Cornell Law Review Volume 90 Issue 2

Nonracialism as an Educational and World View: Lessons from South African Teachers

For South Africans who fought apartheid, nonracialism was reinforced daily as a tenet of struggle.  By fighting the regime, apartheid resistors defied the government’s racial policies and distinctions and proclaimed only one race: the human race.  Nonracialism was evidence in the lives of Nelson Mandela and his comrades, black and white, who fight apartheid and were tried together in the infamous Rivonia Trial.  It was also evidence in the lives of the many workers and teachers, young and old, who believed that race did not exist and apartheid had to end.  Many of South Africa’s teachers took a nonracialist approach to education, joining pedagogy and politics by illegally integrating schools, hiring nonracial teachers, bending definitions of racial exclusion and identifying themselves in terms of the struggle against apartheid.  This Article describes specific incidents in the lives of teachers who not only fought the apartheid regime, but also displayed their strong belief in nonracialism.  Drawing from the writings of Paul Gilroy, this Article analyzes South African nonracialism and the consequences of nonracialism’s absence from American struggles.


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