'History of contempt and pity runs through 100 years of research at SU'
There has been an outcry over a paper titled: “Cognitive functioning in Coloured South African women" published by researchers at Stellenbosch University.
This research argued that coloured women are susceptible to learning disabilities due to a historically broken education system.
The report has been criticised for playing into racist tropes.
Stellenbosch University's Professor Jonathan Jansen talks to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies about how the institution can avoid publishing prejudiced and offensive research.
I wasn't really surprised by the research because I have been warning about this kind of thing for years...because there is a lot of research in South Africa, particularly in the bio-medical field, that makes the connection between race and behaviour, or race and certain kinds of social outcomes.Professor Jonathan Jansen, Faculty of Education - Stellenbosch University
He says it is unfortunate that there is still this belief that there is a connection between race and aptitude or ability.
This study is simply a continuation of 100 years of research at Stellenbosch University that makes those connections - in this case between being coloured and certain kinds of behaviours.Professor Jonathan Jansen, Faculty of Education - Stellenbosch University
You can't simply change this behaviour with a workshop or two. This is emotional knowledge, not just intellectual knowledge.Professor Jonathan Jansen, Faculty of Education - Stellenbosch University
People really do believe the racial tropes, he explains.
So I was not surprised when these researchers were first approached, they said: 'but what did we do wrong?' And the second response was 'but we were just trying to help the coloured women.'Professor Jonathan Jansen, Faculty of Education - Stellenbosch University
There is a history of contempt and pity that runs through 100 years of research at Stellenbosch University.Professor Jonathan Jansen, Faculty of Education - Stellenbosch University
How can this change?
Prepare for the long game. This is not going to be changed quickly.Professor Jonathan Jansen, Faculty of Education - Stellenbosch University
He says a core curriculum needs to be introduced that addresses social, cultural and political issues, as well as seminars to bring awareness around issues of race. He says this is not a legal issue, but rather one of education.
Listen to the interview below:
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