“Does anybody really care what a racist says?”: Anti-racism in ‘post-racial’ times

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Abstract

In September 2016 a new five-pound note entered circulation. In an online article, I offered a counter-hegemonic reading of Winston Churchill’s life in order to critique his depiction on the note. The article sparked a wave of online criticism. Drawing upon comments on the piece I wrote, in this article I show how, in the face of the threat posed by anti-racist counter-narratives, states of white amnesia lead commenters to draw upon alternative explanatory discourses that are consistent with ‘post-racial’ white supremacy. Particularly, I focus on those comments that pathologise me as the author of the article. These comments construct me as ‘a racist’, as ‘confused’ and as ‘lacking intelligence’. In each case, this framing allows the commenters to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that counter-hegemonic anti-racist work threatens to produce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-78
JournalThe Sociological Review
Volume67
Issue number1
Early online date22 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Keywords

  • anti-racism
  • mixed-race
  • white amnesia
  • white supremacy
  • ‘post-racial’

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