Rediscovering ‘Race Traitor’: towards a Critical Race Theory informed public pedagogy

Preston, J and Chadderton, C (2012) 'Rediscovering ‘Race Traitor’: towards a Critical Race Theory informed public pedagogy.' Race Ethnicity and Education, 15 (1). pp. 85-100. ISSN 1361-3324

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This article attempts to politically resituate Ignatiev and Garvey’s conception of the ‘Race Traitor’ within contemporary notions of Critical Race Theory and Public Pedagogy. Race Traitor has been critiqued both by those on the academic and neo-conservative right, who accuse advocates of the project of genocide and misuse of public funds, and has a number of critics on the left who consider that the project is misguided, posturing and self-affirming for guilty whites and politically untenable. There are also post-structuralist critiques of the ‘Race Traitor’ position, which overstate its focus on embodiment and the post-racial as opposed to its concrete suggestions for resisting racial oppression. In this article we argue that Race Traitor must be situated within the politics of its time, which is within anarchist and Marxist politics, and that this contextualisation enables one to consider Race Traitor as a political form with resonance for contemporary Marxists, Anarchists and in struggles against racial oppression. Ignatiev and Garvey’s manifesto, that ‘treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity,’ still has resonance amongst some anarchist groups both in the UK and North America. ‘Race Traitor’ has since been propagated through more recent work in Critical Race Theory by writers such as Derek Bell (an early reader of the ‘Race Traitor’ material), Richard Delgado and Zeus Leonardo, and we argue that Critical Race Theory provides a useful corrective to claims that a white autonomous movement can resist racial oppression. The article concludes by considering how CRT and public pedagogy may produce new political praxis for Race Traitors in the twenty-first century.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: whiteness, Critical Race Theory, anarchism, Marxism
Divisions: School of Education
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Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 11:30
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:48
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