chapter  11
12 Pages

Black Intellectuals, Black Bourgeoisie and Black Workers

On the face of it I do not possess good credentials for discussing the papers in this volume, for I am an English-descended South African of poor white origin, who has gained sufficient acceptance in Britain to be appointed as a Professor in a provincial University. Yet, paradoxically, these are my credentials, for my whole life has been shaped by that dialectic between the principles of class and race which my black co-authors are discussing. I know the exclus­ iveness and contempt which the wealthy and well-connected British show towards their fellow-countrymen who are in lowly employment abroad, yet find myself accepted in most circles in Britain as a clean-limbed and classless colonial lad. On the other hand, I have always lived with the fact of ultra-exploitable black labour, and know how easily British capitalists rationalise its use, while blaming the system of exploitation on their white employees. These are insights which neither bourgeois or academic black men nor black colonial workers, brainwashed into believing in British justice, actually possess. What I detect here, therefore, is a pained and growing awareness of how British culture and the British economy classifies black men, and what I want to do, after analysing the partiality of these insights, is to disillusion some of the contributors and seek to persuade them to accept the fact of British racialism in all its fullness.