What We (Still) Need to Learn: Stuart Hall and the Struggle Against Racism
- new formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics
- Lawrence & Wishart
- Volume 102, 2021
- pp. 78-91
- Additional Information
Forty years ago, in his seminal essay, ‘The Whites of Their Eyes’, Stuart Hall admonished the left for its – our – collective failure in figuring out how to fight back against racism effectively. Sadly, his criticism is no less valid today than it was then, and we still have a lot to learn about how to defeat racism once and for all. We’ve known for more than a century that this thing we call ‘race’ isn’t a scientifically valid phenomenon – and yet it continues to function perfectly well in the world as if it is one anyway. As Hall noted in a 2011 interview, the mere act of unmasking essentialisms and deconstructing binaries doesn’t stop them from ‘roaring away’ in the world, completely undisturbed by our analytic prowess. This essay takes stock of the current state of anti-racist struggles (at least in the US) and offers a critical analysis of how and why our current efforts to combat racism continue to be so ineffective.