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What Happens to Anti-Racism When We Are Post Race?


Despite the resistance from radical antiracist formations, autonomously organised by racialized minorities and migrants themselves, that can be witnessed in many spaces, the success with which antiracism has been both appropriated and relativized by the state as well as hegemonic activist voices poses a significant threat. The politics of diversity and the consensus around the notion that western societies are post-race contribute to portraying the critique of racism from people of colour as inaccurate, alienating and counter-productive to the achievement of social cohesion. The necessity of dismantling the idea of race as suggested by antiracist activists and scholars has been subverted in the deconstruction of the experience of racism by an ‘antiracialist’—rather than a more radical antiracist—agenda intent on relativizing the struggle against racism as one among many. The consequence of this in the context of postracialism is for racism itself to be departicularized and dissociated from its historical roots. Antiracism needs to reclaim the risk, that Goldberg argues is inherent to it, and rescue it from being universalised into meaninglessness.

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  1. This is not to say that the politics of diversity emerged exclusively from an anti-racialist logic. It is important to note that the mainstreaming of critical race and gender critiques, intersectionality in particular (Crenshaw 1989), has also played a significant role in facilitating the generalised focus on diversity consequently, although not purposefully, often removing attention from the specificity of individual discriminations.


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Lentin, A. What Happens to Anti-Racism When We Are Post Race?. Fem Leg Stud 19, 159–168 (2011).

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