The law, like the suburban American house, is designed to order a particular pattern of relationships, many of them oriented around the heterosexual nuclear family. For real people in contemporary circumstances to inhabit the house the law built, one has to find side doors and discreet corners, while the dominant space changes little and the façade remains unaltered. The two big L.G.B.T.-rights Supreme Court victories that came before Bostock—Windsor and Obergefell—did exactly that: they carved out a place for monogamous same-sex couples who want to marry (statistically, these are more apt to be white middle-class people like the plaintiffs) in the house of the American nuclear family.
The suggestion that the chief value that Ramaphosa adds to Lonmin is connectedness to the government will deepen the impression that if you are black and want to make it in business, you had better be politically connected. That makes it a lot more difficult to encourage the rise of black people who have a talent for business rather than politics. Signalling that black people are assets to large companies only if they can open doors to the government also makes it much less likely that our politics will be about public service rather than greed. Much of today’s political jockeying is about access to resources. But, while much of the debate assumes that people are looking for public money through tenders and the like, often the motive is to access private wealth. If the message reaching ambitious black people is that private-sector opportunities are more likely if you are politically connected, it is not surprising that part of the political game becomes how to gain a position that will be attractive to companies. – Steven FriedmanBACK TO TOP