Monday, March 20, 2006

CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

Once again the Christian Science Monitor has covered a story that may not be "news" but it is interesting. Today they report on the plight of working-class Afrikaners outside of Pretoria. Not a pretty picture.

Where there were plentiful, almost guaranteed jobs for white, working class South Africans under the apartheid regime, many of those same jobs have gone to black South Africans since the fall of apartheid. This makes sense. Blacks are something like 80% of the population, and their total exclusion from these jobs demands redress. There is no doubt about that. Equity and fairness demand that black South Africans be allowed and invited to take a stake in their country.

However, the people being hurt by this redress are not the leaders on the apartheid state. The rich stayed rich, and the ones who did not emigrate to the United Kingdom, Australia, or the United States mostly still have their stuff. Instead, the burden has fallen on the working class, who did not have tremendous job skills to begin with, and are not competitive in the new environment. I know that I sound like a Marxist, but this is just robbing one poor group to pay another poor group, while the money stays where it was.

The last line of the story is fascinating. The journalist writes "'If we were black, it would be easier.' The irony is as thick as her Afrikans accent."

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