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BHM 23: In Conversation with Arun Kundnani

9 months ago

BHM 23: In Conversation with Arun Kundnani

10 Oct 2023


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For almost a century, liberals viewed racism as rooted in extremist individual beliefs. Figures like Magnus Hirschfeld and Ruth Benedict advocated education to reduce prejudice, birthing today’s liberal anti-racism seen in diversity training and Hollywood activism.

Simultaneously, a radical anti-racism emerged in the Global South, linking racism to colonialism and capitalism. Thinkers like C.L.R. James, Claudia Jones, and Frantz Fanon illuminated these connections, a perspective adopted by Martin Luther King.

Today, despite white liberals confronting their whiteness, structural oppression persists, as Arun Kundnani’s work highlights.

This narrative history dissects these anti-racism strands. Neoliberalism’s rise revealed that combating racism necessitates challenging its capitalist roots.

Arun Kundnani has been active in antiracist movements in Britain and the United States for three decades. He is a former editor of the journal Race & Class and was a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. The Guardian has described him as “one of Britain’s best political writers.” He is the author of What is Antiracism?, The Muslims are Coming!, and The End of Tolerance. He lives in Philadelphia.

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