Review: Andrew Brookson Alana Lentin

Race Still Matters

The title of Alana Lentin’s book, Why Race Still Matters, suggests that, for some at least, race has ceased to matter. While we might desire the abolition of the regimes of race that have produced such great misery and subjection, the idea that race has ceased to matter does not occur to those whose lives are coded by ever-shifting processes of racialisation. Far from irrelevant, race is a matter of life or death for many. Racism, as Ruth Wilson Gilmore defines it in Golden Gulag, ‘is the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.’ One need only to look at the rising numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody – at least 440 since the 1991 Royal Commission, including three more deaths in the week I am writing this – to register the stakes of racism. But we might take Gilmore’s point more broadly and consider that even when racism does not lead to imminent risk of death, every instance of it contributes to a wearing down of those who must weather it in ways that inhibit the simple things many take for granted – living, working, socialising, accessing infrastructure, and so on. Racism comes in many forms, from the genocidal to the daily, and remains a structure of domination despite perennial claims that it belongs to the past. This, of course, is Lentin’s point and so the title is a response, and challenge, to the fallacy of a post-racial world. More than this, the title appears to respond to an increasingly ubiquitous and hostile question: ‘Why are you making this about race?’ That question invariably shifts the focus away from the perpetrator of racism and onto the one subjected to it. A dog-whistle disguised as a debate.

To some it might appear that we are endlessly talking about race. Take, for example, the discourse that followed in the wake of Larissa Behrendt and Lindon Coombes’s report into the systemic racism of the Collingwood Football Club, which found that Black players endured years of racist taunts and slurs. For a moment it seemed that a meaningful discussion about racism might finally take place in the mainstream media. But the report’s emphasis on structural discrimination was quickly obscured by the official response from the club, which in the first instance disputed and deflected the findings: ‘There was not systemic racism as such, we just didn’t have the processes in place as we look back now to do the job we would like to have done’, remarked then-club president and renowned racist Eddie McGuire (inadvertently offering a great definition of systemic racism), continuing: ‘We’re not a mean-spirited club. We’re not a racist club.’ Then, a week after the first more combative press conference, the club would work to shift the focus away from a culture of racism by focusing on an individual, with a tearful McGuire resigning as club president. As Behrendt and Coombes wrote in an op-ed reflecting on their report and the response to it:

the focus on individuals deflects from a more structural issue. […] Systemic racism doesn’t mean that everyone in the club is racist, as some have tried to say. What it means is that the culture, structures and internal mechanisms aren’t effective in facing racism, providing resolution, and creating change. It means that individuals of goodwill can’t make the difference they want.

So even when race enters mainstream discourse, it is rarely addressed as a tool and technique of subordination and supremacy. Lentin’s book seeks to do just this, and in doing so joins a rich tradition of critical race and anti-racist scholarship.

To others it would seem that liberals, conservatives, and fascists are all, albeit in different ways, invested in race and that race, implicitly or explicitly, codes both discourse and material conditions. Lentin agrees:

Race matters to white supremacist terrorists. Race matters to the growing number of public figures and academics… who believe we need to be realistic about what they see as innate racial differences between groups in the population. Race matters to proponents of extreme ‘identitarianism’ who are opposed to dialogue and solidarity-building between groups.

Lentin’s response to this is the same as the one she gives to the claims a post-racial epoch has arrived or that mainstream discourse is already over-saturated by the analytic of race: we must continue to talk about race, we must understand what race is and how racism functions, precisely so that the latter might be abolished. Why Race Still Matters is a call to speak about race outside of the terms dictated by a white supremacist order. ‘Not speaking about race’, writes Lentin, ‘does nothing to serve those who are targeted by racism. But it does benefit those who are not. … Talking about race does not mean accepting its terms of reference. Like any structure of power – capitalism, class, gender, heterosexualism, or ability – the reason we must speak about race is to attempt to unmask it in order to undo its effects.’

Lentin tells us we must understand how race operates and subjugates if we are to bring about the end of racial capitalism. But the complexity of race, as Stuart Hall pointed out, is that it is a ‘floating signifier’. How then do we make sense of that which is made to appear as if static and stable but in actual fact is the result of constantly shifting processes? How do we define a concept that floats? Perhaps we might, as Chris Chen does, place quotation marks around the term ‘race’ in order to show its instability.

‘Race’ is the consequence and not the cause of racial ascription or racialisation processes which historically justify asymmetrical power relationships through reference to phenotypical characteristics and ancestry.

Chen’s use of quotation marks is a gesture designed to ‘avoid attributing independent causal properties to objects defined by ascriptive processes.’ This articulation speaks to the relationality of race, a definition often summarised by the phrase ‘race is a social construct’. Lentin drills down further, asking us to interrogate exactly what is meant by that phrase, and more importantly, how exactly race comes to be socially constructed.

To be clear, Lentin does not contest that race is a social construct. Her point is that if definition stops at this point, it does nothing to explain the continuous reproduction and reinvention of race through policy, law, social norms, public health, bureaucracy, education, and so on. She argues that the articulation of race as socially determined has little left to offer us politically. Sure, race is social construction, but what exactly is it a construction of? For Lentin, the answer to that question is often frustratingly circular.

Social constructivist arguments around race emerged as refutations to the biological conceptions of race advanced in racist pseudoscientific disciplines of the post-Enlightenment period. Such arguments sought to displace the idea that racial difference can be understood in biological or genetic terms. But Lentin points to a resurgence of the biological articulation of race in the contemporary moment. One example she gives is the ‘explosion in popularity of DNA testing services’ which affirm the idea of ‘natural racial differences that can be “read” in our DNA.’ The re-emergence of this kind of ‘race realism’ obscures the fact that the racial categories that underpin such DNA testing projects were themselves socially constructed, shaped by the colonial world-making project and European Enlightenment thought. To quote MC Hammer in a recent viral tweet, such appeals to objective truth and scientific rationality often fail to ‘measure the measurer’.

For Lentin, simply to state that race is socially constructed does not refute bio-essentialism. ‘The problem with the pure social constructionist position’, she writes, ‘is that it runs the risk of reasserting the primacy of race as biological rather than political.’ She draws on Barnor Hesse, who argues that pure social constructionists fall into a trap of ultimately arguing that ‘race is a construction of the idea that there is a biological racial hierarchy.’ Here we are returned to an idea of race without articulating how such an idea comes into being. This is yet another reminder of the persistence of the idea that there is an objective truth to race. Against these assertions, we must reiterate that biology itself emerges from, and is shaped by, social and cultural processes. The claim to scientific objectivity, as feminist scholars have shown us, tends to abstract from the conditions in which knowledge is produced, disguising the presence of ideology behind appeals to universal truths. But pure social construction also performs a vision-trick, suggesting a relativism that can displace material realities. By elevating subjectivity over objectivity, objectivity paradoxically remains properly unexamined in favour of a type relativism that can unwittingly reproduce the binaries it seeks to displace, leading to the circular argumentation that Lentin and Hesse note above. The problem is, Lentin tells us, that ‘antiracists are very good at denying the biological facticity of race, but not very good at explaining what is social about race.’ Put another way, we must consider the relation between the social and the scientific and attend to the conditions under which knowledge comes to be produced in the first place.

We must ask not simply what race is then, but more importantly, what race does. Or as the historian Patrick Wolfe puts it in the epigraph to Chapter One: ‘under what circumstances was (or is) race constructed?’ To ask these questions is to frame race as a political project that produces material effects in the world.

In order to go ‘beyond social construction’ as a catch-all explanation, Lentin argues that we must both attend to the genealogies of race and racial hierarchies, as well as to the specific and ever-evolving ascriptive processes of racialisation that work to produce a conception of race as static and impermeable. Race is the result of the repetition of acts of racism and not the other way around. Race is produced by endless yet shifting acts of racialisation, which, as Patrick Wolfe tells us in Traces of History, refers to ‘race in action, which is prior to and not limited to racial doctrine.’ Racism does not refer to prejudice that appeals to the existence of identifiable races, as is commonly understood, but rather is the repetition of actions that work to naturalise race, producing the impression that it is a stable entity. The repetition of acts of racism creates the illusion of race which in turn obscures the acts of racism that produce it. Racecraft, a play on witchcraft, is what Barbara and Karen Fields call a ‘conjuror’s trick of transforming racism into race’. In their book of the same name, they offer the following instructive definition of racism:

Racism refers to the theory and the practice of applying a social, civic, or legal double standard based on ancestry, and to the ideology surrounding such a double standard. […] Racism is not an emotion or state of mind, such as intolerance, bigotry, hatred, or malevolence. If it were that, it would easily be overwhelmed; most people mean well, most of the time, and in any case are usually busy pursuing other purposes. Racism is first and foremost a social practice, which means that it is an action and a rationale for action, or both at once. Racism always takes for granted the objective reality of race, as just defined, so it is important to register their distinctness. The shorthand transforms racism, something an aggressor does, into race, something the target is, in a sleight of hand that is easy to miss.

And so we must trace the history of race in action in order to properly understand what race does. Following in the footsteps of scholars such as Sylvia Wynter and Barnor Hesse, Lentin traces the origins of race back to, at least, the colonial project of the fifteenth century. Such an attention to history affirms that ‘race does not originate in nineteenth-century biological theorizations’, but rather that these ‘scientific discoveries’ were mapped onto pre-existing racial archetypes that had been made and remade. Race in action was, and continues to be, the result of social processes. Racial doctrine solidifies the changing ascriptive processes of racism by claiming a scientific basis for race in ways that both obscure the longer history of racialisation as well as the constructedness of science itself.

While Lentin gestures to this longer history of race, the foundational relationship between colonialism, capitalism, and race is largely assumed throughout the book. Of course, no one book can do everything, and Lentin’s scholarship is rich with citations that point not only to her intellectual and political debts but that also lead the reader beyond this book and toward further study. But if we are to grasp the full implications of race as a political project, we must comprehend the inextricable link between race and capital. For Cedric Robinson, the origins of race and racialism pre-date the ‘exploratory’ colonialism that took off in the fifteenth century on a global scale and can instead be traced back to the colonial experiments of feudal Europe.

In Black Marxism, Robinson argues, contra orthodox Marxists, that capitalism and racism evolved simultaneously rather than capitalism producing a world-historical rupture in which racism emerges as a specific form of class oppression. ‘The tendency of European civilization through capitalism’, writes Robinson, ‘was thus not to homogenize but to differentiate—to exaggerate regional, subcultural, and dialectical differences into “racial” ones.’ Robinson argues that those who owned the means of production in the period in which capitalism was beginning to develop articulated their differences from those whose labour they exploited in terms that we would now recognise as racial. The distinction is subtle but important, showing race to be a foundational tool for the emergence and continuation of capitalism. Robinson’s thesis is that racialisation is inextricably linked to proletarianisation ­­– producing either workers or surplus populations largely excluded from markets or both. Robin D.G. Kelley elaborates Robinson’s point:

Capitalism and racism . . . did not break from the old order but rather evolved from it to produce a modern world system of ‘racial capitalism’ dependent on slavery, violence, imperialism, and genocide. Capitalism was ‘racial’ not because of some conspiracy to divide workers or justify slavery and dispossession, but because racialism had already permeated Western feudal society. The first European proletarians were racial subjects (Irish, Jews, Roma or Gypsies, Slavs, etc.) and they were victims of dispossession (enclosure), colonialism, and slavery within Europe. Indeed, Robinson suggested that racialization within Europe was very much a colonial process involving invasion, settlement, expropriation, and racial hierarchy.

To articulate race in these terms is to understand that, at the most foundational level, anti-racist struggles must also be both anti-colonial and anti-capitalist. This is clearly the politics that Lentin advances in Why Race Still Matters, and yet the historical detail that grounds such a political standpoint remains implied in the book’s articulation. This work might be done in future projects or by scholars working in dialogue with Lentin, and is necessary for a world-historical account of both how and why race becomes.

The focus of Lentin’s book is to give an account of race that exposes and contests the resurgence of forms of racism that purport to be critical or objective. Her task is to debunk the myriad ways that racists scaffold their actions via appeals to science or commonsense or the ‘public good’. She does this by emphasising the contingency of race, both historically and contemporarily. Race, she tells us, is ‘intrinsically unstable, polyvalent, and mobile’ and so must continuously construct and reconstruct itself in order to affirm the supremacy of whiteness. Race, in other words, is relational and is elaborated as a series of interconnected systems, structures, and ideologies that produce material realities. So even though race is socially constructed, it can have life or death consequences. Lentin, drawing on Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, offers the following definition:

Race itself is a technology, rather than a category, that pre-exists the idea of a taxonomical system of biological ‘races’. Race, from this perspective, should be understood as a project and a process elaborated by regimes such as colonialism and slavery and within structures and ideologies that take shape over time.

To figure race as a technology of domination developed in the service of colonial capitalist accumulation is to emphasise the way the ascription of race constructs relations (human/other, rational/irrational, visible/invisible) and bodies (physical and discursive). The technology of race literally remakes bodies, making groups of people that have been differentiated along racial lines more susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases than others. ‘Refuting the existence of race’, cautions Lentin, ‘is not the same as saying there is no such thing as human biodiversity and that groups who are racialized differently may require different forms of treatment for physical and mental illness.’ The problem, for Lentin, is that these differences often get naturalised as innate or inevitable in ways that negate the impact of racialisation. Writing about the higher prevalence of diabetes among some Aboriginal people in Australia, Lentin writes:

We must explain these differences without succumbing to simplistic biological accounts that suggest that there is a natural predisposition of Aboriginal people to diabetes, rather than a colonially produced effect on health. The very real fact that racial rule produces inequities between groups construed as separate races means that people, such as Aboriginals in Australia or Black people in the US, among whom there is more socioeconomic deprivation over generations get more sick. Racial rule, thus, has a biological effect both on the individual body and on bodies over generations.

The interrogation of the limits of a pure social constructionist argument that Lentin advances in Why Race Still Matters builds to a simple yet integral point: ‘race is above all a matter of rule.’ This is the point that Lentin returns to throughout the book, the vital notion that any challenge to racial rule and racism must understand race on political terms. Having articulated race in political terms, the subsequent chapters turn their attention to a series of dominant rhetorical moves deployed by racists that seek to discredit and disempower anti-racists. The second chapter of the book tracks the evolution of the concept of racism, challenging the ‘habit of labelling obviously racist events as “not racism” by a defensive white public.’ Chapter Three critiques the tendency on both ends of the political spectrum to dismiss those that talk about race and racism as ‘identitarians’. The fourth chapter critiques the way that opposition to antisemitism (problematically often conflated with support for Israel) has been used as evidence of a commitment to anti-racism by politicians and public figures. Lentin refuses to accept this parallel as given, pushing back against the tendency to place responsibility for antisemitism largely on Muslim communities. She argues that

in order to adequately theorise antisemitism today, we need to see it as entangled with Islamophobia. Only this will permit Jews on the left to oppose our manipulation in the service of racism and colonialism.

Each chapter intervenes in discourse that advances racist ideas under the guise of realism or common sense. The sharp analysis that Lentin offers exposes what such discourses actually do – obscure, gaslight or shift blame in order that a white supremacist order is maintained.

In the settler colony of Australia, the question of what does and does not constitute racist behaviour tends to dominate mainstream discussions of race. Charges of racism tend to be vehemently denied and taken as aggressive and outrageous accusations. This is common at both the interpersonal level and in mainstream media coverage. I can’t tell you the number of times people have rejected the notion that Australia is structurally racist by telling me that a few bad apples do not spoil the crate.

We might momentarily return to Australian Rules Football and recall the sustained booing of one football’s greatest players, Adnyamathanha man Adam Goodes – a dual Brownlow Medalist, dual premiership winner, and four-time All-Australian player. Back in 2013, Goodes called out an instance of racism in which a slur was hurled at him during a match by a thirteen-year-old Collingwood supporter. In the wake of the incident, Goodes spoke of the hurt inflicted and took great pains to frame the incident as culturally produced rather than laying blame at the feet of a teenager. What followed was a national display of racism as sporting crowds around the country proceeded to boo Goodes every time he ran out onto the football field and every time he came near the ball. The booing intensified in 2015 during the AFL’s Indigenous Round when Goodes performed a war cry dance that had been taught to him by members of the under-16s Flying Boomerangs Indigenous AFL youth squad after kicking a goal. His assertion of Blak pride and sovereignty sparked a media storm that saw public figures and politicians weigh in on whether the response to Goodes was racist or not. Unsurprisingly this discourse was dominated by white voices. Commentators claimed that the mass booing of Goodes was not racially motivated but a response to the way he played the game. Former Victorian premier, Jeff Kennett would refute the charge of collective racism on national radio by shifting the blame squarely back onto Goodes’s shoulders: ‘this isn’t an act of racism; this is an act where many in the community feel as if they’ve been provoked, and they are responding to that provocation.’

Not only do responses such as Kennett’s disempower those who experience racism, they also work to obscure the structural and systemic racism that underpins the settler colony – racism that bars certain non-white people from the genre of the human – shifting the focus away from the instance of racism in question and the history that produces it, toward a generalised discussion around what constitutes racism in the first place. Lentin coins this rhetorical maneuver ‘Not Racism™’, which she explains ‘entails the constant redefinition of racism to suit white agendas, and goes to the heart of the question of who gets to define what racism is.’ The suggestion that someone or something might be racist is met with a combination of outrage and defensiveness that turns the focus away from the event in question – a seamless pivot from defence to attack. Despite the important work that First Nations and independent media such as Indigenous X do in providing critical race commentary, an irresponsible and largely racially illiterate media class has much to answer for in uncritically fanning the flames of ‘Not Racism™’ under the aegis of balanced reportage. For Lentin, ‘Not Racism™’ undermines the ability of those who experience racism first-hand to define and explain it. ‘The adjudication of whether a statement, an action, or a process is racist in our mediated public culture eschews engagement with what race does as a discursive and performative regime in these scenarios’, she writes. ‘The question of who can control the definition of racism’, she continues, ‘has grown in importance almost as a function of the lack of control that many racialized people have over the determination of their life course.’

But how exactly does ‘not racism’ function? How might we identify it and intervene in its reproduction? Here Lentin traces the origins of the term racism, showing that it was ‘first coined to describe a problem internal to Europe: rising antisemitism in the context of twentieth-century European fascism.’ This is not to say that racism didn’t exist before this moment, as we have already established the history of race as a structure of domination is a much longer one. Lentin’s point is that racism was not a common discursive term before the horrors of the European antisemitism that culminated with the Nazi genocide of Jewish, Roma, and Sinti peoples. Lentin argues that here racism comes to be defined in limited terms as a ‘moral wrong based on bad science.’ As such, racism comes to be attached to individual behaviours that are deemed excessively aberrant and obviously amoral. Unpacking the characteristics of ‘not racism’, Lentin writes:

two elements always accompany the presentation of an individual or a situation as ‘not racist’. First, racism is characterized as an excessive ascription. Second, alternative definitions of racism that diverge radically from what most people on the receiving end of racism understand it to be are offered in its place. The (re)definition of racism as universal, ahistorical, and a question of individual morality, rather than being structurally engendered, is the linchpin on which “not racism” hangs.

‘Not racism’ refutes the charge by attempting to fix the definition of racism in time. Here racism becomes attached to moments of exceptional violence, fixed in time and decontextualised as singular events rather than as the logical extensions of racial capitalism. This, Lentin tells us,

allows racism to be (re)defined because the most commonly used examples of it – the Holocaust, Apartheid, and Jim Crow segregation – are explained not as extreme yet consistent manifestations of racial rule, but as the expression of misguided, and even pathological, beliefs which, like these events, are also presented as being ‘of the past’. Because racism is viewed as being fixed squarely in history, the expression of less enlightened knowledges, any lingering racist beliefs are seen as the preserve of less progressive people.

The paradox of this understanding, writes Lentin, is that ‘racism is generally construed both as historically specific and as detachable from history’ or ‘both as frozen and motile’. Anything that does not match the scale of these historical examples is dismissed as ‘not racism’, allowing racism to continue in myriad forms. Lentin’s work insists that we track the continuity between different forms of racism, understanding racism (in all of its expressions) not as the actions of a few bad apples but as an endemic and structural problem that emerges from the long yet shifting history of racial-colonial rule.

I have been teaching now for a number of years, trying to think through race and how it intersects with class, gender, sexuality, disability, media, art, and culture with a rotating cast of people I am fortunate enough to share a classroom with. In these moments I am optimistic about the project of abolishing racial capitalism. An optimism I feel more forcefully whenever people take to streets en masse to protest the racial order of things or destroy the symbols of white supremacist capitalism that continue to exert so much power in this world. A burning cop car or looted shop front or toppled colonial monument index the ongoing resistance to ‘societies structured in dominance’, to borrow a phrase from Stuart Hall. We might also find solidarity in the careful consideration of the politics of citation or in material commitments to support those who speak out against racism or in practice of mutual aid that seek to intervene in the inequalities endemic to racial capitalism.

And yet despite the investment in anti-racist politics, I often find that white students say to me: ‘I can’t speak about racism because I have never experienced it.’ In response I find myself turning again and again to the words of Fred Moten, who – channeling Fred Hampton – writes about the conditions of coalition building in The Undercommons:

The coalition emerges out of your recognition that it’s fucked up for you, in the same that we’ve already recognized that it’s fucked up for us. I don’t need your help. I just need you to recognize that this shit is killing you, too, however much more softly.

For Moten, it is as simple and complex as recognising that we all live within racial capitalism, even if we experience its effects differently. The question then is not whether to act but how to act.

My own work on race is largely preoccupied with how to understand anti-racist resistances and solidarities. If we are to take seriously the idea that anti-racist struggle is always also anti-capitalist struggle (because, as Robinson shows us, racialisation is a precondition for the emergence of capitalism) then we might also try to push against concepts like privilege which are so inextricably connected to notions of individuation in ways that can preclude solidarity. While it is important to recognise the ways our positionality might offer certain affordances and opportunities, the language of privilege is so fundamentally structured by the individual that it runs the risk of obscuring the larger structural struggles and inhibiting collective action. Privilege might be understood as a manifestation of the spirit of neoliberal capitalism which emphasises both individual capacity and individual responsibility. My critique, of course, is not meant to diminish the importance of cultivating an ethics to live by, rather it is a call to develop different languages to describe how we live and struggle under racial capitalism in order that we might move both toward the abolition of the structure of domination that is race and a communistic horizon (which I take to be inextricably related projects).

In a recent essay, the philosopher Olúfémi Táíwò makes a distinction between standpoint and deference epistemologies. Standpoint epistemology posits that knowledge is socially situated and acknowledges that marginalised people have crucial insights to offer in relation to the experience of marginalisation. This notion is crucial to anti-racist work in both scholarly and activist forms. But Táíwò argues that, in practice, standpoint epistemology too often gives way to a practice of deference. He writes: ‘The call to “listen to the most affected” or “centre the most marginalized” is ubiquitous in many academic and activist circles. But it’s never sat well with me.’ This, he explains, is because ‘it has more often meant handing conversational authority and attentional goods to those who most snugly fit into the social categories associated with these ills – regardless of what they actually do or do not know, or what they have or have not personally experienced.’

Táíwò argues that despite good intentions, the norms of putting standpoint epistemology into practice often universalise experience in ways that perform deference without altering the structure of who is and isn’t able to enter rooms of power in the first place. Rather than centering marginalised voices, deference can work to relinquish responsibility. ‘Deference’, writes Táíwò, ‘places the accountability that is all of ours to bear onto select people – and, more often than not, a hyper-sanitized and thoroughly fictional caricature of them.’ Lentin too, seems to share this investment in how we build anti-racist coalitions and safeguard against their erosion. She cautions against the tendency to emphasise intractable differences (and perhaps by extension to perform uncritical deference to them) in the name of identity, asking:

does too much emphasis on everything that is wrong with an inconsistent version of identity politics not risk missing the fuller picture when it comes to the struggle against racism?

Táíwò’s essay might be read as a response to this question when he writes:

The same tactics of deference that insulate us from criticism also insulate us from connection and transformation. They prevent us from engaging empathetically and authentically with the struggles of other people – prerequisites of coalitional politics. As identities become more and more fine-grained and disagreements sharper, we come to realize that ‘coalitional politics’ (understood as struggle across difference) is, simply, politics. Thus, the deferential orientation, like that fragmentation of political collectivity it enables, is ultimately anti-political.

Lentin’s objective in Why Race Still Matters is to provide analytic tools that foster anti-racist struggles and encourage coalitional politics. She insists that race still matters because race is still a structure of domination that produces misery and inequality. She tells us that race still matters because racists still exist. And she articulates the value of an epistemology that foregrounds the standpoint of those who experience racism without slipping uncritically into a performance of deference that fragments collectivity. Why Race Still Matters is a vital book for those who wish to understand race, and more importantly, desire to make it matter less.

Works Cited

Larissa Behrendt and Lindon Coombes, ‘We were told “go your hardest” examining racism at Collingwood. Here’s what we found’, The Guardian. 18 February 2021.

Larissa Behrendt and Lindon Coombes, Do Better­–Independent review into Collingwood Football Club’s responses to Incidents of racism and Cultural Safety in the Workplace (Sydney: UTS, 2021)

Chris Chen, ‘The Limit Point of Capitalist Equality: Notes Toward an Abolitionist Antiracism, Endnotes no. 3: Gender, Race, Class and Other Misfortunes (London and Oakland: Endnotes, 2015).

Karen E. and Barbara J. Fields, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life (London: Verso, 2012).

Stuart Hall and Sut Jhally, Race: the Floating Signifier (Northampton: Media Education Foundation, 2002).

Stuart Hall, ‘Race, Articulation, and Societies Structured in Dominance’, in Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism (Paris: UNESCO, 1980).

Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (New York: Minor Compositions, 2013).

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2007)

Robin D. G. Kelley, ‘What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?’, Boston Review, 12 January 2017.

Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

Olúfémi O. Táíwò, ‘Being-in-the-Room Privilege: Elite Capture and Epistemic Deference’, The Philosopher, 108, 4 (2020).

Patrick Wolfe, Trace of History: Elementary Structures of Race, (London: Verso, 2016).