With the election of Barack Obama, the idea that American society had become postracial—that is, race was no longer a main factor in influencing and structuring people’s lives—took hold in public consciousness, increasingly accepted by many. The contributors to Racism Postrace examine the concept of postrace and its powerful history and allure, showing how proclamations of a postracial society further normalize racism and obscure structural antiblackness.
They trace expressions of postrace over and through a wide variety of cultural texts, events, and people, from sports (LeBron James’s move to Miami), music (Pharrell Williams’s “Happy”), and television (The Voice and HGTV) to public policy debates, academic disputes, and technology industries. Outlining how postrace ideologies confound struggles for racial justice and equality, the contributors open up new critical avenues for understanding the powerful cultural, discursive, and material conditions that render postrace the racial project of our time.
The book and introduction are available at: https://www.dukeupress.edu/racism-postrace
SJRC Director Jenny Reardon and Herman Gray on race in America as interviewed in January 2020 by Chris Benner (Director of the Institute for Social Transformation).
Roopali Mukherjee, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Herman Gray (UCSC Sociology)
Inna Arzumanova, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Aymer Jean Christian, Kevin Fellezs, Roderick A. Ferguson, Herman Gray, Eva C. Hageman, Daniel Martinez HoSang, Victoria E. Johnson, Joseph Lowndes, Roopali Mukherjee, Safiya Umoja Noble, Radhika Parameswaran, Sarah T. Roberts, Catherine R. Squires, Brandi Thompson Summers, Karen Tongson, Cynthia A. Young
“In this well-written, wide-ranging collection, imaginative and innovative researchers from across the disciplines conduct a post-mortem of the illusion of postracialism. Through case studies of the role race plays in diverse areas of contemporary culture, Racism Postrace takes stock of the continuing allure of the postracial despite its implausibility, but also of the ways in which its demise can point the way toward better and more effective imaginings of social justice.” — George Lipsitz, author of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics
“According to this stellar array of scholars, racism is alive, well, and thriving both in the United States and globally, and they offer important theoretical and empirical insights into why and how. This volume effectively dismantles the myth of postraciality, using a range of cultural forms and texts to demonstrate how racism rears its ugly head in the service of capitalism and white supremacy. Indeed, these essays tell us that the popular and common usage of ‘postrace’ neutralizes antiracist movements and props up antiblackness and other modes of racial and ethnic antipathy with devastating effect. This volume is a wake-up call to all who have luxuriated in the liberal fantasy of a democratizing media.” — Jane Rhodes, Professor of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago