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Crash Politics and Antiracism

Interrogations of Liberal Race Discourse


Phillip Howard and George J. Sefa Dei

Crash Politics and Antiracism argues that race and racism continue to script the social fabric in Euro-North America. While dominant discourses claim that we have made significant progress away from racial bigotry, there is no shortage of evidence that inequitable ideologies of race prevail. Similarly, mainstream cinematic productions have mass appeal, yet tend to demonstrate and cement the racial ideologies that circulate in society. As such, they can be used either for the propagation of dominant ideologies or in the development of critical consciousness. Crash Politics and Antiracism does the latter, understanding the award-winning film Crash as an especially interesting pedagogical site, for while to many it offers a fresh analysis of race and racism, the antiracist analyses in this book suggest that it recycles oppressive understandings of race. The essays in this collection, written from a variety of racial locations, provide readings of Crash that seek to disrupt the movie’s subtle messages and, more importantly, some of the intractable liberal notions of race that perpetuate racial inequity. The considerations raised in this volume will enrich critical conversations about how race and racism work in contemporary Euro-North American societies – whether these conversations occur in classrooms, boardrooms, or living rooms.
Contents: George J. Sefa Dei/Philip S.S. Howard: Introduction. Up to No Good: Crash Politics and the Liberal Race Discourse – George J. Sefa Dei: Crash and the Relevance of an Anti-racism Analytical Lens – Philip S.S. Howard: Colliding Positions on What Counts as Racially Progressive: A Critical Race Africology of the Film, Crash – Jane Ku: Irrational Subjects and Hallucinations of Peace and Order – Erica Lawson: The Politics and Pedagogy of Crash in the Postmodern Era: A Black Feminist Reflection – Arlo Kempf: On the Souls of White Folks: Notes on the White Crash Conversation – Paul Banahene Adjei: Unmapping the Tapestry of Crash – Elaine A. Brown Spencer: Unearthing Colonial Theology: A Critical Interrogation of the Movie Crash – Shazia Shujah: Personal But Not Political: A Critical Analysis of the Movie Crash’s Educational Potential – Terri-Lynn Brennan: Hollywood’s Appeasement of White Guilt: Challenges to White Youth and Educators when Using Crash in the Classroom – Jasmin Zine: Contact Zones: A Crash Collision with Racial Politics and the Neo-Orientalist Imaginary.