An introduction to antiracism, a powerful tradition crucial for energizing American democracy
On August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a rally of white nationalists and white supremacists culminated in the death of a woman murdered in the street. Those events made clear that racism is alive and well in the United States of America. However, they also brought into sharp relief another American tradition: antiracism. While racists marched and chanted in the streets, they were met and matched by even larger numbers of protesters calling for racism’s end. Racism is America’s original and most enduring sin, with well-known historic and contemporary markers: slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, redlining, mass incarceration, police brutality. But racism has always been challenged by an opposing political theory and practice. Alex Zamalin’s Antiracism tells the story of that opposition.
The most theoretically generative and politically valuable source of antiracist thought has been the black American intellectual tradition. While other forms of racial oppression—for example, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Latino racism—have been and continue to be present in American life, antiblack racism has always been the primary focus of American antiracist movements. From antislavery abolition to the antilynching movement, black socialism to feminism, the long Civil Rights movement to the contemporary Movement for Black Lives, Antiracism examines the way the black antiracist tradition has thought about domination, exclusion, and power, as well as freedom, equality, justice, struggle, and political hope in dark times.
Antiracism is an accessible introduction to the political theory of black American antiracism, through a study of the major figures, texts, and political movements across US history. Zamalin argues that antiracism is a powerful tradition that is crucial for energizing American democracy.
"Alex Zamalin provides a comprehensive account of the philosophical underpinnings and practices of anti-racism in the United States. Theoretically nuanced and politically astute, this little book offers a primer on American anti-racism past and present. A fine tool for teaching and political work."-David Theo Goldberg,Author of Are We All Postracial Yet?
"[D]escribes the history of U.S. movements to contest racism...As an introduction to the intellectual history and political theory of antiracism, Zamalin’s book is ideal..."- Library Journal
"A spirited and learned introduction to a vital topic. Antiracism combines a long historical sweep with deep consideration of what Dr. King once called the 'fierce urgency of now.' Drawing impressively on cultural as well as political sources it reminds readers of the centrality of struggles against structural inequalities, not just against ugly racist opinions, to initiatives for racial justice."-David Roediger,Author of Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All
"The author provides valuable historical context on the social construct of racial identity....Zamalin's vision is pragmatic with a touch of idealism. He doesn't necessarily place moral superiority on nonviolence over more militant tactics, and he recognizes that black rebellion intensifies resistance from a conservative status quo. As he insists throughout, it is not enough to believe that you are not racist; you must actively work against racism in all its institutional and insidious forms."-Kirkus Review
"This is—by far—the best introduction to the profoundly important topic of Anti-Racism."-Gerald Horne,Author of The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism