In their racial thinking to blacks and other non-whites, some of them that is...... Robert Jensen: In South Africa, Apartheid is Dead, But White Supremacy Lingers On That shouldnt be surprising -- how could centuries of white supremacy simply disappear in 15 years? What did surprise me during my lecture tour was not the racial tension but how much discussions about race in South Africa sounded just like conversations in the United States. There was something eerily familiar to me, a lifelong white U.S. citizen, about those discussions. I have heard comments from black people in the United States like Cediles, but Ive also heard white Americans articulate views on race that were sometimes exactly like white South Africans. I learned that even with all the differences in the two countries there are equally important similarities, and as a result the sense of entitlement that so many white people hold onto produces similar dodges and denials. Those similarities: South Africa and the United States were the two longstanding settler states that maintained legal apartheid long after the post-World War II decolonization process. The crucial term is settler state, marking a process by which an invading population exterminates or displaces and exploits the indigenous population to acquire its land and resources, with formal slavery playing a key role at some point in the countrys history. Both strategies were justified with overtly racist doctrines about white supremacy, and both required the white population to discard basic moral and religious principles, leading to a pathological psychology of superiority. Both of those settler strategies have left us with racialized disparities in wealth and well-being long after the formal apartheid is over. The main difference: The United States struggles with its problem with a white majority, while South Africa has a black majority. But what I found fascinating his how little difference that made in terms of the psychological pathology of so many white people. So, as is typically the case, my trip to South Africa taught me not only about racism in South Africa but also in the United States, which reminded me that perhaps we travel to observe others so that we can learn about ourselves. The first trend was the belief that whatever racism remained in South Africa, things will get better naturally, as long as South Africans respect all cultures. The argument seems to go something like this: Apartheid is over, we have a black government, and now its time to move ahead by understanding that the problem of race in no longer political but one of inadequate cultural understanding and engagement. This celebration of diversity is familiar to us in the United States, where institutions (especially corporations and schools) tend to address difficult questions about disparities in political power and the distribution of wealth through multiculturalism. While theres nothing wrong, of course, with acknowledging cultural diversity and helping people learn more about other cultures, multiculturalism does not take the place of real politics, no matter how much many white people wish it could. Understanding others doesnt automatically mean that those with unearned privileged will work to undermine the system that gives them that privilege. Sounds eerily similar to what a lot of US whites say.