Quick Notes on Meghji, A. (2022). The Racialised Social System. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Dave Harris

[Quick notes only because much of it seemed derived from the work of Bonna- Silva — for example this bit —, itself heavily based on Hall, with some added bits on 'interaction orders']. I have just added bits that seem to be slightly distinctive. The main new bit seems to be that after the first waves of racial equality stuff -- Race Relations Acts and the end of legal discrimination and segregation, a period ensued that white folks took to be the end of racism, a new kind of colourblindness. When confronted with persisting evidence (some of it the fatuous stuff on microaggressions) they took this as reverse racism, attacks on white folks. Meghji also sees the anxieties about immigrants as the same old racism, about POC not about new claimants arriving to jump the queue for resources, whatever colour they were, or, in the case of Brexit, foreign governments having control over UK domestic legislation. a democratic deficit. Hence, to the extent that Trump and Brexit were anti-immigrant, they were racist.

He is good to remind us of the variations in the tents for the various XCrits though -- his own emphasis is on intersectionality and colourblindness as above]

Summarising the history of the development of CRT, the legal perspective sees racial discrimination as '"the misguided conduct of particular actors"' (7) rather than an issue of social legal structures, and this meant that apart from anything else antidiscrimination laws could legitimise racial discrimination, for example to argue that integration in one area could produce discrimination in another. Eventually this led to an argument that the legal system was itself articulated in wider processes. Nevertheless, there was an absence of theory.

Crenshaw also pointed to this absence by suggesting that CRT should be better seen as a verb, some active process. This led to the famous tenets. [The only thing really added is emphasis — racism is ordinary because it arises from social arrangements not individual bigotry (10). The second tenet points to important purposes being solved as a counter to challenge race neutrality. The third tenet is rendered as racism being products of social thoughts and relations rather than objective or fixed — these categories can be manipulated reconstituted, a process 'itself embedded in power relations' ranging from defining black Americans as property through the legalisation of various nationalities as racial groups. Tenet four is not so hesitant about intersectionality but regards it as 'one of its foundational concepts' (11), beginning with Crenshaw and the famous case that there was no category for black women, and concluding that 'intersectionality features as one of its defining concepts' (12). Nevertheless the final tenet is that there is a '"unique voice of colour"', which means that POC can communicate matters that '"whites are unlikely to know"' (citing Delgado and Stefancic). M connects this with auto ethnography and autobiography. The tenets apparently show that there is a conceptual foundation to contrast to that in legal studies, and that this came into education through Ladson-Billings and Tate and then spread into other areas, through qualitative studies. It became common to use the five tenets to do so.]

The theoretical components have still been criticised. There is a circularity because there is no independent social science evidence for a voice of colour. Even Crenshaw sees CRT as a knowledge project rather than a completed social theory, as does Collins, who points to a lack of coherent integration. There may be a shared ethos but no architecture.

Enter Bonilla-Silva (and Omi and Winant), and the claim that an adequate theory will help adequate politics and material change. Hall is cited in defence — 'practical social theory' for M (19). It can also connect up the empirical work, without falling into empiricism, of course — Bourdieu appears here to discourage meta theorising. Meghji proposes micro, meso and macro dimensions of racism.

There is also a need to consider 'epistemic justice' (18) in order to counter the idea that only elites produce theory, that theory is legitimate and universal whereas other groups produce merely thought. This challenges Western social theory and challenges the devaluation of work based on race.

There is a need to develop a 'racialised social system approach' drawn from CRT work in law and education, and the work of Bonilla-Silva — racism is structural, it provides material and symbolic benefits to white people, it is far more than individual prejudice, it has a material base which is reproduced at different levels [so micro,meso and macro instead of epic]. There is a process of racialization [which does involve epic in Bonnila-Silva], and this results in the construction of race, a distinct racial hierarchy, and a subsequent unequal distribution of resources. It also explains why racial hierarchies are reproduced. There are definite racial interests, which might involve white workers siding with white capitalists because they receive a 'psychological benefit'; 'racial ideology' for example in meritocratic or naturalistic accounts for black failure; racial grammar which leads to colourblind accounts, where whiteness is universalised and made invisible; racialised emotions which generate group membership — Trump and the group identity of white people; racialised interaction orders where there are unwritten rules for interaction between different races, for example in Jim Crow or current conventions like advising black people not to run through an affluent neighbourhood; racialised organisations including workplaces schools and universities which magnify racial dominance and structure whiteness as a credential or property. All this is based on Bonnila-Silva and somebody called Ray [note that Hall's analysis is much more Marxist and departs from this implicit functionalism and universalism, and talks about complex articulations between these different elements]

CRT has expanded to consider other societies like South Asian indigenous Americans and their various –Crits have challenged 'methodological nationalism. .. and '"American parochialism"' (24) [but not leading to the complexity of structure in dominance?]. However none of this developed properly sociological interests, possibly because European racial equality legislation follows American notions of citizenship, or colourblind definitions. BritCrit tended focus on the education system and 'again took no notice of the racialised social system approach', focusing on the classic tenets of CRT.

He denies any attempt to universalise racial social systems approaches and tries just to demonstrate its usefulness.

Chapter 1 the racialised social system in social space: racial interests and contestation

Apparently there was a structural functionalist input through somebody called Cox in the mid-20th century who developed the notion of structural racism, arguing that ideas about racial superiority were rooted in the social system. He called for a complete overthrow of the social system. Bonnila-Silva agrees that race is an epiphenomenal system of racial domination not a static thing, based on social practices and processes that produce racial inequality, and he looks at society as a totality [using the epic model, at least in 1997]. Meghji says this explains racism in specific areas as a part of a total structure which is different from earlier theories including earlier sociological theories which focused on things like education and the law, and it explains things like [convergence], and the construction of new forms of racism in interaction. It focuses attention on the state like O and W [which apparently draws on Gramsci and the idea of hegemonic power over racial minorities]. Meghji proposes that we understand these different theories as maps of different usefulness — eg O and W if we want to just focus on the state, a more general racialised social system approach if we are interested in nonstate organisations [Gramsci light then]

We can take Bourdieu on social space, divided by various active hierarchies based on capital and its distribution and following processes of differentiation. However 'we don't necessarily want to embrace Bourdieu's theory of capital(s)' (33) but can [somehow] stick with his notion of social space as a matter of unequal distributions of resources and see it as a structure of different social positions and agents. This makes it 'resonate' with Bonnila-Silva and explains psychological rewards accruing to racial groups. Race can be a central marker. Bourdieu and Bonnila-Silva both say that 'inequality is built into the game' (34)

Bourdieu argues that social space is relational, involves contestations by groups who have different interests, moving beyond substantialism, so that race class and gender were not essentialist properties [referring to Bourdieu on social space here]. Races are also relations and can only be recognised as a matter of position or social construction, without any meaning in isolation. Meghji draws upon Dubois to make a more conventional point that everything good seems to be labelled as white and everything bad is brown or black, organised in some sort of static binary. He says this is rooted in colonialism and enslavement [a sort of Fanon light]. A biological essentialism replaced a theological one to legitimise this racial binary, and it is found even in people like Darwin and scientific racialism, and some of this obviously still persists. For Meghji it is still 'a global phenomenon' (37) although it is still found in 'geopolitically specific regions and… Social systems' [although this seems to be a matter of applying locally these universal categories — the example is Haiti which was binarised after colonisation, while Mexico was so mixed that the constitution banned the use of race as a category altogether]. So Bourdieu is right to think of racialization as something that needs to be done, a matter of contestation, and Bonnila-Silva seems to agree that it is a struggle to reproduce the social order [but not in the same way as Bourdieu].

This is contrasted to earlier views in sociology like the Chicago School which stressed contact, conflicts and eventual accommodation and assimilation, taking race as a given and denying the reproduction of race [much of this critique apparently is carried by Cox].  Instead, racial contestation is a constant struggle between differently racialised groups over unequally distributed resources and their consequent symbolic classifications. It is about reproducing and contesting the social order. These are embedded in specific social systems, so there are differences say between Brazil and the USA [with some examples of different ways to resist police violence, or to gain full recognition for indigenous people].

Then the idea of racial interests (45F). [This is where the slip starts] There are struggles and contestation is between different groups because they have different interests, and this is Bourdieu's point. Bonnila-Silva also says racism has material foundation [2019 this time] because whites receive tangible benefits — apparently racial interests are the sole reason for racialised social systems, he thinks. It is certainly not just a legacy of the past [2015 this time, stressing '"the manifold wages of whiteness"']. Apparently whites form a social collectivity to develop their interest, not just elite whites either. Meghji sees this as 'a CRT notion' (46).

'Racial realism' seems to mean the same as convergence of interests in Bell's work. Whites retain their advantage during policy transitions ostensibly advancing racial progress. This happened in the USA South Africa and the UK. It's particularly clear with elites, but other groups benefit as well — for example the British restriction of black and brown immigration 'was very much to appease white workers' (49), and the black codes in the US 'enabled white workers to maintain economic status'.

Dominant racial groups receive 'both material and psychological benefits — '"the wages of whiteness"' (49) [originally Dubois]. He meant psychological benefit and referred to '"a vertical fissure, a complete separation of classes by race cutting square across the economic layers… Racial folklore grounded on centuries of instinct, habit and thought"' (50), a sense of superiority arising from a symbolic classification that enabled white people to think at least they were not black. This underlay Jim Crow segregation. Poor whites were appeased. White workers' psychological superiority stopped them making coalitions with black workers and this obviously helps reproduce economic relations. Sivanandan apparently agreed, and said trade unionists maintain symbolic superiority over black immigrants and workers, while racism relegated black comrades to the bottom of society and made them an underclass (51), confining '"the black worker to areas of work which he himself does not wish to do"'. [Still not a vertical division though]

The usual objection is that this attributes privilege to quite different social groups and makes all white people oppressors, whereas they are really split by class, gender, sexuality and others, and there are different types of whiteness [references page 52]. However there can still be an overall collectivity and general interest despite these differences, especially if we take Crenshaw in arguing race is not itself a singular social phenomenon, and investigate it as 'a practical social theory'. [Two arguments here -- close to Gillborn on 'primacy' as empirical and a matter of commitment?]Then, taking whiteness as a social connectivity helps us see that:

Historical examples like Jim Crow or post-war Britain, or white Australia to restrict immigration become clear. Whites can be mobilised in particular political conjunctures as in early suffragette movements or 'political campaigns like Powellite Thatcherism and Reaganism in the 1980s, or, more recently, in the Trump and Brexit elections of 2016' (53). We are talking here about an explanatory claim and practical social theorising, and 'empirical research shows that the concept is a convincing way of thinking about social reality… A hypothesis that needs to be constantly put to the trial of research'.

So racialised social systems are contradictory. There is contestation between racialised groups, an ongoing struggle, and racialised groups have differing interests. Whites are at the top so their shared interests 'tend to be able to outmanoeuvre any contestations', resulting in stability, 'racial realism' (54).

[I am still unconvinced about how White interests materialise — seemingly only from political campaigning, the rhetoric of Powell or Trump. Is there a real material interest in opposing immigration from black or brown people or not? If there are real material interests behind the movements of white people to oppose immigration, are there real material interests behind black resistance to compete for white jobs? The whole discussion suggests having positive material interest via Bourdieu, and may be Hall, then has to resort to ideological interests only].

Chapter 2 Racial ideologies and racialised emotions: seeing, thinking and feeling race
We need to link with the micro-workings of everyday life through racial ideologies and emotions. In this ways CRT will bridge agency and social structure. We might start with Marxist ideology as false consciousness, deception and class propaganda (through Hall) and the stuff in the German Ideology. However, we need to focus on perception rather than deception, via Bonnila-Silva [2017], the way in which race is explained and justified or challenged. We are focusing here on '"components that include frames, narratives, symbols, stereotypes, discursive styles, and a particular vocabulary [citing Doane])57).  A constellation framework, 'a precursor rather than a barricade to knowledge. We can follow Hall to avoid notions of distortion and accept that ideologies have '"something true about them"' — quoting the Great Moving Right Show, 2017], and help actors understand their social world. [Denied below re Trump and Brexit though Herer (p.55) Hall is used to rebuke the separation of the working class into those who have achieved 'seen "true "reality' consciousness and mere '"dupes" who live in a bliss of ignorance' -- but that is what Meghji does below] .Thatcherism is the example, where white people believe the immigrants were taking their jobs 'not because it was true' (58) but because rising unemployment and insecurity made this argument appealing [but it was partly true] so Hall talks about mental frameworks languages categories imagery is which makes sense of and renders intelligible the way society works, and also refers to articulation as shaping social practices — this time quoting Hall 1996 in Morley and Chen: Stuart Hall critical dialogues and cultural studies].

It follows that racial ideologies are not just myths which can be counted with logical reason but they are related to racial structures themselves. However racial structures need ideologies. Let's turn to Bonilla-Silva on colourblind ideology. — The belief that we've gone beyond racial divisions. This is popular. It helps some groups interpret evidence of racial inequality, by recasting Black students as unacademic, for example, or housing segregation as people gathering together because they like each other, or blacks being more predisposed to criminality. Such ideologies can also be flexible. For example in France there is formal equality, but a study found that this did not stop stigmatisation of racial groups through apparently nonracial language — referring to Arab-descent groups as 'urban' for example. Bonnila-Silva also looks at the way in which pieces of evidence everyday experience are incorporated to construct '"storylines" of colourblind ideology' (60. These are '"fable -like… Impersonal generic arguments with little narrative content… Storytellers and their audiences share a representational world that makes these stories seem factual… Strengthening their collective understanding"' [just like counter stories]. One common story points to those ethnic minorities who have experienced upward mobility confirming that those who have not have only themselves to blame [sometimes combined with some stuff about other minority groups manage it. ]

Bonnila-Silva also implies emotional elements like resentment and anger and unfairness and these are key mechanisms to reproduce ideologies at the micro level. They are socially engendered and produce '"an emotional subjectivity"' fitting people to their locations. They can be negative or positive, ranging from fear and hatred, to positive emotions of joy and pride. They help generate group subjectivities as well [with aquote from Randall Collins of all people] — this covers the formation of antiracist groups and the development of racial consciousness as well as white people developing whiteness and articulating themselves as a social group: one example is the development of a white consciousness movement in Australia (63). Emotions can produce 'an epistemic skeleton for racial ideologies' as in Williams's notion of a structure of feeling — we feel things before we think them and thinking can emerge from feeling as a key component of rationality. Islamophobia in France is the example here, and there are other cases in New Zealand. Dubois refers to emotional responses to violent racism in the USA, affecting the racially subdominant as well. These emotions are not ranked equally — so the 'trope of the angry black woman' in the USA has been used to deny domestic abuse cases. Overall 'there is a hierarchy of emotional rationality which helps naturalise the racial order'. In the UK, Thatcher mentioned swamping which justified rising white violence, and Trump mentioned support for good people of both sides in a racial riot.

Bolsanaro, Trump and Brexit are further examples [oh dear]. These are simply continuations with racial ideologies and emotions of the past. Trump and Brexit both deployed 'colourblind ideology', and drew upon ideologies that whites were becoming victims of racial injustice — we had moved beyond racism and so any perceived preferential treatment given to racialized minorities was antiwhite. Trump's campaign was anticipated by a book showing how White people were experiencing growing levels of deprivation and blaming low standards on queue-jumping black Americans and immigrants, while suffering being stigmatised as rednecks. Trump drew more symbolic boundaries promising to protect blue collar white people from invasion, even building a wall.

British discourses to leave the EU were based on arguing that open borders had privileged racialised outsiders, migrants [drawing upon Virdee and McGeever 2018 Racism, Crisis, Brexit. Ethnic and Racial Studies 41 (10): 1802 – 19] Farage's speech argued that open migration had suppressed wages, and Boris Johnson said that open borders had marginalised British workers [he might have been right]. Brexit would redistribute value back to victimised white families and this was strengthened after the Referendum by claims to rebuild Britain 'this valued residents of the (almost exclusively white) towns that voted in high numbers to leave the EU' (67). May 'simply bolstered the already ascendant post racial ideology that "ordinary" white folks were the new Black' (68, a whole 'legitimacy of post racialism and emotions of victimhood'.

The media apparently reinforced these narratives, and there were claims that Brexit voters were not racist [some work quoted on page 68 — press reports]. Trump's electoral success is similarly justified by support from the white working class, the alienated, and similar themes. Brazil is post racist because of a substantial mixture between the different racialised groups, which ignores 'the racially subdominant struggle to comprehend their marginality through the lens of racism' (69) — Bolsanaro's initiative to integrate indigenous people and Afro Brazilians seemed based on the assumption that indigenous people were not Brazilian in the first place.

It is 'too predictable to say that the racialised social system approach adopts a circular argument, whereby individuals shape structures and structures also shape individuals' (70). Instead, critical analysis of both levels is needed. Emotions are a kind of social glue and the skeletons for racial ideology [that seems to include racist ideologies like colourblindness here because Trump and Bolsanaro are both credited with connecting with 'whites' feelings of devaluation and nonrecognition', although ideologies also help them to 'rationalise their position'. Overall, Meghji prefers the view that 'ideas and emotions have material effects', so the macro micro problem is not really a problem — structural racism has micro-components, and there is an interplay between the levels which he will pursue in the next chapter [only because it is an overall coordinating belief system]

Chapter 3 Theorising the racialised interaction order

We start with Goffman and the homology between macro social organisation and everyday interactions because interactions are situated in wider social relations and hierarchies, the result of enabling conventions, ground rules, 'the distribution of interactional rights and risks'(73), and interaction order. This leads to different interactional rights and issues of transgression as with the Rosa Parks case, because interactions are also policed. An earlier black president of the ASA (Frazier) also raised these issues in connection with the concept of '"race contact"' (75), relating to the issue of assimilation of black Americans. He pointed to continuing segregation even post bellum, driven by commercial and financial interests, and levels of white violence directed at black bourgeoisie who were attempting to desegregate. More informally, black kids were often taught to get along with whites by using techniques like lying and clowning and other kinds of deception. It follows that the dominant racial group will 'construct the distribution of interactional rights and risks' (76) and this enables a crucial additional link to be added to CRT.

We can distinguish interaction orders that limit interactions and those that more widely make race through controlling images. Limiting interactions are common, and are found in colonial regimes, for example banning public gatherings of black people, or the British 'imposition of a caste system in India' (77), referring to Patel (202!) (77]  [he insists that the British imposed it, related specifically to race and blood purity and that it only 'supposedly retained a basis in religion']. It also imposed a caste system elsewhere. Then there was Jim Crow and apartheid [but what preceded it — see Hall 1980]. Jim Crow had an echo in subsequent legislation which followed the principle of separate but equal, which often took the form of black codes, extra requirements put upon black people such as proof of employment, particular prohibitions like possessing a firearm, to be contrasted with special liberties for white people, such as the legality of lynching in certain circumstances (80).

[Dubois does a lot of work here] these and other sanctions defined a black person, showing 'the making of race' (81), how race has meaning by virtue of these social practices, the racialised interaction orders engender and reproduce race. Fanon shows this to in his Black Skin, White Masks when he describes an interaction when a kid points him out as a Negro. Similarly the British Empire not only declared indigenous Americans as savages but enacted this through attempting to civilise them. Germans defined Jews as a threat to the state and then legitimised this [what a polite way to put it.]

[Then a massive slip!!] 'Following this line of thinking', we get some micro-aggressions, every day racism, 'everyday acts of racial "othering"'. These are not necessarily acts perpetrated by individuals but the product of '"racialised mechanisms" within institutions that help reafirm white supremacy' (83) the example of an everyday conversation is one. This shows how we bridge macro and micro inequalities. Bonilla Silva also shows this link and talks about racial actions more broadly. They may not be deliberate acts of bigotry but rather more routine behaviours, but they all have structural implications for the making of race, as serious as buying houses or selecting schools.

[There is a similar argument about every day racism by Essed (1991) Understanding Every day Racism: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Sage]. Bonilla Silva [2021] refers to racial actions as deliberate acts of bigotry, but also routine behaviours such as buying houses or selecting schools, and argues that these make whiteness itself.

We can illustrate the impact of controlling images by recalling an episode where a black Harvard professor was arrested entering his own home after being suspected of being a burglar. Here, an image had deployed an ideological collective representation of race, race had been 'interpellated' (84). PH Collins also has referred to stereotypes especially of black women, the controlling image of the black mammy used to justify cuts to social services, and the '"emotional gymnastics"' that POC have to perform to avoid being labelled — not exercising in public in order to avoid being stereotyped as a burglar or criminal, not shopping with hands in their pockets, not behaving ambiguously with a white spouse (85), 'The phenomenological awareness that you can, at any moment, be interpellated into a racial schema' where a single interaction makes race stick to you, what Anderson calls '"N***** moments"'.

For Bonilla Silva, this is a collective process involving everybody and we can understand whiteness itself through the notion of 'white habitus', something that conditions and creates whites racial tastes perceptions feelings and emotions, as well as their views. This also emerges from interactions with other whites and non-interactions with other POC. In 2021 it's argued that this can be created by segregated interactional spaces that are not necessarily intentionally racist, various '"white spaces" like neighbourhoods, schools, social clubs, high cultural institutions, art galleries or concert halls and elite educational institutions. In Brazil there are gated housing communities and social clubs. This helps white people misrepresent whiteness as something '"unraced and universal"' (87) [his major new point], a racial solidarity and a strong white identity, this white habitus reinforces whiteness and legitimated segregation as not racist, merely living with people like yourself, segregation seems proper and legitimate. It has been the basis for '"white talk"' in South Africa — apartheid was a matter of relative safety and calm, while post apartheid society features antiwhite racism. The key element here is that the 'creation of interactional spaces gives rise to ideas', group thinking. We need to study interactions in the racialised social system, to see how racial structures get reproduced.

Chapter 4 Meso racial structures and racialised organisations

The middle level or  meso is crucial as an autonomous organisational space worthy of analysis in its own right [referring to some 'school of analytical sociologists' — note 1 page 140]. Apparently explanatories are revealed there, once one opens the black boxes, actual linkages, to fill out vague causal models. It is not enough to show how ideology links with social structures — we need to see how it actually directs human action. Again the example is mostly colourblind racism].

We need to study racialised organisations which shape both policies upward and individual prejudices downward. They are structures themselves, 'schemas connected to resources' (93) that is '"generalisable procedures"' which reproduce social life, '"fundamental tools of thought"'. They include things like rules of etiquette, categories, metaphors [sounds very much like Bourdieu]. They are generalisable and can fit many situations. Jim Crow is an example, a schema of segregation which can be generalised, legitimated by legal institutions and also shaping individual prejudice.

Examples include actual industries [which made me think of the old stuff on class images of society and the connection with workplaces, as in Bulmer. Indeed, this is one of several sets of transmission mechanisms as I have called them, or what conventional sociology would calls socialisation mechanisms. Meghji chooses work and as we shall see sport, but not the other obvious examples — family, school, media]. In the US healthcare industry there were different levels of the organisational hierarchy related to micro-perceptions of racial discrimination — doctors explained racial discrimination along the lines of access to medical school and school rankings, technicians referred to interpersonal interactions, prejudiced supervisors, nurses understood discrimination as a combination of both, and organisational mechanisms were probably responsible, since doctors' authority limited the amount of interpersonal prejudice that they actually faced, while technicians closer to the bottom did not see decisions involved in the hiring and setting of norms. Another example concerns the Brazilian sugarcane industry, where mills in Brazil feature white owners of land overseeing black labourers and the economic logic still reflects slavery as do the organisational norms, with command structures reflecting racialised habits which make them appear natural and logical in terms of organisations and the way they manage risk in particular. Again this is masked by 'so-called colourblind racism' [it just looks technical and organisationally logical, and apparently white male directors argue that manual labour is good for black workers because it provides employment for them]. There is a clear connection to racial ideology at the macro level.

CRT ought to do more of this meso analysis, to flesh out what it has already argued with colonisation. Organisational hierarchies are a more specific example of it, how agency is expressed or constrained in contemporary societies.

We can see this also in sport and soccer. Commentary used to be quite clearly racist referring to black players in terms of their physical characteristics [citing a study as late as 2020 referring to the FIFA World Cup of 2018, charting amounts of praise of white players learned abilities compared with black players physicality (98)]. There are similarities in American football [2021 study here]. This commentary is 'reminiscent' (99) of stereotypes found in slavery about black people and manual labour, or Darwin's view about the lesser mental abilities of black people. Again they show that organisations also produce racialization with macro and micro implications. There is a link with education and the idea that black pupils are pushed into sport [a reference here to Rollock  and strategies for surviving racism 2021 Peabody Journal of Education 96 (2)]. There is also a reference to racial abuse from spectators in the stadium and on social media.

There is work on mundane workplaces and their constraints on work you are allowed to do, how you should dress, 'perform certain emotions, speak in particular ways' (101). [sounds like Meghan Markle] Black professionals for example are still sectioned into particular jobs, often segregated in the US to deal with other black people, often appearing in social services, often doing emotion work or emotional gymnastics, as in studies of elite law schools and pilot training, where they had to 'avoid being seen as "too emotional"', not react to micro-aggressions. There are specific 'racial tasks', backed by expectations on how black people should work — lead diversity training for example, try to avoid stereotyping, not be overtly sexual, especially with the way they wear their hair, not raise their voices, occupy space in particular ways, be 'especially amicable' (103).

This links to movements up and down hierarchies. There is occupational segregation shown by statistical data (104) in both the USA and UK where very senior positions are mostly white. There is also unequal distribution of symbolic capital, with references to Bourdieu, 'esteem, recognition, value and influence' (105), which might reflect the ability to 'diffuse one's ideas across the total field'. We see this in the cultural industries, where POC are often pigeonholed, managed by a white elite. This is obvious with the distribution of Oscars and Golden Globes where it has led to considerable protest, or the pigeonholing of POC in particular segregated markets, including book markets and television programmes — as apparently has been rationalised by deliberate attempts to predict markets before commissioning pieces of work by assuming that writers of colour are writing similar things, a kind of race monitoring involving essential identities. There have been similar criticisms of art in Britain (107) involving black only exhibitions being seen as quarantined and pigeonholed. Back to Bonilla Silva and racial grammar and the way they racialise, attributing race, or just normality, usually whiteness. Critics often racialise, describing diverse works as black, or picking out particular imagery as typical and thus rationalising it. There is further work on whether films and TV stereotype racial minorities like Muslims — one study found that most stereotyped Muslims (110). There is a link back to Said.

Conclusion: What is critical about CRT

It is common to try to find exceptions which will fortify the whole argument, or at least to extend the arguments to new examples. For example the first wave of CRT theorists were asked what about education, and early Bonilla Silva was criticised for being too structural and avoiding the issue of agency, and this is how interest in the meso level rose too.

No theories are universally complete, but they can still be useful, as Marxism shows, and CRT similarly has limitations but it can still be creatively used for further thinking. What about global racial reality, for example early problems arose with defining racialised social systems in terms of societies, whether this meant states, or just Western nationstates, losing sight of global interlinkages, globalised trade systems and codependencies, even borrowings of racist ideas, as the Nazis did from British colonial tactics. There's been a tendency for racialised social systems approaches to offer comparative rather than relational approaches, to focus on white countries, even with Bonilla Silva [2007 this time], stressing differences between white countries rather than seeing them as articulations 'of the same world system of white supremacy' as did say, Dubois (115). We may need to sketch out global critical race theory as a result, and maybe find another level in which the mechanisms and social systems are embedded in global systems, although this also runs the risk of avoiding historical specifics and starting points [and would seriously contradict Hall 1980].

You would have to operate at the global and the local level. India had 'its own clearly articulated racial hierarchy based on the principle of Hindu nationalism' (117) [quite a different emphasis on what he had before then?] and a racial hierarchy 'by virtue of the continuities of colonial power relations on the international scale'. We could use the focus on organisations developed at the meso level to study global organisations such as the United Nations or the World Bank or IMF, if we wanted to. This shows the flexibility of the system approach, which follows when you think with CRT tenets adapting and refining them — 'PlethoraCrit' (118), following the spread to study various racially minorities groups [described 118F.] These are quite interesting, for example TribalCrit reworks central tenets of CRT, replacing the premise that racism is endemic with the notion that colonisation is endemic. Brit correct apparently developed a notion of '"WhiteWorld"' the '"socially constructed and constantly reinforced power of White identifications, norms and interests"' — the reference is to Rollock, Gillborn Vincent et al. (2015)  The Colour of Class — the book that is, which again apparently argues that white supremacy is not marginal or extremist but integral to the social and political formation, a diffuse system not a 'reactionary political disposition'(120)]

CRT is not the same as general race theory, however. He has developed it through the racialised social systems approach, working through the three levels, drawing upon the whole conceptual repertoire. It is not the same as state centred approaches only, nor systemic racism theory focusing just on elite whites. His approach follows from Patricia Hill Collins (2019) where she talks about critical knowledge projects, beginning with resistance of oppressed peoples, 'epistemic arms in the struggle for social justice' (122), simultaneously critiquing dominant social structures and dominant epistemologies and frameworks 'even within the Academy', where is often found the strongest critics. CRT is happy to retain its outsider status as a result on the periphery of academia, and is glad to preserve the links between academia and the outside world, leading it to challenge the conventional notion of epistemology. This explains the hostility to it.

We need CRT particularly now with the rise of Donald Trump and the pushback seeking to ban CRT. It has never been defined particularly well. It is more reactionary moves against critical thinking and has been generalised. It is more an expression of 'white rage' (124). As such, it fits analysis of racialised emotions and how they are linked to analyses of colour blindness and the fear of possibilities presented by critical knowledge. We need a broader understanding of racism than the usual legal one. To take  a current example air pollution is usually seen as having no agency which makes it difficult to challenge, but it is unequally distributed in racial terms, and is an example of racialised inequality. CRT helps us think about these matters and see them as not coincidental.

There is currently an 'era of "white reconstruction"' (127), partly as a reaction to BLM, including the adoption by white liberals of a reading program about racism and antiracism. DiAngelo on white fragility was popular, but this still maintains a view of racism as prejudice which can be educated away. DiAngelo herself has made a career out of running workshops on white fragility. She sees white people as getting too fragile or sensitive and thus becoming racist, whereas Meghji sees this 'as a symptom rather than a cause of racism' (127 the result of decades of colourblind ideology.

Colourblind ideology is the problem and has even affected Martin Luther King and others who see antiracism as making sure everyone gets along together, increasing representation, which is often a way of concealing inequalities, soothing people with black presidents or black police chiefs, ethnically diverse cabinets in the UK — 'the "racism is prejudice" approach in disguise' (128).

There is even a debate about which racism ought to take priority, for example whether anti-Semitism somehow trumps Islamophobia in the UK. Meghji's racialised social system approach shows that 'all these forms of racism are inherently connected' (129), and separating out different racisms is both conceptually and historically flawed. There is one racialised social system producing necessary relations between the positions, exploitation and supremacy, even though ideologies are articulated differently in different parts. We should analyse 'interconnections rather than bifurcations' (130). We do this because we want to dismantle racism and thus we need to know what racism is, a social system how it reproduces itself and what its effects are different levels. CRT seeks 'a world without race' where there is no racial exploitation and superiority, but people will benefit from the racial order 'unfortunately for humankind' [so it some universal human tendency?] (131).