South Africa in celebration of the results of its first democratic election. The results, emblazoned on the world’s memory with President Nelson Mandela waving to a multiracial crowd, signified the end of apartheid and an emerging new era of hope. However, Mandela’s recent death has given birth to a more critical view of his «Rainbow Nation.» No matter how examined, education in South Africa remains steadfastly unequal, with many White children retaining the educational privileges inherent to apartheid. White children in South Africa overwhelmingly attend wealthy, fully resourced schools, while the vast majority of Black and Coloured children attend woefully underresourced schools.
Based upon three sets of studies in schools in and around Cape Town, Whiteness Is the New South Africa highlights drastic racial disparities, suggesting that educational apartheid continues unabated, potentially fostering future generations of impoverished Black and Coloured communities. This book suggests that South Africa remains committed to stifling the intellectual, emotional, and economic development of Black and Coloured youth, while simultaneously investing in White children.


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Appendix A: Researching Racism in South African Schools: A Clarification of Methods


appendix a Researching Racism in South African Schools: A Clarification of Methods About the Sample Participating schools were recruited from a random sample of 100 schools in the Cape Town area. Efforts were made to ensure that predominantly White, Coloured, and Black schools were identified to allow for comparative analy- sis. Follow-up discussions with school leadership determined their fit for the larger study (which was based on enrollments, resource levels, locations, and predominant race of students). From the pool of 100 schools, preliminary interviews were conducted with principals to determine willingness to partic- ipate and appropriateness of inclusion in the study. A total of 25 schools were then included in the final analysis. Of these 25, 15 were primary and 10 were secondary schools. Table A.1 shows the breakdown of participating schools by race and school type.1 The sample does not represent all schools in the Western Cape, much less all of South Africa. Indeed, a number of schools are worse off, and some are better resourced than those included in this study. Schools are categorized based upon their predominant enrollment groupings. Only the White schools reflected the full range of South African racial and language backgrounds, but these schools were largely White (typically in the 90% range) with mere 204 whiteness is the new south africa sprinklings of Asian, Indian, Coloured, and Black students (and many of the Black students were recent immigrants from Zimbabwe or the Democratic Republic of Congo). Coloured schools typically had 75–90% Coloured stu-...

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