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Why Race Still Matters and Racial Illiteracy

A short blog post I wrote for the Polity Books website about my new book Why Race Still Matters.

The dominant approach to race after the Holocaust, particularly for most of the European states that positioned themselves as anti-fascist, has been to treat it as a taboo topic. However, brushing race under the carpet and failing to systematically study the ways in which it has been such a key ordering principle of the modern era is largely to blame for the fact that racism is still so prevalent.

The Black Lives Matter movement, the Indigenous sovereignty movement, the migrant and refugee rights movements, and the movements against Islamophobia, and all forms of state racism, as well as all of their predecessors, have pushed endlessly not only for a recognition of the insidious, violent – and often murderous – effects of race, but also for education about race and racism. However, this has been met with push-back every step of the way. And despite the recent uptick in interest from liberals and progressives in antiracism reading lists, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade in the US, there is an assault from western governments on the kind of education necessary for giving us the tools to start understanding how to overturn a system that has been fundamental to the world over for 500 years.

Read in at the Polity website

Alana Lentin