New article out in Subjectivity 9: 4 June 2016

28 Mar

 

 

Anti-Racism Beyond Empathy: Transformations in the Knowing and Governing of Racial Difference

This article applies Michel Foucault’s provocative treatment of racism to a critique of contemporary forms of White anti-racism. From Foucault’s reflections, it is possible to extrapolate two key functions: racism as a mode of knowledge aimed at destabilizing sovereign power, and racism as a mode of government aimed at establishing divisions within society. These functions are reproduced across the program of White anti-racism, which aims at the cultivation of empathy for racial minorities. Moreover, this article examines racism and anti-racism in terms of their functioning within the economy of a social/racial contract, in which anti-racism is understood as an obligation to return to the other that which racism has taken away. Alternative modes of White anti-racism are proposed which, drawing on Foucault’s notion of an ethics of the self, imagine alternative practices of White anti-racism beyond the terms of a moral economy of anti-racism.

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