Racism in Public or Public Racism

A woman's rant against Asian women on a Sydney train in 2014
A woman’s rant against Asian women on a Sydney train in 2014

In my first article on racism and antiracism in Australia, published online first in Ethnic and Racial Studies and part of a special issue  on ‘Reconfiguring Antiracisms’ edited by Yin Paradies, I argue that

The idea of racism as an event appears crucial to the judgment of its legitimacy. By examining racism as a disjointed series of public events that are often accompanied by elisions of the connections between racist ‘eruptions’ and systemic conditions, I shine light on what is meant by racism today. Racism can be theorized dually as both frozen and motile. This is due to emphasis being placed on what race is taken to be, rather than on what it does. Confusion over how to formulate anti-racism is based on this misconception of race at the core of much anti-racist thought, leading to an obscuration of racism. Critically examining some contemporary anti-racist activity, I briefly assess the role played by those who challenge racism in legitimizing or negating official interpretations of racism in contemporary Australia.

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