In April a number of media outlets ran the news of how white people still dominate management position in South Africa. I don’t know what the media, without generalizing too much, think of South Africans. I don’t whether we were being asked to be surprised, disappointed, angry, or laugh that there isn’t much new about who runs the show in the not so new South Africa.
The news came out of the latest report of the Commission on Employment Equity. The report shows that whites had over 72% of the top management jobs in the country and Africans just over 12%. Equally interesting, 80.1% of top managers were male, and 19.8% female.
Why is this news? Whites as a group economically dominate South Africa. It’s called structural racism.
Men as a group economically dominate women in South Africa. It’s called sexism, and there are quite a few in high offices who believe that women must obey men.
If you want to get ahead in a place like that you are best off born white, boy. It’s called capitalist racist patriarchy, stupid! If you are not white, you better learn how to behave like a white boy. Now, that’s a story.
You think I am not serious? Well, yes, but not entirely. White culture dominates South African public life. And men dominate in that culture too.
The truth is most people don’t seem to understand that you don’t have to be a white to think that black people are cut out for running anything, let alone countries or multinationals. A spaza shop, maybe. There is a study I included in a book I edited years ago that showed that all races believed that white people should be on top and Africans at the bottom.
Second, you don’t have to be male to think that females are born to be subordinate to males. In spite of decades of feminist thought and women’s liberation activism, way too many women, girls, boys and men believe that men are naturally superior to women, should earn more, should head households, should have more women but not the converse, and should be served by women and children.
Last, capitalism – or in that seductive language you hear on SABC, CNN, BBC, eNCA and read in Business Day, Business Report, Business Times, and every business journal you can think of, the market is not a friend to economic equality. The market, like racism and patriarchy, feeds of inequality. We are taught to enjoy dominating others, to aspire to travelling in business and first class. To buy bigger cars. To hide behind high walls and boom gates.
That is what capitalist market creates. It divides people, and let the poor eat cake.
When capitalists, racists, and patriarchs get together, you get white men on top, with a sprinkling of black faces, and everybody else better get on with trying to be like us.
The views expressed here are mine and mine alone.