America Needs Anti-Racialism
In some circles, the default position is the ideology known as “anti-racism,” often derided by its critics as “wokeness. Over roughly the past decade, anti-racism has made huge inroads in liberal institutions, including universities, media, and the Democratic Party. What is less understood, however, is the opposition to liberal anti-racism. In the eyes of the anti-racists themselves, the campaigns against CRT, affirmative action, and progressive criminal-justice reform are just racism—a form of “white backlash” against the growing political power of minorities, which is all the more insidious for professing to be “color-blind.
Some anti-racists have sought to explain away these phenomena by invoking concepts such as “multiracial whiteness”—the idea that minorities adopt “white” values in order to curry favor with a white-supremacist system. If liberal anti-racism is grounded in the idea that raising the salience of race is essential to achieving racial justice, anti-racialism holds that heightened race consciousness, and the racialization of disparities and differences that would obtain in any culturally plural society, more often than not cuts against fostering integration, civic harmony, and social progress. First, anti-racialism speaks to the emergence of a new multiethnic mainstream, which marks a departure from the system of minority- and majority-race relations that prevailed for most of American history. This idea of an expanding mainstream is central to the work of the sociologists Richard Alba and Victor Nee, who’ve defined it as “that part of American society within which ethnic and racial origins have at most minor impacts.
Granted, one could argue that the divide between Black and white Americans is simply being supplanted by a divide between Black and non-Black Americans that is no less pernicious or impermeable. Nevertheless, there have always been Black conservatives who embrace an anti-racialist perspective. Though ideologically conservative Black Americans remain underrepresented in elite discourse, they’re playing an important role in urban Democratic politics. Might this inchoate contest between anti-racists and anti-racialists augur a larger realignment? The answer is far from clear.
Read full article at The Atlantic