This chapter examines aspects of the histories of accommodation, complicity and everyday life in race-based societies by exploring how working white people negotiated and expressed what it meant to be a white person in early apartheid South Africa. During the 1950s the staatsdiens (public service) became the biggest employer of whites, employing around 30 per cent of working whites. I examine the expansion of the public service in terms of how it recruited and managed the growing white labour force. Racially reserved access to well-paid work represented the major foundation for accommodation and complicity for civil servants. But this is too simplistic a rendering. Attention to the ideologies, regulations and forms of discipline to which these public servants were subject elucidates some of the state’s ambitions to engineer white society and shows how white beamptes (officials) were incorporated into it. At the same time, attention to agency shows officials were seldom passive recipients of imposed ideologies, moral codes and social regulations. This eliminates any historical or moral assertion that whites – in this case, white public servants – were little more than cyphers for ideologies from above, or that they knew nothing of the discrimination, exclusion and repression at the heart of apartheid.