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Fifty ways to leave …… your racism

Patel, N.; Keval, Harshad


N. Patel


“Racism does not stay still; it changes shape, size, contours, purpose, function…people’s attitudes don’t mean a damn to me, but it matters to me if I can’t send my child to the school I want…if I can’t get the job for which I am qualified…the acting out of prejudice is discrimination and when it becomes institutionalised in the power structure of this society, then we are dealing not with attitudes, but with power.”
(Sivanandan, 1990: 65)

The above is a quote from a speech given by Ambalavener Sivanandan, then director of the Institute of Race Relations, UK. The quote is from a speech given in 1983, during a period of constant racialised turmoil, discrimination and violence, and starkly renders our multi-racial, multi-ethnic, culturally syncretic UK landscape in powerful racially rendered hues. Thirty-four years after this speech, we are seeing a newly revived racialised antagonism which has been fuelled by both political machinations of old, as well as by recent national, European and global economic contexts. Our contemporary landscape is marred by increased racial violence, intensified far right and White supremacy movements which openly embrace and express anti-Black, anti-foreigner, anti-migrant and anti-refugee sentiments. In 2016, both the UK EU referendum and the US presidential elections, with unexpected outcomes, were characterised by a variety of racialising validities. The build-up to the ‘Brexit’ campaigns were punctuated by what could be seen as flashpoints where the possibility of intense racialised conflict loomed. These flashpoints related to principally ‘immigration’, and notionally the UK’s state as a ‘sovereign independent country’ and its right to more tightly protect its borders and to prevent terrorism (by ‘home-grown British Muslims’). Much has been written about this within the last year (e.g. Bhambra, 2016; Jones et al., 2017; Raja-Ranking, 2017; Virdee and McGeever, 2017; Wood and Patel, 2017), and what we are witnessing again is inexhaustible othering, dehumanising and essentially, race-making – the reproduction (and contestation) of ‘race’ and racial categories.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 1, 2018
Publication Date 2018-05
Deposit Date Feb 27, 2023
Journal Journal of Critical Psychology Counselling and Psychotherapy
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 2
Pages 61-79
Series ISSN 1471 7646
Keywords Race, Racism, Whiteness, Institutions, Psychology, Sociology