White Reconstruction and the
Impasse of Racial Genocide
Prof. Dylan E. Rodríguez, UC Riverside
April 23, 2012
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Across our different social positions, we live and die inside the reformed, restructured, and reinvigorated logics of racism and white supremacy that have emerged since the 1960s. This extended half-century period, which can be named the contemporary time of White Reconstruction, has distended the legacies of multiple racial genocides while producing an almost complete misrecognition of their human and material violence as such. During such times, racism’s logics of dominance seep into other institutional forms, constitute new (or modify old) regimes of racial violence and repression, and articulate into cultural practices that appear dramatically different from the previous eras. It is within this condition that the last half-century—the alleged “post-civil rights” era—marks another vital moment of national racial reform and “progress” in which the structuring social violence of systemic racial dominance has neither subsided nor dissipated, but has instead permeated the very institutional structures and cultural discourses through which this reform and progress has supposedly occurred. Reflecting on several well-known, little-known, and almost unknown political and cultural texts, the lecture draws linkages between Barry Goldwater, Colin Powell, the 2011 Pelican Bay prison hunger strike, and the apparatuses of contemporary multiculturalism to consider the persistence and multiplicity of our standoffs with racial genocide. We must ask: within this impasse, what is the task?
Co-sponsored by Ethnic Studies, Center for Race and Gender, American Cultures Studies program, Social and Cultural Studies in Graduate School of Education, African American Studies, the Rhetoric Department, and the Center for Research on Social Change