Racism Postrace

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 11 illustrations Published: June 2019

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Media Studies

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.

Contributors. 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


"The essays found in this collection make an important contribution to our understanding of how postrace is becoming more and more insidious and dangerous." — Amardo Rodriguez, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Racism Postrace is an essential collection for the study of postracialism transnationally." — Stefanie Boulila, German Studies Review

“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


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Roopali Mukherjee is Associate Professor of Media Studies at City University of New York, Queens College.

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics.

Herman Gray is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction. Postrace Racial Projects / Sarah Banet-Weiser, Roopali Mukherjee, and Herman Gray  1
Part One. Assumptions
1. Race after Race / Herman Gray  23
2. Theorizing Race in the Age of Inequality / Daniel Martinez Hosang and Joseph Lowndes  37
3. "Jamming" the Color Line: Comedy, Carnival, and Contestations of Commodity Colorism / Radhika Parameswaran  57
4. On the Postracial Question / Roderick A. Ferguson  72
5. Becked Up: Glenn Beck, White Supremacy, and the Hijacking of the Civil Rights Legacy / Cynthia A. Young  86
6. Technological Elites, the Meritocracy, and Postracial Myths in Silicon Valley / Safiya Umoja Noble and Sarah T. Roberts  113
Part Two. Performances
7. Vocal Recognition: Racial and Sexual Difference after (Tele)Visuality / Karen Tongson  135
8. More Than a Game: LeBron James and the Affective Economy of Place / Victoria E. Johnson  154
9. Clap Along If You Feel Like Happiness Is the Truth: Pharrell Williams and the False Promises of the Postracial / Kevin Fellezs  178
10. Indie Soaps: Race and the Possibilities of TV Drama / Aymar Jean Christian  199
11. Debt by Design: Race and Home Valorization on Reality TV / Eva C. Hageman  221
12. "Haute [Ghetto] Mess": Postracial Aesthetics and the Seduction of Blackness in High Fashion / Brandi Thompson Summers  245
13. Veiled Visibility: Racial Performances and Hegemonic Leaks in Pakistani Fashion Week / Inna Arzumanova  264
Epilogue. Incantation / Catherine R. Squires  283
References  287
Contributors  321
Index  325
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0180-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0138-6
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