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In a world where racism persists undiminished (if not intensified) in a multitude of configurations, there is a pressing need to consider the state of anti-racist theory and practice. Drawing on the multidisciplinary contributions to this special issue alongside a panoramic snapshot of current scholarship, this article wrestles with several matters central to the ongoing development of anti-racism. Junctures with social justice, equality, recognition, tolerance, indifference, and acknowledgement are explored along with the varieties, and co-constitutions, of racism and anti-racism. Post-racial potentialities and the double-bind of anti-racism amidst the twin liberal desires of sameness and difference are examined alongside the nascent growth of alter-racism via concepts such as embodiment, viscerality, humour, affective ambiences, and everyday race labour. It is hoped that this article will foster ongoing reflection, discussion, and, most importantly, action aimed at defying racism across the globe.
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Whither anti-racism?
Yin Paradies
To cite this article: Yin Paradies (2016) Whither anti-racism?, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39:1,
1-15, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1096410
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Whither anti-racism?
Yin Paradies
Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
In a world where racism persists undiminished (if not intensied) in a multitude
of congurations, there is a pressing need to consider the state of anti-racist
theory and practice. Drawing on the multidisciplinary contributions to this
special issue alongside a panoramic snapshot of current scholarship, this
article wrestles with several matters central to the ongoing development of
anti-racism. Junctures with social justice, equality, recognition, tolerance,
indifference, and acknowledgement are explored along with the varieties, and
co-constitutions, of racism and anti-racism. Post-racial potentialities and the
double-bind of anti-racism amidst the twin liberal desires of sameness and
difference are examined alongside the nascent growth of alter-racism via
concepts such as embodiment, viscerality, humour, affective ambiences, and
everyday race labour. It is hoped that this article will foster ongoing reection,
discussion, and, most importantly, action aimed at defying racism across the
ARTICLE HISTORY Received 7 September 2014; Accepted 16 September 2015
KEYWORDS Racism; anti-racism; tolerance; affect; post-racialism; alterity
Despite the UNs Three Decades to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination
(United Nations 2009), racism continues to cause human suffering and fore-
close life choices in every nation of the world. With increased migration
ows, volatile geopolitics, and pronounced permeability and securitization
of national borders, there is an ongoing global need to combat racism
(UNESCO 2005).
Although the term anti-racism was only coined in the mid-twentieth
century (Bonnett 2000), opposition to racism has existed as long as the
phenomenon itself, adapting to contest its mutating schemas across time
and space (Aptheker 1992; Lloyd 1998). In contemporary times, this resistance
is commonly labelled anti-racism, racial justice, or racial equality. Although
numerous scholars have studied various aspects of race, racialization, and
racism, relatively few have centred their work on anti-racism. Important
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CONTACT Yin Paradies
VOL. 39, NO. 1, 115
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exceptions include early monographs (Bonnett 2000; Dei 1997; Gilborn 1995)
and edited collections (Anthias and Lloyd 2002; Bowser 1995; Derman-Sparks
and Phillips 1997; Lentin and McVeigh 2002), along with more recent chapters
(Fozdar, Wilding, and Hawkins 2008;OBrien 2007; Ruzza 2013), journal special
issues (Arai and Kivel 2009; Young and Condon 2013), and numerous stand-
alone articles (a sample of which I engage with below).
Despite the important contribution of extant scholarship, we still lack a
shared notion of what is meant by anti-racism either at the level of ideology
or political practice(Solomos and Back 1996, 104), nor is there yet a well
developed typology of anti-racist theory and practice anywhere in the aca-
demic world(OBrien 2007, 427). Anti-racism has been minimally dened
by Bonnett (2000)asforms of thought and/or practice that seek to confront,
eradicate and/or ameliorate racism(4) and as ideologies and practices that
afrm and seek to enable the equality of races and ethnic groups(Bonnett
2006, 1099). Other scholars have described anti-racism as a situation in
which people can live together in harmony and mutual respect(Anthias
and Lloyd 2002, 16), or the creation of a more just, humane world(Essed
2013, 3), while Taguieff (2001) critiques anti-racism as a dream of universal
and perpetual peace(150).
Given this abundance of views, it is not surprising that Keith (2013)has
recently asked what is sought when we engage with the politics of race
Social justice? Equality? Participation? Recognition? Humanism without
race?(23). Should society strive to eliminate the trope of race entirely or
seek only to eliminate the adverse side-effects of racial membership? In this
special issue lead article, I canvass the spectrum of aporias that coalesce at
the juncture of race, racialization, racism, and anti-racism, examining the
limits and potential (re)congurations of anti-racism(s) in opposing contem-
porary manifestations of racism. I begin by considering denitions of anti-
racism, including various interplays with racism, before reecting upon the
anti-racist potential of tolerance in particular. After briey touching on the
concept of indifference, I examine the potential to thwart racism by moving
beyond race. The double-binds that constrain anti-racism are then elucidated
alongside alternatives that may surpass these limitations. I conclude with
implications for evolving anti-racist scholarship and practice in the twenty-
rst century.
Dening anti-racism
Given the manifold expressions of racism, there is a clear need to recognize
the concomitant plurality of anti-racisms (OBrien 2009). To date, the largest
body of anti-racist scholarship has focused on internalized, interpersonal,
and institutional racism through prejudice reduction, countering stereotypes,
and reducing discriminatory behaviour among individuals (Beelmann and
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Heinemann 2014; Paluck and Green 2009; Pettigrew and Tropp 2006). Closely
related research has centred on race-related organizational diversity,
inclusion, and equality (Curtis and Dreachslin 2008; Kandola 2008; Oswick
and Noon 2014). Anti-racist collective action and social change aimed at
addressing inequitable power relations, material disadvantage, and/or realiz-
ing racial justice, ranging from small-scale bystander action (Nelson, Dunn,
and Paradies 2011) to social marketing (Donovan and Vlais 2006; Kwate
2014) and popular movements (Da Costa 2010; Farrar 2004; Lentin 1997),
have also been the focus of seminal scholarship. In addition, conict resol-
ution and cosmopolitan approaches to anti-racism have examined recog-
nition, acknowledgement, and understanding of cultural difference as key
to viable, sustainable, and legitimate race relations beyond harmony (Al
Ramiah and Hewstone 2013; Dessel and Rogge 2008; Nagda et al. 2009;
Noble 2013b).
Hage (this issue) details a 6-part typology of anti-racism: (1) reducing the
incidence of racist practices, (2) fostering a non-racist culture, (3) supporting
the victims of racism, (4) empowering racialized subjects, (5) transforming
racist relations, and (6) fostering an a-racist culture.
As Hage (this issue) acknowledges, each of these anti-racism types overlap
in practice, an observation emphasized by research ndings that mutual
reinforcement across various anti-racisms is most effective in foiling racism
(Paluck and Green 2009; Paradies et al. 2009; Pedersen et al. 2011; Williams
and Mohammed 2013). Given this, it is debatable whether distinct types of
anti-racism can be distinguished or, more importantly, what the value is in
doing so. The task of delineating individual and systemic anti-racism
(OBrien 2007) is a case in point, given the close connection between individ-
ual agency and institutional structures (Berard 2010).
More broadly, Bonnett (2000) argues that anti-racism cannot be ade-
quately understood as the inverse of racism(2) in that one persons con-
ception of anti-racism is anothers idea of racism. An historical illustration of
this is the anti-racist movement that established the West African nation of
Liberia in 1822, a movement that was strongly supported by the Ku Klux
Klan, who welcomed the exodus of blacks from the USA (OBrien 2007). Impor-
tantly, even when manifestations of racism and anti-racism are clear, they are
often co-constituted within individuals and locales. For example, neighbour-
hoods where racism is rife can also be characterized by the most profound
forms and moments of solidarity(Keith 2013,17). Hage (2014a) has even
argued for the existence of racist anti-racismin which individuals protest
racism against themselves and their group but condone it when directed at
other groups in society.
Conversely, it is possible to be an anti-racist racist(Leonardo and Zemby-
las 2013, 156) in which individuals recognize their own racism while still striv-
ing to overcome it. For those who believe that racism is inherent to
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contemporary societies and that anti-racist racism is therefore the only achiev-
able goal, an avowed identity of non-racismonly detracts from ongoing
efforts to combat personal racism (Leonardo and Zembylas 2013). This
tension between recognizing and overcoming personal racism has also
been explored in concepts such as reexive anti-racism (Kowal, Franklin,
and Paradies 2013) and reexive race cognizance (OBrien 2001, 56).
In the context of struggles to achieve anti/non-racism, Balint (2006) has
proposed tolerance as a minimal anti-racism whereby citizens are encour-
aged to accommodate differences they may otherwise nd distasteful(57).
Balint (this issue) denes racial intolerance as an act where a person is
somehow hindered because of their ethno-racial characteristics, whether
or not the perpetrator is fully aware of, or intending, this hindrance. Hence,
racial tolerance is dened as intentionally not negatively interferingwith
someone on the basis of their ethno-racial characteristics.
The three key critiques of tolerance as anti-racism are that: (1) it is morally
inadequate in that racism should be overcome rather than abided (Habermas
2003), (2) it perpetuates or, at least, fails to remedy the asymmetrical power
relations inherent in racialized systems of disadvantage/oppression (Hage
1998), and (3) it cannot be achieved (Latour 2004) in the context of super-
diversity(Vertovec 2007). These concerns beg the question of what alterna-
tives to tolerance are possible? Respect, admiration, love, or even celebration
may be ultimate goals for many. However, can these more demanding orien-
tations be achieved without tolerance as an intermediary (Bessone 2013)? Fur-
thermore, if tolerance is too difcult to achieve in modern pluralistic societies,
what hope is there of achieving these more ambitious goals? (Wilson 2014).
Mirchandani and Tastsoglou (2000,5657) question the implicit assump-
tion that tolerance always involves a majority and a minority, where the
former invariably tolerates the later. They cite relations between Quebec
and the rest of Canada as an example in which both the majority-minority dis-
tinction and the implied power relations are not clear-cut. Ramadan (2010)
has argued that even when standing on equal footing, one does not
expect to be merely tolerated or grudgingly accepted(47). However, such
equalized power relations appear to be precisely the situation in which toler-
ance is most appealing. When two parties (for example) with commensurate
power elect to recognize each others legitimacy to such an extent that they
refrain from translating real and felt objections into hindrance, this is the ideal
basis for negotiation and resolution at the heart of democratic politics (Mouffe
Balint (this issue) argues that a requirement that goes beyond tolerance to
appreciation and respect for racial difference risks creating new racial hierar-
chies of appeal and favour (e.g. which group do I like best?), while excluding
from the ideal of a good citizen those who are merely neutral or indifferent.
Similarly, Noble (2013a) contends that a moralistic insistence upon the
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appreciationof difference may irritate whatever fault lines exist(838).
Interestingly, while conceiving of tolerance as a minimal moral obligation,
Balint (this issue) considers indifferenceas the eventual anti-racist ideal
(see also Hynes, forthcoming on in-difference as an ambiguous yet productive
process). Akin to this notion of indifference, Van Leeuwen (2010) has pro-
posed side-by-sidenesscentred on a desire to live with others rather than
a compulsion to get close to them(647) as a moral minimum alongside min-
ority accommodation on the political-institutional leveland attention to the
basic needs of others(van Leeuwen 2015, 804805). Related concepts such
as banal sociality(Mayblin, Valentine, and Andersson, forthcoming), cultural
blandness,andmundane co-presence(Jones et al. 2015) also focus on the
under-appreciated value of minimal, light, or non-confrontational
Amin (2010), however, is not convinced by such a politics of distance, while
Noble (2013b, 164) asserts that such intercultural civility is not an antidote to
racism. Perhaps then, we must look to post-raciality as a viable counter to
institutional and systemic racisms beyond the inuence of tolerance and indif-
ference? What are the possibilities for a post- or non-racial society? Is racism a
necessary condition for the reproduction of race?(Carter and Fenton 2010,
14). Can or should races persist without racism?
Towards a post-racial future?
Never arbitrary but always historically contingent (Saldahna 2006), raceis var-
iously dened as innate, immutable, reifying, and hegemonic while simul-
taneously, supple, radical, and indeterminate. Race is a biosocial trope
centred on ascribed and essentialized distinctions of appearance, ancestry,
ethnicity, language, culture (Paradies 2006), and, increasingly, religion (Hart-
mann et al. 2011; Meer 2013; Taras 2013). It is undeniable that race has
served as a focal point for belonging, social networks, and communities
(Gines 2003), as well as afrmative action and positive discrimination policy
and practice (Taylor 2014), with collective identities articulated through
race function as a powerful means to coordinate action and engender solidar-
ity(Paul 2014, 11). Nonetheless, in light of calls to transcend race (Gilroy
2000), proponents of social justice tend to conceive of race as synonymous
with racism in dening individual resources, choices, and opportunities
(Weiner 2012, 333), with extreme formulations contending that race precludes
equality: while races exist, equality does not(Colombo 2006, as quoted in Da
Costa, forthcoming-a, 8).
Such reasoning has lead to the growing popularity of colour-blindness,
muteness (Pollock 2004), and evasion (Neville et al. 2013), along with post-/
non-raciality, as intertwined concepts in which individuals are either
unaware of, or unconcerned with, racial difference (Walton et al. 2014). A
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colour-blind approach was foundational to the US civil rights movement
(Sears 1996), continues to be the preferred policy in nations such as France
(Bonnet 2013), and may be an anodyne form of forgettingas resilience
(while also remembering as resistence) for those most affected by racism
(Da Costa, forthcoming-b; Hage 2015). Nonetheless, in contemporary dis-
courses, these concepts are frequently deployed to invalidate struggles
against racism by claiming an already achieved state of individual and societal
obliviousness to racial difference and, hence, an implied equality of opportu-
nity/outcomes across races. Such anti-anti-racismincreasingly hampers
efforts to achieve racial justice, while the institutionalization of racial govern-
ance becomes ever more entrenched and legitimated(Kapoor 2013, 1029).
In recent times, the race as racismperspective has been co-opted by neo-
liberals, resulting in what Goldberg (2009) has termed racism without race
and even racisms without racism. Similarly, Moussavi et al. (2007) has
described colour-blindness as racism without racists. Within such worldviews,
the eliding of racial injustice is so extreme that anyone invoking the spectre of
racism (or even race) are accused of being the racists themselves (Kapoor
Although for some, the goal of a non-racist societyhas an implied equiv-
alence with hope for a non-racial society(Hage this issue), I concur with
Lentin (2014) that the post-race argument is not equivalent to one that
would advocate for a post-racist society(2). Similarly, Monahan (2006) has
asked if eliminating or rejecting race ontologically will undermine racism as
a social phenomenon(9). In asking us to give up on race before and
without addressing the scars of racisms(Goldberg 2009, 21), racial neoli-
beralism blithely assumes that time will heal all wounds. Lentin (this issue)
demonstrates how the need to ask at all is moot when spectacles of racism
in publicare encapsulated as abhorrent and aberrant frozen racismof
bygone eras while the contemporary motilitiesof public racismthat under-
pin societal institutions are successfully erased through deection, distancing,
and denial.
Despite the ease with which post-raciality can be commandeered for racist
purposes, a sharp rupture from race in utopian vision of the future-perfect
(Povinelli 2002) seems palatable (if not preferable) to many proponents of
social justice. However, these same proponents would be disquieted by
moves to erase social difference more generally (e.g. gender, sexuality, and
so on). Few who advocate for race to be abolished also wish to do away
with social distinctions altogether. To conate the non-/anti-racist with the
non-/post-racial as virtuous deracination(Calhoun 2003, 544) fails to recall
that race is nothing more, nor less, than a facet of human diversity. Just as
gender and sexuality (for example) have their own fused genealogies of
oppression and celebration, the ght against racism is only one instance in
the wider struggle for an alternative mode of social existence(Hage 2014a,
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237). As such, following Monahan (2011) it seems clear that racial justice is
about fostering the conditions wherein racialized selves can truly make
manifest their humanity(222) and that it is neither necessary nor desirable
for race (even whiteness) to disappear along with racism (Jeffers 2013).
Recently, it has been suggested that we should seek the freedom not from
race or of a particular race, but the freedom to embrace race without sacri-
cing other afliations, to be both racial and anti-racial at the same time(Slate
2014, 238). Not to be confused with the gradual erosion of cultural difference
through interethnic mixture and hybridisation(Amin 2002, 967), this decen-
tring (rather than sublimation) of race within a multiplicity of identities may
be a compromise between hollow claims of post-raciality and the ever-
present danger of racial essentialism. More broadly, this quest for a stable
middle ground stems from anti-racisms equivocal oscillation between parti-
cularism and universalism (Detant 2005) in which the tension between differ-
ence and equality (Kowal 2008) means that any right to differencecould lead
to a difference of rights(Ford 2013, 706). Borrowing a term deployed in
relation to racism (Hesse 2004) and whiteness (Ellsworth 1997), this constitu-
tes the potentially ineluctable double-bindof anti-racism.
Evading anti-racisms double-bind
Hušek and Tvrdá (this issue) describe the collective singularity, a phenomenon
metaphorically akin to a black hole that traps anti-racism in the dispositives
[of] hysteria, paternalism, individualism and bionumerics. This singularity
compels anti-racist actors to frame their practices and create lines of argu-
mentation based upon a scheme identical to that employed by the racists,
leaving racist hegemony and oppression unchecked. Fozdar (2012) has also
highlighted the trap of countering racist discourses about the deviant
otherwith anti-racist depictions of the perfect same, whereby sameness is
re-inscribed while difference is demonized.
In response, recent alter-racist (Hage 2012) scholarship has sought to trans-
cend binary dualisms and dissolve ossied distinctions through alternatives
ranging from the role of white vulnerability and openness in transforming
self-conceptions (Bailey 2011)toaslow anti-racismthat exploits barely per-
ceptible non-verbal gestures of individuals (Sharpe and Hynes 2014). In an
episteme suffused and saturated by post-racial neo-liberal discourses, can
such creative approaches effectively repel racism?
Drawing on ethnographic eldwork in the charged racial environment of
Australias far north, Lobo (this issue) explores one such creative variegation
of alter-racism, arguing that the stiing affective atmospheres of visceral
racism perpetrated through glances, gestures, and silences cannot be con-
tested via thought, reection, and reasoning. Rather, Lobo suggests that such
embodied acts of negation must be fundamentally transgured through
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haptic sensations and memories wherein human dignity is renewed, vitality
afrmed, and non-racist futures invoked.
Sharpe and Hynes (this issue) also engage with viscerality, in their case the
distinct embodiment of humour, specically the way our body laughs often
against our better judgments. They describe the incongruity of humour as a
force with both racist and anti-racist potential. Because racist humour can
often y under the moral radarat the less than conscious level,itmay
best to ght humour with humour rather than an explicitly didacticanti-
racism. Sharpe and Hynes (this issue) describe the potential of anti-racist
humour to admonish a perpetrator while also inviting them to laugh at them-
selves. As they note, such humour can also spare targets of racism from the
reductive racialization of moralizing anti-racist discourses (akin to the collec-
tive singularity explored by Hušek and Tvrdá in this issue). Playing with the
margins of a given moment(Sharpe and Hynes this issue) anti-/alter-
racist humour may instead transcend this double-bind by inhabiting, rather
than seeking to smooth over, the complex ethics and politics of racism and
anti-racist practice.
Diverging from Lobo, Sharpe, and Hynesuse of the affective turn, Aquino
(this issue) explores the cultural repertoires of middle-class Filipino immi-
grants in Australia who nd themselves in a liminal space between
inclusion/exclusion and equality/inequality where they are both recognized
and misrecognized. In particular, Aquino explores social mobility of Filipino
migrants based on the tropes of strategic assimilation and individualism.
Drawing on Goffman (1963), Aquino (this issue) reveals the identity work
through which the compromises and ambivalences of everyday anti-racism
are played out. She shows how this careful process of ghting stigma and
maintaining respectis key to surviving, and even thriving, despite the
wear and tear of routine racism. Moving beyond neo-Marxist neglect of
the middle class, this research highlights the vital need to attend to both
sides of the class divide in the complicated labour of ghting racism on the
Utilizing Lentins(2004)conceptualization of anti-racism as either proximal
or distant from public political culture, we can also ask if anti-/alter-racism
should oppose the state, operate in parallel to it, or seek to co-optneo-
liberal discourses through appeals ranging from the legal opprobrium of
human rights to arguments of economic efciency. In other words, to what
extent is anti-racism founded on democracy, the rule of law, human rights,
equality, toleranceversus emancipation, empowerment, resistance and liber-
ation(Lentin 2008, 314). This question depends, in part, on whether racism is
becoming intimately fused with the logic and needs of neo-liberal capitalist
accumulation(Hage this issue), or, indeed, whether racism existed prior to
the advent of capitalism (Isaac 2004; Bethencourt 2014) or persists undimin-
ished in communist and post-communist societies (Law 2012).
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Like racisms without racism, perhaps anti-racisms can be pursued without
anti-racism. This would be an anti-racism subsisting on the ghost-like pres-
ence of non-antiracism(Chouhan and Lee 2001), striving to reach beyond
racism without explicit reference to it (Hamaz 2008).
Do such approaches sidestep racism by a sleight of hand or do they instead
allow the knotty issue of inequalities to slipby unremarked (Valentine 2008,
333)? While some scholars maintain that the equalisation of the material con-
ditions is the best hope for a just society, without racism(Sian, Law, and
Sayyid 2013, 128), the persistence of anti-Semitism (Kremelberg 2009)
without group-level Jewish disadvantage suggests otherwise. This is, of
course, the redistribution-recognition dilemmaidentied by Fraser (1997,
13) that prompts questions like: Does distribution ow from recognition
(Butler 1997) and to what extent are sociocultural and material disadvantage
Questions can also be asked about what forms of difference should be
recognized. Anti-racism often focuses on disparities in belonging between
social groups sharing common (or largely overlapping) worldviews, cultures,
languages, and so on. How then should anti-racism be inected, if at all, by
radical alterity in which the Othercan be culturally as well as socially alien?
Should anti-racism grapple with the incomprehensibility of patterns of
action(Van Leeuwen 2008, 1545) that epitomize cultural alterity, or is the
cry of incommensurable cultural difference only ever camouage for
ongoing socially-mediated racism targeted at minorities?
This raises the broader issues of the extent to which anti-/alter-racism is
embroiled in the dialectics of particularism versus universalism, advantage
versus disadvantage, proximity versus distance, visibility versus invisibility,
or peace versus conict. Are such entanglements vital to, or a distraction
from, what we do in the presence of the other(Markell 2003, 34), including
the pragmatic mundane routinesof everyday anti-racism (Aquino this issue)?
Conversely, ought alter-racism shun a politics of recognition and identity?
Perhaps acknowledgement is an alternative to recognition that can transcend
the choice between a false universalism or an indifferent relativism by
placing the emphasis upon the constitutive receptivity of selves or commu-
nities to otherness(Barnett 2005,19) such that alterity is not denied by
attempting to reduce the other to the same(Grehan 2009, 13).
Future scholarship should also consider whether, as Laurie and Bonnett
(2002) have suggested, the dominance of Westerndiscourses on equality
and inequalityperforce marginalize[s] and erase[s] other traditions of antira-
cism(43) (see, for example, Da Costa 2014). For example, Hage (this issue)
behoves us to move beyond a Western instrumentalist and domesticating
form of anti-racism that valorizes the value of the otherto modes of existence
that privilege reciprocity and mutuality. In such modes, anti-racism is con-
ceived as primarily affective and magical, where the otheris experienced
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as a gift in, and of, themselves or even as a life that animates and enriches our
own existence.
As shown throughout this article, there are numerous conundrums being
explored by scholars dedicated to understanding and challenging race,
racism, and racialization globally. In asking whither anti-racisms will voyage,
this article has posed many more questions than it has answered. Rather
than prematurely foreclosing through resolution, I have instead attempted
to prole the emerging terrain of anti-racist scholarship. Encompassing contri-
butors from cultural studies, geography, political science, philosophy, and
sociology, this special issue aims to inform the continued growth of anti-/
alter-racisms into the future.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author.
This work was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship
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... Important questions are therefore raised about whether and how White people can play a role in furthering the anti-racist agenda and addressing ethnic inequality; a topic of considerable debate within wider scholarship and activism that deserves greater attention within the public health field. Given the plurality of definitions of racism, it is unsurprising that Paradies (2016) argues for the plurality of definitions for anti-racism. Core anti-racism principles however focus on taking action to confront and ameliorate racism and privilege. ...
Full-text available
Ethnic diversity and racism have not featured strongly in English research, policy or practice centred on understanding and addressing health inequalities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have shone fresh light on deep-rooted ethnic inequalities and mobilised large segments of the population into anti-racist demonstration. These recent developments suggest that, despite strong counterforces within national government and the mainstream media, there could be a shift towards greater public awareness of racism and potentially a willingness to take individual and collective action. This paper addresses these developments, and specifically engages with the contested notion of ‘allyship’. We bring together the experiences of 25 young adults living across England and prior literature to raise questions about whether and how racialized White individuals can play a role in dismantling systemic racism and reducing ethnic inequalities in health. Our analysis reveals a variety of complexities and obstacles to effective and widespread allyship. Findings suggest the need to nurture contingent, responsive and reflexive forms of allyship that can attend to the harms inflicted upon racially minoritized people as well as push for systemic transformation. White allyship will need to take a variety of forms, but it must be underpinned by an understanding of racism as institutional and systemic and a commitment to tackling interlocking systems of oppression through solidarity. The issues addressed are relevant to those occupying public health research, policy and practice roles, as well as members of the public, in England and other multi-racial settings.
... Racism exists as a system of injustice that undermines and erodes individual and group wellbeing, agency and power by creating and exploiting divisions within society (Binkley, 2016). It also exists as a system of inequity among groups and is sustained through the assignment of privileges/oppression based on socially constructed racial identities (Paradies, 2016). As an everyday, lived reality, racism manifests across various settings and domains, and bears its harmful effects across the life course (Gee et al., 2019). ...
Full-text available
Racism and anti-racism have received widespread attention in academic debates and public discourse. Having universal features, racism manifests differently nationally and locally, and has been met with diverse anti-racism efforts. Despite historical achievements of struggles against racial oppression, racism endures, and continues to evolve and adapt, posing challenges to racial justice and equity. Parallel to this, anti-racism scholarship and action have evolved over the past decade, targeting an increasing number of arenas of everyday life. However, the place of anti-racism within organisations remains overwhelmingly peripheral and often tokenistic. This article draws attention to this and argues for re-imagining anti-racism as a core organisational value. We critically evaluate current anti-racism practices, and call for broader, holistic, committed and well-funded anti-racism approaches within organisations. We then argue why establishing anti-racism as a core organisational value may help in addressing systemic/structural racism.
... Racism exists as a system of injustice that undermines and erodes individual and group wellbeing, agency and power by creating and exploiting divisions within society (Binkley, 2016). It also exists as a system of inequity among groups and is sustained through the assignment of privileges/oppression based on socially constructed racial identities (Paradies, 2016). As an everyday, lived reality, racism manifests across various settings and domains, and bears its harmful effects across the life course (Gee et al., 2019). ...
Full-text available
Racism and anti-racism have received widespread attention in academic debates and public discourse. Having universal features, racism manifests differently nationally and locally, and has been met with diverse anti-racism efforts. Despite historical achievements of struggles against racial oppression, racism endures, and continues to evolve and adapt, posing challenges to racial justice and equity. Parallel to this, anti-racism scholarship and action have evolved over the past decade, targeting an increasing number of arenas of everyday life. However, the place of anti-racism within organisations remains overwhelmingly peripheral and often tokenistic. This article draws attention to this and argues for re-imagining anti-racism as a core organisational value. We critically evaluate current anti-racism practices, and call for broader, holistic, committed and well-funded anti-racism approaches within organisations. We then argue why establishing anti-racism as a core organisational value may help in addressing systemic/structural racism. JEL Classification J15, J71, M14, Z13
... This theme strongly resonates with other literature (Paradies, 2016;Chen, 2017;Cottrell-Boyce, 2021;Foste, 2020;Milazzo, 2016). These writers critique whiteness studies and highlight the ambivalence and complexity of the topic, demonstrating how centering whiteness can actually strengthen the white status-quo and hence racism. ...
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence exposes the persistence of racism and inequality within the psychological professions and this has led to a re-commitment across all professional bodies to address this as a matter of high importance. This study aims to illuminate therapists' views and understandings of the social construct and term "whiteness" within anti-racist practice. A short, mixed-methods survey conducted in the United Kingdom sought therapists' views and from a purposive sample of 150 and fifty were returned. Quantitative data were statistically analyzed and Reflexive Thematic Analysis (RTA) was utilized to explore qualitative data. Results suggest that respondents believe that the terms "whiteness" and "white culture" reflect a dominant, yet often invisible, force in the field of race, and culture. Dialogue inclusive of the meaning and power of whiteness needs to be addressed in anti-racism training and education. A central organizing concept "Heart of the Work" was the connecting principle between four key themes: The Dominance of Whiteness; Ambivalence, Complexity and Uncertainty; The Importance of Education; and Understanding the Wider Context. Findings from this survey indicates that discussions about whiteness, privilege, and racial identity could enhance anti-racism within psychotherapy. There is a real concern about the re-traumatization of racially-minoritized members of therapy training groups, and the requirement for reflexivity and skilled facilitation is highlighted.
... Throughout the paper we use "justifying" and "legitimizing" interchangeably, as they are operationally the same. 2. See Paradies (2016) for a review of the various definitions and debates over antiracism's conceptualization. definition focuses on third-party individuals who are witness to racism (i.e., bystanders), but who are not passive. ...
Racial reckoning in response to racial injustice has compelled individuals, organizations, and institutions to acknowledge and adopt policies that actively challenge racial injustice. A central tenet of this era of reckoning is that it is no longer acceptable to ignore racist behaviors and expressions. To the extent that active opposition to racial prejudice is an effective strategy for individuals to pursue, we examine individual inclinations to act on matters of racial prejudice. We argue that in spite of best intentions, the motivation to act against racism, what we call “antiracism action orientation,” can be disrupted by system-justifying beliefs that raise questions about deservingness, legitimize the status quo, and therefore defend inaction. Survey data from the 2020 Congressional Election Study show that antiracism action orientation is strongest among African Americans, and those with more positive affect toward racial-ethnic minorities, and supporters of change. Among Whites, racial resentment dominates the motivations for antiracism to the point that typical political allies like Democrats, liberals, and those who acknowledge White privilege reduce their antiracism action orientation to lower levels than Republicans, conservatives, and deniers of White privilege. We conclude that most Americans, but especially Whites, have a high bar for change, making racism an ongoing American dilemma because of both racial attitudes and the costs of change.
... Reason and Evans (2007) have noted that, for whites, being cognizant of one's whiteness is a prerequisite to engaging in racial justice work. However, being "anti-racist," an "ally," or "woke" looks vastly different depending upon one's understanding of racism and antiracism (Hage 2016;O'Brien 2009;Paradies 2016). Because the United States remains racially segregated, both physically and socially (Crowder 2000;Crowder and South 2008;Hagerman 2018;May 2014), some scholars have suggested that the ability to adopt color-conscious, antiracist ideologies and practices may be limited for many whites (Brown 2017;Feagin and O'Brien 2004;Mueller and Washington 2021;Warren 2010). ...
Full-text available
Americans are increasingly aware of structural racial disadvantages, and especially aware of Black disadvantage. In turn, this paper asks to what degree do whites interested in undermining systems of oppression and privilege understand their own place within those systems (if at all)? Based on participant observation of four grassroots organizations serving the unhoused and 30 semi-structured interviews with volunteers, I show that even explicitly color-conscious white volunteers, many of whom spoke about structural inequality and systemic racism without prompting, struggled to see how their race was important in their day-to-day service interactions. A general inability to speak about interracial interactions despite many interracial service experiences highlights the pervasive power and privilege embedded in the taken-for-granted nature of whiteness and provides empirical support to the idea that racialized social systems discourage racial self-awareness among whites. These findings have implications for social justice- and/or service-oriented whites who seek to undermine the systems they identify as problematic and emphasize that antiracism is a continuous process.
... 2 Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are associated with practice and policy goals consistent with the absence of discrimination by institutional actors. Anti-racism or racial justice moves beyond DEI to focus on systemic practices and patterns that produce racial and other forms of inequality and commits to disrupting both the institutional and individual values and behaviors that underlie racism (Paradies, 2016). DEI-themed curricula are criticized for the tendency to ignore systematic inequalities. ...
The study examines diversity-themed course offerings in criminal justice and criminology (CJC) bachelor’s degree programs in the United States in 2020–21. Using a sample of 359 CJC programs, we document the presence of diversity-themed courses and degree requirements using data collected from university websites. We explore patterns of diversity-themed courses by department and institutional characteristics and assess the current state of diversity curricula in the discipline of criminal justice and criminology. Results of our analysis reveal that a substantial majority (75 percent) of CJC programs possessed at least one diversity-themed course while only 12 percent required students to complete a diversity-themed course in the major. We consider what these and related findings mean for the discipline in light of previous research and discuss the importance of developing student competencies in racial, gender, and other dimensions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the contemporary context of American criminal justice.
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In this conceptual paper, the author argues that equity research in mathematics education is a genre that operates according to certain implicit ideological and rhetorical rules and assumptions—or discursive formations—that form how one can think about equity and inequity. One such rule that forms the basis of this paper is the axiom of racialized deviance, a logical tool developed by whiteness to establish its dominance and to justify physical, psychic, and epistemic violence against blackness. The author takes up whiteness and blackness related to global systems of racialization beyond the reference to white and Black people that is more typical in the United States. The author proposes three ways that the deviance axiom shows up in equity research in mathematics education: ethnomathematics, repair orientations, and success counternarratives. This issue of racialized deviance unveils equity research in mathematics education as a project whose logical foundations undermine its stated aims. The logic of global white supremacy under which school mathematics operates creates a situation where it is impossible for equity in mathematics education to exist outside because the genre requires that anyone who elects to participate accepts the axiom of racialized deviance on some level.
Background This conceptual paper is an invitation to reflection and action, and is especially targeted to social marketing researchers and professionals to sensitize and engage in recent efforts to break with the limited and low coverage of investigations and interventions in the field on the topics of racism and anti-racism. Filling this gap is a challenge to be faced by academics and social marketers so that the area can properly connect, understand and contribute to contemporary movements that are challenging society for change. Focus of the Article This study aims to explicate and delineate conceptual approximations between the thinking and practices of social marketing and anti-racism to explore the observation of points of dialogue and potential, while the articulation of these approaches can accelerate and strengthen positive social changes. Research Questions What is anti-racism? What aspects and actions circumscribe and contribute to integrating anti-racism and social marketing knowledge? How can this articulation support the analysis and development of anti-racist social marketing strategies and interventions? Importance to the Social Marketing Field This paper contributes to encourage an expansion of mentality, knowledge and behavior related to racial issues and social marketing, and to stimulate ideas that, supported by anti-racism studies and interventions, provide paths that can be continuously adopted in the research, design and implementation of social marketing initiatives. Methods This conceptual article is organized by a literature survey, from sources such as recent meta-analyses, reviews and experimental studies from marketing, communication, education, and social and cognitive psychology, in order to understand the conceptual aspects of racism and anti-racism and their expressions in the contemporary world. Also, there are some case and practice suggestions on how anti-racism and social marketing can be aligned to address racism. The literature explored in this article is published in English and Portuguese. Results The anti-racism aspects presented in this text cover and provide paths that can be useful and explored in different directions in social marketing research and practice. From this perspective, the shared conceptual organization can also support academics and professionals in the area, unfamiliar with studies on racism and anti-racism expressions, to integrate these concepts in their research, plans and programs of intervention or review in these activities. Recommendations for Research or Practice The reported case and practice suggestions are not analyzed in depth. However, this is a task that should be developed critically and with more attention in future works, considering the developments, metrics, sustainability, backlash effects, and effectiveness or not of recent initiatives. More broadly, it is also pointed out that anti-racist commitments and initiatives of companies’ diversity and inclusion programs, such as those reviewed in the text, should be considered as relevant sources of analysis for social marketing studies.
Preface - Theoretical Perspectives - Historical Perspectives - Social Relations and Racial Inequality - Racism, Class and Political Action - Racism and Anti-Racism - Identity, Hybridity and New Ethnicities - Race, Racism and Popular Culture - Shifting Meanings of Race and Racism - Guide to Further Reading - Bibliography - Index