Race as the magic potion for superstitious progressives - Businesslive

15 March 2021 - We probably don’t know enough about Meghan Markle’s claim that someone in the House of Windsor fretted about the skin colour of a potential future princeling to say very much, other than that any such anxiety advertises a mental shortfall that’s almost comical.

Michael Morris
We probably don’t know enough about Meghan Markle’s claim that someone in the House of Windsor fretted about the skin colour of a potential future princeling to say very much, other than that any such anxiety advertises a mental shortfall that’s almost comical.

To imagine there’s any meaning in the difference between pallid or dusky is on a par with tolerating the notion that the moon is conceivably made of green cheese.

Yet, to have to spell it out, to actually verbalise the ordinary idea — I would even call it a truth — that race thinking is superstitious backwardness is rendered necessary much less by the insecurity of choleric traditionalists (which is perhaps what they think they are) than by their hotly convinced opponents.

After all, racialism, long the preserve of an effete white supremacism, has become far more prominent as the contemporary — de rigueur, far from old-fashioned — fixation of “progressives”.

That America’s Variety magazine, for example, got it wrong last month in calling The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy a “woman of colour” (extolling the virtue of her being “the first woman of colour” to win a Golden Globe for best actress since 2008) is astonishing not so much because it managed, incomprehensibly, to be mistaken, but actually because it deemed Taylor-Joy’s skin tone to be in the least bit significant in the first place.

If we are not obliged to endorse the desolate concept that you can know all you need to know about people just by looking at them, we should not mistake it for being inconsequential.

Just last week political economist Siseko Maposa said of the DA that its “appeal to ‘non-racial constitutionalists’ for votes is terribly weak given the current socioeconomic conditions poor, black South Africans face”.

The logic, Maposa assumes, is self-evident — yet it contains the unmistakable sleight of hand of associating unsatisfactory economic outcomes for poor black people with policies that deliberately discount their race in favour of their economic plight.

Socioeconomic data on the Western Cape, which has long been under a DA administration, may provide the tools for a more meaningful analysis.

According to Quality of Life Index data collated by the Centre for Risk Analysis at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), the Western Cape has the best quality of life based on 10 weighted socioeconomic indicators, with a score of 6.5 against a national average of 5.7.

It is the best-performing province in employment, with an expanded unemployment rate of 27.3%, the only province below 30% and well below the national average of 42%. It has the highest number of households spending R10,000 or more per month (35.9% against a national 18.3%). It has the highest percentage (14.5% against a national 6.6%) of households living in homes being paid off to a bank or financial institution.

Nearly 99% of the province’s households have access to piped water, compared with 88.2% nationally, and 96% (national average 82.3%) have access to a flush toilet, chemical toilet or a pit latrine.

If it’s doubtful that the DA can claim credit for all of this, there’s little doubt it can claim credit for a lot of it. It has a record, now, of running things in the Western Cape far better than the way things are run in the rest of the country.

To seriously argue that black people are incapable of assimilating meaningful data about their environment and their wellbeing is no different from seriously imagining that a royal family might be altered by the hue of an infant.

• Morris is IRR head of media.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/columnists/2021-03-14-michael-morris-race-as-the-magic-potion-for-superstitious-progressives/

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