A Recap Of The “Post-Racism” Blog Debate

Many sociologists and other scholars have entered the blogosphere, offering ideas and perspectives found within a minute’s search on the internet — knowledge that is often locked behind pay-walls for academic journals and the doors of universities.  While academic research and teaching continue, for those are the primary duties of academics, blogging can serve to extend or clarify ongoing conversations, or even create new spaces for exchange.  However, most of us maintain our own blogs, rarely engaging or referencing one another.

But, scholar-blog exchanges do occur.  One such discussion, still ongoing today, regards the persistence of racism in America today.  See the conversation, in chronological order, below:

  1. Fabio Rojas (tenured sociology professor at Indiana University) sparked debate by suggesting that “post-racist” better describes America today than does “post-racial.”  That is, we are not beyond race; rather, we have made great strides in moving beyond (traditional) racism: https://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/post-racist-not-post-racial [January 18, 2013]
  2. Tressie McMillan Cottom (PhD candidate at Emory University) responded to argue that racism does, in fact, persist, particularly in various importance social institutions (e.g., workplaces, the criminal justice system): http://tressiemc.com/2013/01/18/there-is-no-race-in-organizations/ [January 18, 2013]
  3. Eric Anthony Grollman (PhD candidate at Indiana University) responded to Fabio within a discussion that the New York Times “Room for Debate” discussion on Black scholars’ obligation (or not) to talk about race and racism misses the institutional constraints that prevent many from speaking up: http://conditionallyaccepted.com/2013/02/07/black-scholars/ [February 7, 2013]
  4. Fabio responded directly to Eric (me) to clarify that progress toward racial equality has, indeed, been made in some aspects of society: http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/response-to-eric-grollman-on-race/ [February 14, 2013]
  5. Tressie responded to Fabio’s response, arguing that the US is not as far along in improving racial and ethnic relations as it hopes and purports to be: http://tressiemc.com/2013/02/14/whos-afraid-of-post-racist/ [February 14, 2013]
  6. Eric reflects on the constraints he feels engaging publicly with a tenured professor as a graduate student: http://conditionallyaccepted.com/2013/02/16/extend-race-debate/ [February 16, 2013]
  7. Eric adds to the conversation the point that emotions (particularly those of people of color) become the focal point of debates on racism as a means to derail the entire discussion (re: Fabio’s attention to Eric’s “outrage”): http://conditionallyaccepted.com/2013/02/19/racism-anger-guilt/ [February 19, 2013]
  8. Jason Orne (PhD candidate at University of Wisconsin-Madison) joins the ongoing debate, clarifying the utility of the concept of “post-racism” (even if it does not reflect reality) and highlighting some of the challenges to talking frankly about racism: http://queermetropolis.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/the-post-racist-debate/ [February 20, 2013]
  9. Fabio offered an example of declines on overt expressions of racial prejudice to provide further clarification: http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/measuring-the-post-racist-society-the-eclipse-of-explicit-racist-talk/ [February 21, 2013]
  10. And, Tressie comments that Fabio’s demonstration relies on a weak means of providing evidence that we have moved beyond traditional racism: http://tressiemc.com/2013/02/22/1194/ [February 22, 2013]
  11. Eric reflects further on interpersonal barriers to discussing race that have been touched on throughout the ongoing debate: http://conditionallyaccepted.com/2013/02/22/barriers-racism/ [February 22, 2013]
  12. Eric calls for a “bystander intervention” approach to fighting racism, wherein racism is a community issue, and anti-racism is a community responsibility: http://egrollman.com/2013/02/27/bystander-intervention-racism/ [February 27, 2013]
  13. The conversation concludes with a post by Eric making a plea to believe and support (fellow) people of color who express that they have been victimized by racism: http://conditionallyaccepted.com/2013/03/05/doubting-denying/ [March 5, 2013]