The End of Blackness (book review)

‘A manifesto against the stifling politics of racial identity’

In attempting to show the contradictions of Dickerson’s book, the reviewer (Lasch-Quinn) highlights her own desire for an America that moves ‘beyond race’. We are also treated to Lasch-Quinn’s belief in a mainstream media that roots out racism.

Dickerson attempts to show Blacks adopting ‘marginality’ AND the continuing white racism/ethnocentrism/normativity that helps produce such a situation. Lasch-Quinn feels that white racism is “usually vilified and exposed in the press today,” but doesn’t explore the wider issues of white ethnocentrism and normativity. Thus, when Dickerson “on one page…says that whites who have children with blacks define their children as biracial or multiracial instead of black because they see ‘blackness as always and only something less than,’ while on another she seems to celebrate the notion of racial intermixture”, Lasch-Quinnn falsely assumes a contradiction.

Racial and cultural ‘mixing’ or sharing can be celebrated, so long as it challenges:
1) anti-blackness
2) white normativity

Let’s accept that SOME whites are opposed to Black cultures, or at least feel that they are ‘less (powerful) than’ white cultures. It’s not enough to just try and ‘fit in’ with whites who abhor racism yet avoid consistently challenging white normativity. Rather, we need to start thinking more deeply about obtaining cultural pluralism. Let’s investigate how anti-racism and tolerance co-exist with Eurocentrism and racial prejudice in America. We can’t ignore racism, just as we can’t let it paralyse our continuing struggles for multicultural education and social justice.

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