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Confronting the categories: Equitable admissions without apartheid race classification

Z Erasmus


South Africa’s government requires information on apartheid race classification to implement and monitor racial redress. This has sparked resistance to race classification as a criterion for redress in higher education admissions. I argue that (1) jettisoning apartheid race categories now in favour of either class or ‘merit’ would set back the few gains made toward redress; (2) against common sense uses of ‘race’ and against the erasure of ‘race’ through class reductionism; and (3) for developing and testing new indicators for ‘race’ and class disadvantage with a view to eventually replacing apartheid race categories. I offer a critical-race-standpoint as an alternative conceptual orientation and method for transformative admissions committed to racial redress that is socially just. I conclude that admissions criteria should encompass the lived realities of inequality and be informed by a conception of humanism as critique. This requires resistance to ways of knowing orchestrated by apartheid’s codes.

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eISSN: 1011-3487