Are We Post-Racial Yet? | A lecture with David Goldberg hosted at the CAS

Posted on February 29, 2016

The proponents of post-raciality insist that the legacy of racial discrimination and disadvantage has been waning over time. If it exists now at all, such discrimination is deemed anomalous and individually expressed, not structural or socially fueled. Racist outbursts are considered occasional, not systemic or systematic, with diminishing impact. In Are We All Post-racial Yet?, David Theo Goldberg argues that proponents of post-raciality are concerned to scrub racial reference from social usage, erasing language by which racism can be identified, analysed, and addressed.

The election of Barack Obama as U.S. President was held by many to be proof that we have once and for all moved beyond race. The Swedish government has even gone so far as to erase all references to race from its legislative documents.

Post-racialists, Goldberg demonstrates, accordingly deny their refusal to acknowledge contemporary racisms. They insist that racism is perpetrated more readily by its historical victims—usually blacks—now aimed at its historical perpetrators, namely whites. And they dehumanize those they want to dismiss by reviving old modes of racist animalization in renewed terms. Post-raciality, Goldberg concludes, far from being the end of racism, is its extension, contemporary racism's new mode and logic of expression.

However, as Ferguson, MO, and countless social statistics show, beneath such claims lurk more sinister shadows of the racial everyday, institutional, and structural racisms persist and renew themselves beneath the polish of nonraciality.
In this sparkling essay, David Theo Goldberg seeks to explain this conundrum, and reveals how the postracial is merely the afterlife of race, not its demise. Postraciality is the new logic of raciality.


 The author, David Theo Goldberg is Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

This Special Lecture will be hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship and Polity:

07 March 2016, 18:30 for 19:00 at Old College House, Hatfield Main Campus.

RSVP: [email protected]


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