Is UCT racist?
This is the question hot on the lips of UCT students, but can be stretched to the mouths of universities around the country.
In a heated and open discussion held at UCT, the topic of UCT’s admission policy was the main focus. The debate also involved questioning racial prejudices amongst students and staff members.
It seems that one cannot discuss matters of race without offending another or without raising the tension in the room. This is exactly what happened at UCT. Some of the comments by students in an article by UCT’s Student Newspaper were “many white students felt that all white people were ‘inherently racist’ and that ‘even though some of them will deny it’ whites predominately tend to consider blacks as inferior”.
That comment caused an outcry from many white students on the night, whom condemned the generalization and argued that issue is not about race but rather about class and economic divisions.
Saying this, race is ever present and cannot simply be ignored, especially when we are reminded about it every day in the media. It is no wonder then that one student said “As a white female I constantly battle with subconscious notions of racism. Even though it’s something subtle, like a brief thought or a quick glance, I know it’s there and it’s something I have come to terms with.”
Another issue brought up by the students was the problem of lecturers and tutors favouring white students. Staff members were accused of being impatient with black students.
The reasons given for racism at UCT include that the institution was built during the colonial era and has a racist past. Others say it can be blamed on society and the media.
Another question making it way around twitter is around admissions policies. Marius Fransman, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation said that “students in African and coloured townships in the Western Cape have 0.006% chance of getting into UCT”.
It seems a meeting in which constructive dialogue was supposed to be created resulted in a venting session, raising the question yet again. How are we to talk about race when such tension is the inevitable result? How did such an event at UCT help the problem of racism?
We want to know what you think, please leave a comment telling us if you have experienced racism and how you dealt with it.