50 Years Ago: Nonsense About Race
The latest piece of nonsense to come from race-obsessed South Africa is the news that there has been an official ruling that the Japanese are to be classified as white.
Looking for the base economic motive that is usually to be found lurking behind the high-sounding racial twaddle, we find that the South African government is very anxious just now to encourage trade with Japan. Naturally, it would not do to make the Japanese suffer all the indignities which are the common lot of the black part of the population. A Japanese businessman thrown out of a hotel reserved for whites or pushed into the dingy part of a post-office to wait his turn with the downtrodden blacks might cancel his order for South African wool!
As so often happens with this racial nonsense, the perpetrators find themselves getting more and more involved in their own idiocies. On this occasion it appears that the locals find it hard in practice to distinguish between the Japanese and the Chinese. Since the Chinese are officially labelled as non-white, the Japanese are still being insulted since they are continually being mistaken for Chinese.
The whole affair has become all the more absurd because South Africa is now very keen on developing trade with China and is having to consider classifying the Chinese also as white.
(Socialist Standard, April 1962)