Letter: DA in two minds on race issue - Businesslive

1 April 2019 - The DA might think that its occasional and qualified flirtations with race nationalism are innocent and of little consequence. They are not. In crossing a key line of liberal principle, the DA risks setting in motion a chain of events the consequences of which few people can properly imagine.

On the question of race being a proxy for disadvantage, the DA sounds ever more like the United Party of old with its mantra of “separate development with justice”.

The DA has changed its tune from saying that “race is a proxy for disadvantage” to a new line that “race is not the only proxy for disadvantage”. This is a device that allows the party to have it both ways. It can flirt with the race nationalism of the ANC when convenient while telling its more liberal constituents not to worry as race is not very important at all. In other words, it takes the coward’s way out on the most intractable point of policy and principle faced by our country.

The ANC, to its credit, is bold enough to stand up and say what it believes, that race must be the basis of policy. There is no faffing about.

At the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), we are bold enough to say that it should not be and that policy should be based on established socioeconomic disadvantage. A colleague reports that, at a recent briefing in Johannesburg, Francis Fukuyama was asked what he had learned since predicting the end of history. His answer was essentially that democracies can reverse. The effect of what he was saying is that even the best liberal traditions can reverse and cave in on themselves.

The DA might think that its occasional and qualified flirtations with race nationalism are innocent and of little consequence. They are not. In crossing a key line of liberal principle, the DA risks setting in motion a chain of events the consequences of which few people can properly imagine.       

Frans Cronje
Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2019-04-01-letter-da-in-two-minds-on-race-issue/

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