Ordinary Whites in Apartheid Society
Social Histories of Accommodation
By Neil Roos
How were whites implicated in and shaped by apartheid culture and society, and how did they contribute to it? In Ordinary Whites in Apartheid Society, historian Neil Roos traces the lives of ordinary white people in South Africa during the apartheid years, beginning in 1948 when the National Party swept into power on the back of its catchall apartheid slogan. Drawing on his own family's story and others, Roos explores how working-class whites frequently defied particular aspects of the apartheid state but seldom opposed or even acknowledged the idea of racial supremacy, which lay at the heart of the apartheid society. This cognitive dissonance afforded them a way to simultaneously accommodate and oppose apartheid and allowed them to later claim they never supported the apartheid system. Ordinary Whites in Apartheid Society offers a telling reminder that the politics and practice of race, in this case apartheid-era whiteness, derive not only from the top, but also from the bottom.
About the Author
Neil Roos is author of Ordinary Springboks: White Servicemen and Social Justice in South Africa, 1939–1961. He is currently Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities and professor of history at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. He is also co-implementer of the South African Department of Higher Education and Training's Future Professors Program.
"Neil Roos's Ordinary Whites in Apartheid Society is an outstanding work of scholarship. This is a book which will be both a signal contribution to the social history of Southern Africa, but also of considerable interest to scholars working on issues of race in the United States and elsewhere. It's lively, engaging and personal style, combines academic rigor with accessibility."—Jonathan Hyslop, Colgate University
|Indiana University Press|