Conceptualizing Racism: Breaking The Chains Of Racially Accommodative Language
Conceptualizing Racism: Breaking the Chains of Racially Accommodative Language
Conceptualizing Racism is a provocative book that confronts the language we use to discuss and understand racism. Author Noel A. Cazenave argues that American social science has, since its inception, practiced linguistic racial accommodation that blurs our understanding of systemic racism and makes it difficult to effect meaningful change. Conceptualizing Racism highlights how words matter in racism studies. The author traces the history of linguistic racial accommodation through the development of sociology as a discipline and illustrates how it is at play today, not only within the discipline but in public life.
Cazenave offers a critical reading of the language of racism in sociological thought and US society, providing a searing assessment of how scholars, politicians, journalists, and everyday people understand racism and use language to deny, distance, and evade it. Specifically, he argues that dominant formulations of the concept obscure, evade, and erase the systematic and structural aspects of racial oppression, and instead equivocate and accommodate through appeals to individual beliefs, psychological biases, and universal capacities. Moreover, he asserts, such formulations reinforce racial hierarchies and racist exclusions, making it more difficult to study,...