South African Journal of Higher Education

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Racism, education and internationalization

AD Slabbert


Race and stereotypes remain emotive words in numerous societies. Racism implies that a definitive psychological process exists through which individuals are categorised. A non-racial world can only exist if theories and postulations re race are rendered irrelevant. To assess the relative status of racist paradigms in students, 265 students completed a questionnaire, which attempted to measure ethnic group identification and particular interracial attitudes. Results were disappointing. Significant indications of racist stereotypes were found in all racial groups, with a strong bias towards subjects own racial groups. The primary conclusion is that racist perceptions and stereotypes remain very prevalent in South Africa. Education at all levels prepares individuals for functioning at optimal level within the world of work, which is increasingly dominated by the concepts of globalisation and internationalisation. Racism evokes discrimination, and is regarded as a contra indicator for economic prosperity. In order to establish South Africa as an economic role-player on the international stage, it is essential to reduce existing levels of racism. Formal educational input on all levels re the concept of race, is essential to achieve this aim. Education per se may not be a passive observer in this process.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.16(1) 2002: 161-168
AJOL African Journals Online