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Hey everybody do you want to know how not racist I am?

Im so not racist that I do


nt even see color! Because color is only skin deep. And/or were all pink on the in
side, the end.
Sure except for no, race actually matters quite a bit for every reason except sk
in color. Well, skin color in and of itself. But as Omi and Winant argue, skin c
olor isnt and can never be considered in and of itself, and thats precisely the is
sue. Specifically, per them, race is politically contested and constructed both
on a macro (social) and micro (individual) level. In short, the concept of race, w
hich arises out of a particular historical and political and social context, ren
ders arbitrary biological traits (i.e. phenotypes) symbolic. Traditional paradig
ms of race understood in terms of ethnicity (identity), class (inequality) and na
tion (territory) dont take the symbolic into account, thereby reifying the assumpt
ion that race is a thing in the world.
But its not a thing, is neither epistemologically natural nor ontologically neces
sary. You cant count it, you cant hold it. Which doesnt mean it doesnt exist in the ex
periential sense (fucking semantics, how do they work). After all, when faced wi
th biological difference, our perspectival imperative is to call it race. And wh
en we see someone being an asshole in response to biological difference, our neo
liberal imperative is to call it racism. That said, what sets off the race bells
skin or hair color, facial structure, whatever are not accidental. How and why an
d through which channels these particular traits became symbolically loaded is t
he ultimate question, and is what the authors argue must be interrogated. Becaus
e a lot is at stake! For one thing, unless we know what exactly were dealing with
, how might we hope to mitigate the effects of institutionalized inequity?
At first glance, this is probably an odd concept to parse. Because wait, race is
nt real? Then how come that guys black? And does that mean theres no such thing as
Mexicans? not stupid questions, given what racial formation theory asks of its au
dience, namely to imagine a world without racial ideology. Its sort of like imagi
ning at least, trying to imagine a world without capitalism. Every single thing we
see and think and do is tied into nests upon nests of ideological assumptions s
o pervasive and so thoroughly naturalized that the very structure and coherency
of our world seems to hang in that balance. The concept of I for example, or you, or
the fact that by virtue of being me I can never be you. Monads and shit! We tak
e these things for granted not because this is really how the world is, but beca
use this is how the world ended up. Omi and Winant call this process racial commo
n sense; its no surprise that people look at you like you have fifteen penises gro
wing out of your forehead when you tell them that race doesnt exist (in the way p
eople think it does).