Embracing racial reasoning: the DASO poster controversy and ‘race’ politics in contemporary South Africa

The authors examine the response to a poster published by South Africa’s official opposition’s youth wing, the Democratic Alliance’s Student Organisation (DASO) as part of a political campaign in 2012. From commentary that the poster’s publication generated, they excavate some of the key discursive strategies used by commentators to negotiate the gulf between the constitutional value of non-racialism and the lived contemporary reality of race in South Africa. Many commentators situated themselves either as ‘colour-blind’, or reformulated ‘race’ as ‘class’ or ‘culture’. In making visible some of these strategies, and the attendant (re-)racialised narratives upon which they rely, the authors highlight the paradoxes that inhere in the idea of ‘non-racialism’ – a notion that implies that race must simultaneously be thought and ‘un-thought’. Racial categories contrived by apartheid have been somewhat rearranged and rearticulated, but nevertheless continue to operate today as organising principles. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: Embracing racial reasoning: the DASO poster controversy and ‘race’ politics in contemporary South Africa
Authors: Vincent, Louise
Howell, Simon
Year: 2014
Periodical: Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Volume: 40
Issue: 1
Pages: 75-90
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070.2014.877651
Abstract: The authors examine the response to a poster published by South Africa’s official opposition’s youth wing, the Democratic Alliance’s Student Organisation (DASO) as part of a political campaign in 2012. From commentary that the poster’s publication generated, they excavate some of the key discursive strategies used by commentators to negotiate the gulf between the constitutional value of non-racialism and the lived contemporary reality of race in South Africa. Many commentators situated themselves either as ‘colour-blind’, or reformulated ‘race’ as ‘class’ or ‘culture’. In making visible some of these strategies, and the attendant (re-)racialised narratives upon which they rely, the authors highlight the paradoxes that inhere in the idea of ‘non-racialism’ – a notion that implies that race must simultaneously be thought and ‘un-thought’. Racial categories contrived by apartheid have been somewhat rearranged and rearticulated, but nevertheless continue to operate today as organising principles. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]