> >And there's one thing that is continually ignored....
> >The original apartheid advantaged a group that started off from an equal
> >or better footing than an other group over that other group.
> >Affirmative action advantages a group that starts off on a lower level
> >than another group over that other group. To complain about this because
> >it gives on group an advantage over another is a gross simplification.
> I will willingly concede all of that.
> You'll recall some figures that I posted a while back about the
> provision of sports facilities in Pietermaritzburg in 1990. 30
> something pitches (most of them turf) for white kids, one matting
> wicket for coloreds and Indians, NOTHING for black kids.
> It takes more than a couple of years and the repealing of legislation
> to redress that kind of imbalance.
> But demands like those from the ANCYL are the other extreme of the
> pendulum. You can't legislate a certain quota of players into the
> squad and have it done on anything approaching merit - even if merit
> is defined as "long term potential".
> If SA had to pick 3 "african" players right now they could have Ntini
> and Ngam give a reasonable account of themselves, and maybe Tsolikele
> as a keeper. But who else? If any of those three were injured you'd
> HAVE to include a player who has no business being there purely
> because he is "african".
> And there's a chance that demands like the ANCYLs will open another
> can of worms: precisely how african must a player be to be african?
I agree with most of what Bob says, and little of what Moby says.
Moby just doesnt understand the difference between quotas and
affirmative action, and as much I have tried to explain it to him, he
just doesnt get it.
Quotas are racist, pure and simple. Affirmative action is not and
never has been detached from merit, despite what Moby thinks.
Now, according to Moby's rationale, he cant account for other
disadvantaged groups. What about the economically disadvantaged?
Should we tilt the scales for them? What about the religiously
persecuted? Ideologically persecuted?
Not to mention, the quota system, unlike affirmative action, just
encourages racism. If we accede to the ANC Youth leagues demands we
will not just discriminate against whites, as Moby seems to suggest we
should do (something, again, that affirmative action does not suggest
should happen), what about other disadvantaged groups. What if the
eleven best cricketers in RSA are Indian? Do we still have to pick 3
African players, as the ANC Youth league suggests? Well, I suppose
they would argue that the Indians were "less" disadvantaged than the
Africans under Apartheid, as were the coloureds, so we should have a
inverse quota scale. Soon, we just have everything based on race: the
RSA team must have X amount of Africans, regardless, even if it keeps
out Whites, Indians, Coloureds, Asians, etc. Thats just plain racist.
At least where MOby and I are finding common ground is in development
and transformation at the lower levels, because quite simply at that
point its easier to equalize opportunity so that the outcomes are
equal on merit. If black kid A and white kid B both have appropriate
facilities at birth, both have equal opportunity to earn their spot on
As I have constantly said, Apartheid was around for 40+ years, and
racial segregation long before that. It wont be fixed in 10 years, and
it sure as hell wont be fixed by cosmetic transformation - stick 11
black faces in the team and it'll all be equal. Ludicrous! Add to
that the fact that sport, unlike education or business, is not an easy
or even appropriate forum for affirmative action, never mind quotas,
and its just a plain bad idea to rush it. While less qualified
candidates can and do succeed in academic and business environments,
sport is not a like creature. You cant take an unqualified candidate
and make them an international level bowler. You can take an
unqualified applicant and get them a adequate education, or make them
minimally or even optimally productive at work.
Add to all of this that RSA has a constitution expressly prohibiting
this kind of conduct, adopted by the majority that Moby suggests
quotas are designed to protect, and its becomes even more abhorrent.
Plus, lets not forget, the greatest measure of a constitutional
democracy is how it protects its minorities, not its majority.
Moby's "means justify the ends" approach is just the tyranny of the
liberal - its my approach, it must be right, no matter what. Its why
Moby thinks that if the black majority adopt a constitution
prohibiting discriminatory practice, even with the "good intentions"
of equalizing the imbalances and rectifying the injustices of the
past, that black majority doesnt really understand what it needs.
At the end of the day you dont rectify injustice with injustice. All
you do is compound the past injustice. While Ontong's case may appear
marginal, and arguments (albeit flimsy ones) can be made for Sonn's
position, a minor injustice is still an injustice, and naturally its
just a slippery slope from there.
Perhaps people like Moby, who agree with him, should pay closer
attention to the mindset of those enforcing these quotas. How Sonn
already said there should be more quotas, not opportunities, in the
national team. How the ANC Youth league not only demand quotas, but
subdivided quotas according to race. How Abrahams, Ngoconde Balfour's
spokesman, spewed racial diatribes at the former players perfectly
rational and justifiable criticisms, accusing them of everything from
racial incitement to out and out racism. Its informative how those
who favor quotas etc characterize everything in terms of race and
nothing else. If that isnt a racist mindset, nothing is. Its stupid
and naive to think whats going on is affirmative action. The only
difference between this rhetoric and that of Apartheid, for those who
bother to read it up, is the target colour.
When the ANC Youth League issue statements that a "lily-white" team
are a "Mickey Mouse" group who do not represent South Africa, thats
indicative of a greater problem than redressing the balances of the
past. Its indicitive of a "throw the whites out, put the blacks in"
mentality that trickles down the entire ladder. Its persecution of a
minority only because they are a minority, the only difference being
this time its a white minority. What happens in 50 years, or 100
years, when this attitude has permeated down the generations, and the
eleven best cricketers in RSA are all white, or all Indian, or all
coloured? How long before this attitude extends beyond sport to
economics, beyond economics to education, beyond education to property
rights, to land ownership?
Its an approach that encourages the meritorious, whether white or
black or Indian or whatever, to leave, rather than risk losing what
Anyone who thinks redressing the injustices of the past should be done
with a bulldozer is simply stupid and insensitive. South Africa needs
tolerance, patience, and nurturing through the rebuilding phase. It
doesnt need intolerant rhetoric, hasty quota filling, and more than
this militant "its all ours now" approach. In the long run, South
Africa will decline into decay, racism, ***shed, ignorance and
intolerance yet again. Only this time, because its minorities
suffering, the world will shrug its shoulders and mumble the usual
platitudes about "third world" and "developing country" and "emerging
democracy." About how its a constitutional democracy, like, oh,
Zimbabwe five years ago, and how external interference would be an
imposition on a sovereign.
Quite sickening, really.
The only thing more sickening is the pseudo-intellectuals who try hide
all this behind "the injustices of the past" and ignore real
principles of justice and true equality.