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Effective Executive Magazine:
Diasporic Double Consciousness – Creolized Identity of Colored Professionals in South Africa
 
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In post-1994 South Africa, identity discourse has been centered on collective national identity which, currently, continues to marginalize Colored people due to perceptions of ambiguity implicit in Colored identity amongst both in-group and out-group members. Moreover, how these perceptions affect Colored professionals remains an under-researched area. Our research set out to examine the notion of double consciousness of Colored professionals in the corporate environment. The findings confirm that double consciousness is salient amongst Colored individuals and stems from a dissonance in ideological and cultural beliefs. The primary belief domain was a feeling of injustice, while secondary belief domains were feelings of vulnerability and helplessness, which has the effect of constraining collective action of the in-group. A preference for either assimilation or integration as an acculturative strategy was inconclusive, but cross-race mentoring relationships were shown to significantly influence career trajectories. An unanticipated research finding was the participants’ strategic ‘self-group distancing’ response.

   
The South African use of the word ‘Colored’ has a different meaning to that used in the international community where it is concurrently viewed as a pejorative and a general expression for Black people. Locally, however, it describes a heterogeneous phenotype descended from European (primarily Dutch and British) settlers, slaves from South-East Asia and East Africa and indigenous Khoisan population (Erasmus, 2001). The evolution of the term ‘Colored’ began in the mid-19th century when it was used to refer to all non-Europeans (Martin, 2000). This was modified in the census of 1902 when White, Bantu and Colored were introduced and followed up by the Colored Persons’ Rights Bill of 1926, which crucially defined the Colored person in the negative, being neither native, Asian nor European (Martin, 2000). Under apartheid rule, the Population Registration Act of 1950 introduced the race or class known as Cape Colored in an attempt to create a homogenous classification for an ethnically diverse population. The absurdity of this notion was exemplified in the 1967 Supreme Court ruling, which further subdivided the Colored group to make distinctions between Cape Colored, Malay, Griqua and others (Petrus and Isaacs-Martin, 2012). With these classifications came the erosion of civil rights under apartheid law in the form of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, the Immorality Amendment Act of 1950 and the infamous Group Areas Act of 1950, which brought the forcible removal of Colored people from their homes and relocated them to areas designated to groups according to the Population Registration Act of 1950.
 
 
Effective Executive Journal, Colored Identity, African National Congress (ANC), Double Consciousness, Research Findings.