What Happens to Antiracism when we are Post-Race?

Universalist antiracist rhetoric

I have a new article our in Feminist Legal Studies, part of a Special Issue on ‘Queer Liabilities of Critique’ edited by Stacy Douglas, Suhraiya Jivraj and Sarah Lamble. You can read my article, ‘What Happens to Antiracism when we are Post-Race?’ on Scribd. Comments welcome as usual.

The Special Issue on ‘Queer Liabilities of Critique’ responds to the recent controversy surrounding Raw Nerve Books and its public apology to prominent gay rights activist Peter Tatchell for content published in the edited collection Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality (2008).  The book contained an article critical of Tatchell’s gay rights activism in Britain (‘Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the “War on Terror”‘ by Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem). Both the article and book, which received wide acclaim from scholars and activists alike, offer important analyses of the ways in which discourses of queerness and raciality have been silenced, displaced and marginalised within more dominant LGBT and human rights politics. Following threats of legal action by Tatchell, the book was listed by Raw Nerve as out of print, despite being slated for reprint after a sold out first run. As a result, the authors and editors of the book have been effectively subject to the very form of silencing that they critique.

The Special Issue considers the broader implications of this and similar events for academic and activist critique. Questioning the terms in which these situations are framed and debated, the contributors examine not only the processes through which such silencing occurs, but also the specific power relations that make some people more or less vulnerable to the consequences or ‘liabilities’ of critique.

Alana Lentin