Discourse on Affirmative Action: Perspectives of a Privileged Minority

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: Harbor Lounge A
Oral Presentation
Charles PUTTERGILL , Sociology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
The legislated system of racial privileging institutionalised under apartheid in South Africa was dismantled with the transition to an inclusive democracy. With the normality of a racialised order questioned measures were instituted to address the legacy of the apartheid workplace regime. In this paper the discourse of middle-class whites to challenges to entitlements they have enjoyed historically, is considered. This discourse reveals how privilege and disadvantage is conceived, and shifts, with a loss of power to dictate terms of engagement with others. Narratives on colour-blind merit, efficiency and equity are marshalled to protect a privilege position and challenge potential threats.