Racial Mixedness in the Contemporary United States and South Africa: On the Politics of Impurity and Antiracist PraxisPosted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Philosophy, South Africa, United States on 2016-07-18 23:26Z by Steven
Desiree Valentine, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Philosophy; Department of Women’s Studies
Pennsylvania State University
This article is motivated by a concern about the increasing embrace of apolitical and ahistorical notions of racial “mixedness” and “impurity.” It draws on recent examples from the United States and South Africa in order to direct attention to the difficulties of identifying logics that, on the face of it, seem to evade conventional claims of racism, but nevertheless, as it will argue, rely on racist notions that must be challenged. These include examples in the United States and South Africa of individuals self-identifying as a stand-alone mixed race category (and furthermore espousing this as a “pure” category of belonging) as well as white Afrikaners in South Africa uncritically appropriating claims to mixed heritage. This article is critical of these phenomena because of what it finds to be a lack of politically and historically situated understandings of the notions of purity and impurity and their relation to racism.
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