Books Not Bars: Confronting Criminal Justice Issues through Multiracial Action


TRICIA ROSE* (MODERATOR): It’s been an incredible morning. Before we get started with the fabulous presentations that we have, it occurred to me that maybe a brief discussion of what “political race” means would be useful for those of you who haven’t yet had the luxury of having The Miner’s Canary in your possession, especially since what we’re going to do on this panel really requires a sense of what that is.

What’s important about political race is that it’s a concept that captures the association between those who are raced in society and connects it to a democratic social movement aimed at bringing about structural change within the larger community in the U.S. Political race is not a category limited to multiracial organizing on the margins, but to ultimately transforming conceptions of whiteness as well. It’s important when we think about political race that we imagine whiteness as a part of this political race project. “Political” in the political race phrase means collective interaction and action at the individual, group, and institutional levels. In that sense, it links race to power-not just individual power, but the distribution of resources and. the ways in which the distribution of resources are so clearly racialized in an unequal way. Resources are. distributed in extremely racist ways and in understanding political race, we are able to see that distribution more clearly. The normalization of racial hierarchy is made unstable in the political race project.

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