Home » Feminism » Please Stop: Post-Racial America

Please Stop: Post-Racial America

I am late in responding to Dr_JZs post about how after President Obama was elected in the 2008 suddenly pundits opined that the United States was in a post-racial era. This reminds me of the quote by Meg Sullivan, “I’ll be a post-feminist in the post-patriarchy.” It does not exist. We are not in a post-racial era and to say this is to not acknowledge racism or different forms of privilege. Jordan-Zachery’s eloquent post notes how at this same time we have witnessed an invisibility of Black women in our field of Political Science. Jordan-Zachery spoke to this in her recent article published in Politics, Groups and Identities demonstrating via some statistics that fewer publications are examining Black women as a subject. Why? The answers will vary, but most will carry lots of baggage and will unsettle and make most of us uncomfortable. It is not that Latinos are now the majority minority. It is not that we live in a post-racial United States (although I am living in Canada).

I strongly believe that part of this invisibility stems from editors and reviewers deeming what is worthy of publication. It also stems from the research that is currently conducted and supported on campuses in departments of Political Science, Africana Studies, or Black Studies programs and departments. And, I will not speak for Jordan-Zachery; however, her blog post notes specifically how Intersectionality as method has been hijacked. OK, she does not use those exact words, but the following quote from Jordan-Zachery’s post is telling:

“Simply put, Black women are disappearing as research subjects within our ‘leading’ academic journals (Alexander-Floyd “Disappearing Acts” 2012) and within intersectionality research specifically. Many credit intersectionality research as an outgrowth of Black feminist standpoint theory and remind us that Black feminist standpoint theory is crucial to intersectionality, but in many cases a mere footnote or sentence makes this acknowledgment.” (Bold in the original post).

What can we make of this or should we make of this? Is this the hijacking of a method that is now mainstream within Feminist Political Science research that used to focus on Black women, then women of color. Now, Intersectionality is that catch all for all components of identity. Is it now meaningless? Perhaps Intersectionality as a method is so useful that everyone wants to employ it as a lens of analysis. It begs the question about methods and who can use them? I do not have the singular answer, but I do know that I am hard pressed to not find Intersectionality as a method in journal articles related to my areas of interest and teaching.

Our blog post conversation also stems from a Google Hangout that we had last month catching up on work and more. I am happy and honored to have Julia (now I refer to her as a person and not a super-star academic) in my life. One of the interesting conversations that was about race and racism. Since Obama’s election and re-election we have both witnessed the marked ways that race is discussed or not discussed by the popular press, within the blogosphere, then in academe. It’s complicated. People generally feel a sense of unease when it comes to discussing race or racism. Frankly, I think that our blog posts would make some uncomfortable. This is a start of a longer conversation. Please weigh in–Dr. J_Z and I are waiting! Oh, and the title of my post is my asking that people stop referring to the US as a post-racial society. It’s not.

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