Why Race Still Matters
Why Race Still Matters
'Why are you making this about race?' This question is repeated daily in public and in the media. Calling someone racist in these times of mounting white supremacy seems to be a worse insult than racism itself. In our supposedly post-racial society, surely it’s time to stop talking about race?
This powerful refutation is a call to notice not just when and how race still matters but when, how and why it is said not to matter. Race critical scholar Alana Lentin argues that society is in urgent need of developing the skills of racial literacy, by jettisoning the idea that race <i>is</i> something and unveiling what race <i>does</i> as a key technology of modern rule, hidden in plain sight. Weaving together international examples, she eviscerates misconceptions such as reverse racism and the newfound acceptability of 'race realism', bursts the 'I’m not racist, but' justification, complicates the common criticisms of identity politics and warns against using concerns about antisemitism as a proxy for antiracism. 
Dominant voices in society suggest we are talking too much about race. Lentin shows why we actually need to talk about it more and how in doing so we can act to make it matter less.
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  • June 2020 (hb)
    July 2020 (pb)
  • 184 pages
  • 143 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $54.95
  • 9781509535705
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509535712
  • Open eBook $16.00
  • 9781509535729
Table of Contents
One: Race Beyond Social Construction
Two: ‘Not Racism™’
Three: Making it About Race
Four: Good Jew/Bad Jew
Conclusion: Talking and Not Talking About Race
About the Author
Alana Lentin is Associate Professor in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University.
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"Lentin's book is necessary reading. Lentin explains the whitewashing of racial-colonial history and how structural white advantage must be dismantled for progress to take place."
Sydney Morning Herald '13 Books to Take Your Mind Off 2020'

"The sharp analysis that Lentin offers exposes what [discourses that advance racist ideas under the guise of realism or common sense] actually do – obscure, gaslight or shift blame in order that a white supremacist order is maintained. […A] vital book for those who wish to understand race, and more importantly, desire to make it matter less."
Sydney Review of Books

"A persuasive and exhaustive study of how race pervades our societies. [Alana Lentin] has crafted this book in race critical scholarship with meticulous attention to the world around us. […] This book is a clear exposition of how race has been made to appear insignificant in certain strands of scholarship and popular culture, and why this is dangerous and must be resisted at all costs."
Patterns of Prejudice

"A wide-ranging, powerful and timely account of what race is, what is does, and why it still matters in our supposedly 'post-racial' times. […] Eloquent and accessible, [… it] is also valuable to a popular audience for whom the book would provide a thorough entry point into thinking more deeply about race and racism and a resource from which to cultivate racial literacy."
The Sociological Review

"A bracing corrective to the simplifications and elisions that plague commonsensical and officially sanctioned conceptions of racism."
Sivamohan Valluvan, Ethnic and Racial Studies review symposium

"Lentin identifies the many actors entangled together in a battle of ideas (and lives) to powerfully portray the ideological mess that sabotages public understanding of how racism works. But although Lentin skilfully measures our many failures in contemporary discussions, she also invites the reader to pause and ask what we can do better. Rising to her own challenge makes the work reflective, insightful and therapeutic."
Yassir Morsi, Ethnic and Racial Studies review symposium

"An important book that sets out both the progressive and dangerous traits of anti-racism."

"The most prominent strength of Why Race Still Matters is the breadth and depth of analyses, pulling from diverse sources from multiple national contexts to build upon and challenge contemporary discourses on race and racism. Lentin provides critiques of both the political right and left in the ways that both minimise the continued significance of race in the structuring of societies around the world."
Chinelo L. Njaka, Sociology

"Decolonial activists are troubled by the tendency, among certain scholars, towards what is ironically called ‘the race for theory’, or, in other words, academic work which is based on the concept of race but whose real purpose is personal career-building. Alana Lentin escapes this. Not only does this book draw inspiration from decolonial struggles and deepen them, it also fully recognises their legitimacy. For this, my infinite appreciation." 
Houria Bouteldja, Spokesperson for the Parti des Indigènes de la République (Party of the Indigenous of the Republic)

"Presently, mainstream intellectual and public discourse fundamentally lacks literacy in race. Lentin's book provides this literacy with rigor, accessibility and honesty. Above all, Lentin explains why race still matters in sociologically and geopolitically expansive ways." 
Robbie Shilliam, Johns Hopkins University
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