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The Post-Racial Crisis of Collective Memory: Lynching, Race Realism, and Mourning

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Since the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, the flood of police and white violence against unarmed blacks has launched this problem into the public’s recognition in new and complex ways. In this paper I will argue that the post-racial context of collective memory reveals a problem of agency that makes the agency that is coded as antiracist complicit with contemporary violence of racism. I will focus on how both practices of collective memory of antiblack violence and practices of unforgetting are both post-racialized in ways that make the permanence of racism stand out. I will argue that Derrick Bell’s race realism clarify the connection of the problem of agency. I conclude by suggesting a turn toward developing a political sense of mourning as a way of rethinking our collective agency in relation to post-raciality itself.


Alfred Frankowski    
Northeastern Illinois University
United States


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