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Race and racism: Towards a global future

Abstract

There is a deepening and worldwide contradiction in the meaning and structure of race and racism. The age of empire is over; apartheid and Jim Crow have ended; a significant consensus exists that the concept of race lacks an objective basis; and yet the concept persists, as idea, as practice, as identity, and as social structure. This suggests that the global racial situation remains not only volatile but also seriously under-theorized. Five key racial problems of the twenty-first century are stressed: (1) Nonracialism vs. Race Consciousness; (2) Racial Genomics; (3) The Nation and its Peoples;(4) Race/Gender/Class "Intersectionality"; and (5) Empire, Race, and Neoconservatism. A radical pragmatist approach is proposed, stressing the ineluctable link between racialized experience and racialized social structure.

This argument, that racial hegemony has not been secured, draws on the DuBoisian legacy as well as racial formation theory. Because racial rule is essential to rule itself, these contradictions are destined to deepen, not diminish.

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