Prejudice and Discrimination Article

Everyone knows that each country will have some sort of prejudice and discrimination happening within the nation. Not every country will let the discrimination and discrimination among the people lead into such things as wars, segregation, political unrest, and poverty, while other countries cannot seem to do much to stop things from occurring. Today the discussion will be about the discrimination and prejudice which Black Africans and Colored face in South Africa as well as the different races and ethnicities within South Africa. Cultures, Races, and Ethnic Groups First we need to take a good look at the meaning of culture, race, and ethnicity to better understand how each goes together. Culture deals with the values, beliefs, behaviors, and material objects, which help, form a way of life for people. Race is when people are, categorized by the biological traits in which those in the society share, such as whites, African American, Asian, and others. Some might be classified as a certain race due to traits such as the hair, skin color, facial features, or even body shape. Ethnicity is dealing with shared cultural heritage based on ancestors, language, and religions, which those people share. As we see these three things can go together, but they are also not alike in some ways as well. (Macionis, 2006) South Africa is comprised of many different languages, cultures, religions, and races. The nation consists of about “75 percent black, 14 percent white, 9 percent Colored, which is mixed racial heritage, and two percent Asian” as far as races go. (Knight and Mabunda, 2000) Then the races are divided out even more to form “ethnic groups with blacks being 5.6 million Xhosa, 5.3 million Zulu, and 4.2 million English” and “the 3.6 million Colored coming from many origins with a mixture of white, black and Asian ancestries” while the “6 million whites are about 3.6 million Afrikaner and 2.4 English heritages.

Racism is the belief that one racial category is innately superior or inferior to another. There are many cases where one race has killed another race just because they were different. A race is a socially constructed category composed of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society consider important. People may classify one another racially based on physical characteristics such as skin color, facial features, hair texture, and body shape. (Macionis, 2006). Race and ethnicity sometimes can be easily confused. The only way to clearly define the difference in the two is this: race refers to a person’s biological phenotype. Examples of races are Asian, African American, Indian, Caucasian, and so on. Ethnicity refers to a person’s cultural characteristics. Ethnicity is commonly defined by language, customs, or culture, common ancestors, and religion.

Due to the country’s great ethnic diversity, South Africa has no single national culture. Ethnic and cultural assimilation have begun slowly to change this situation, but cultural differences still tend to correspond closely with racial ones, and each ethnic group may be identified with a more or less distinctive culture. At least 77% of South Africans are black Africans. Despite the effects of urbanization and westernization, (most black South Africans speak English or Afrikaans as well as an African mother tongue), the majority remain very poor and live rural and necessarily simple lives. Culture among black South Africans is consistent but by no means homogenous; marked distinctions can still be made along ethno-linguistic lines.

South Africa’s policy of black economic empowerment (BEE) is not simply a moral initiative to redress the wrongs of the past. It is a pragmatic growth strategy that aims to realize the country’s full economic potential. In the decades before South Africa achieved democracy in 1994, the apartheid government systematically excluded African, Indian and colored people from meaningful participation in the country’s economy. This inevitably caused much poverty and suffering – and a profoundly sick economy. The distortions in the economy eventually led to a crisis, started in the 1970s, when gross domestic product (GDP) growth fell to zero, and then hovered at about 3.4% in the 1980s. At a time when other developing economies with similar resources were growing, South Africa was stagnating. South African Colored culture is not easy to define as it refers to all people not categorized as white, black or Asian under racial classifications during apartheid.

The first Colored people of South Africa were the slaves brought to the Cape after 1652 by the Dutch from the Dutch East Indies. The descendants of these people are sometimes referred to as Cape Malays.

The South African Colored belief system of the descendants of slaves and exiled political prisoners brought here from the East by the Dutch is rooted in Islam. Among the political prisoners captured during their fight for freedom were holy men of noble birth who read secretly from the Koran to their people. (South African Tourism Research Site)

The literature on transitional justice relates mechanisms such as truth commissions to the politics of negotiations. Such mechanisms are considered necessary to effect a smooth transition in circumstances where the institutions of the old order remain to a greater or lesser degree in place, yet are perceived as being unable or unwilling to facilitate the transition to a more democratic culture. In South Africa, as in many other emerging democracies, a crisis of legitimacy afflicted institutions such as the judiciary and security forces; they were thus seen as being constrained in their capacity to usher in a new order founded on democratic values — especially for issues of accountability and prosecutions. Yet the need for these “special” transitional mechanisms implies a weakness or vulnerability in the new democracy’s ability to effectively affect the institutions of the old government and ensure political stability and peace. Thus in South Africa, for example, the amnesty provisions that formed one of the key planks of the TRC resulted from an effective refusal by the former apartheid government’s security forces to guarantee peaceful elections without a reciprocal agreement by the premier liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), to provide some form of amnesty. Truth commissions are far from being merely a technical bridge between old and new; rather, they reflect the lines of ongoing contestation among and within opposing camps. The parliamentary debate that shaped the South African truth commission, for example, was extremely lengthy and heated, with the forces of the old order trying to limit the power and scope of the commission.

Reference Page

Macionis, 2006

Knight and Mabunda, 2000

South African Tourism Research Site

The African National Congress (ANC