Is race mixture an antidote to racism?

Is race mixture an antidote to racism?

Monitor: Global Intelligence on Racism

Monica Moreno-Figueroa, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cambridge; Fellow in Social Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

There is a tendency for commentators situated towards the political right to claim that we are living in a “post-racial” age. They point to the fact that since the Second World War, the institutional racism of the US South and of South African apartheid has been dismantled, that scientists now agree that all humans are genetically almost identical, that many societies have officially adopted multiculturalist policies, recognising and respecting the cultural differences that characterise racially diverse societies, and that rates of inter-racial marriage are rising fast as societies become more integrated.

Within this “post-racial” view, the presence of racism is not necessarily denied, but it is minimised and seen in a certain way. Overtly racist people are deplored as far-right fanatics who are not representative of the main trends in society. Those who protest against racism are accused of being over-sensitive “snow-flakes” who “can’t take a joke”, of unfairly demanding special treatment, or creating counter-productive divisiveness and discord in society.

In this scenario, post-raciality and racism are seen as being in an either/or relationship, a zero-sum game in which the more post-racial a society is, the less racism it must have. However, Latin American societies can teach us, both in historical and contemporary experiences, that this scenario is misleading. The region shows us that post-raciality and racism can co-exist, with both aspects forming simultaneous dimensions of the same context. What is more, it is not that post-raciality is a mask behind which the workings of racism lurk: they are both deeply-rooted aspects of society…

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