Colour and Culture in South Africa: A Study of the Status of the Cape Coloured People within the Social Structure of the Union of South Africa

Colour and Culture in South Africa: A Study of the Status of the Cape Coloured People within the Social Structure of the Union of South Africa

Colour and Culture in South Africa: A Study of the Status of the Cape Coloured People within the Social Structure of the Union of South Africa

Colour and Culture in South Africa: A Study of the Status of the Cape Coloured People within the Social Structure of the Union of South Africa

Excerpt

If any body shall reprove me, and shall make it apparent unto me, that in any either opinion or action of mine I doe erre, I will most gladly retract. For it is the truth that I seeke after, by which I am sure that never any man was hurt; and as sure, that he is hurt that continueth in any error, or ignorance whatso- ever . -- MARCUS AURELIUS.

GUNNAR Myrdal, in the preface to An American Dilemma , gives his general terms of reference in the following passage:

'The study, thus conceived, should aim at determining the social, political, educational and economic status of the Negro in the United States, as well as defining opinions held by different groups of Negroes and whites as to his "right status". It must, further, be concerned with both recent changes and current trends with respect to the Negro's position in American society. Attention must also be given to the total American picture with particular emphasis on relations between the two races. Finally it must consider what changes are being or can be induced by education, legislation, inter-racial efforts, concerted action by Negro groups, etc.'

The execution of such a work required the co-operation of a large number of specialists in various branches of the social sciences over a considerable period of time. Any single-handed attempt to follow similar terms of reference, even in the smaller South African context, must therefore seem unduly ambitious. In the absence, however, of any large body of sociological literature on, or indeed of a general sociological survey of, the Cape Coloured People, it seemed advisable to make as wide a study as possible of this group within the framework of the larger society, even at the risk of superficiality.

After a brief historical sketch of the origins and formation of the Coloured People, the study does in fact follow the general pattern outlined by Myrdal, except that the final practical stipulation has not been followed out in comparable detail. The Negro problem presents itself to many American sociologists as one of applied science, i.e., how to bring the Southern 'caste-system' into line with the egalitarian . . .

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