Racism’s Last Word
This concluding chapter is an experimental exploration of the intimacy
upon which everyday racism relies. The work here is not focused upon
egregious or spectacular acts of racist violence, but instead investigates the
more quotidian acts of racism—the kind that separate (and simultaneously
conjoin) black and white in family genealogies, the sort created by a simple
touch or a word uttered between ‘‘blood strangers,’’ a term I deploy in the
introduction to mark both the saliency of race as a trope and the absurd-
ness of race as an ideology. In order to do this work, I deploy a series of
scenarios, passages, and scenes to mine the connection between race and
gender and what we understand as the experience—the feeling—of racism.
The first section, ‘‘The Last Word,’’ reads Derrida’s provocative essay
‘‘Racism’s Last Word’’ and Toni Morrison’s musings on the same subject in
order to explore the role of language in our understandings of how racism
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