Notes on: Omi M and Winant, H. (2024) Racial Formation in the United States. Third edition. London: Routledge

Dave Harris

[Notes on the central chapters of this famous text. US emphasis is crucial]

Chapter 4 the theory of racial formation

There are confusions contradictions and unintended consequences in defining racial groups, historical shifts including shifts in knowledge and politics. It is a process of othering which extends to other identities and this is 'a universal phenomenon' (105). It also amalgamates and homogenise the classifiers. The categories themselves, vary considerably and are subject to multiple interpretations, for example even age. There may be perspectives from above and below, imposed in both directions.

Race is a social construction, but is also 'a master category' (106) with profound effects. It is not transcendent as the work on intersectionality has shown, but it has a unique role in the development of the USA and on subsequent effects of the USA. However they want to develop it 'only in the context of the United States' [really important insight]. The category developed from the treatment of indigenous peoples and the development of slavery and extended to other subordinated groups. The master category helps understand class, and 'the reproduction of class inequalities is inextricably linked to the maintenance of White supremacy' (107) and has shaped the very concepts of  work, employment, master, supervisor, subordinate. It has organised rights and privileges and has 'permeated all forms of social relations' including processes of marginalisation and processes of othering. It's even affected gender relations although there were different experiences of subordination in different classes, and to some extent othering of both categories developed, 'coincided in important ways' (108). This in turn led to intersectional alliances and some tensions between the different waves of feminism and Black freedom movements. Race is also 'a template for resistance', inspiring many new social movements, asserting stigmatised identities, making political demands.

We can see that there has been a 'process of race making… racial formation… The socio-historical process by which racial identities are created, lived out, transformed and destroyed' (109). This process can be traced through a corporeal stage, then the notion of 'racial projects' where racial meanings are translated into social structures, then the development of 'racism' as such, and finally the development of 'racial policies' which can take the form of 'racial despotism, racial democracy, and racial hegemony'. The latter takes the form of colourblindness although it is 'extremely contradictory and shallow' with 'widespread resistance' preventing political stability.

Race is an ideological construct not a biological one, sometimes seen as 'a metonym or epiphenomenon of culture' as in ethnicity, sometimes as an ideological construct, sometimes as a sign of primitive development — hence the three 'paradigms of ethnicity, class and nation'. Some people have seen it as objective, as in the classifications of physical anthropology. Mixed race is one such category which implies a hybrid identity which further implies the notion of species. At the other end, race is sometimes seen as a mere illusion, false consciousness as in orthodox Marxism, or, currently, in colourblind ideology. They see it as real 'as a social category with definite social consequences', and take the family as an analogy — there may be biological and socially constructed forms and variations [rather risky analogy I would have thought]. This is in recognition of Thomas's dictum [also risky]. However they want to abandon the binary essence versus illusion and define race as 'a concept that signifies and symbolises social conflicts of interests by referring to different types of human bodies' (110). Any biological differences have been selected socially and historically and can never be precise, and are often arbitrary or strategic. However, emphasising bodies gives race a non-reducible real dimension [equally debatable]. Whatever, we are talking about '"making up people"' (111), selecting and symbolising differences.

Racialization involves extending racial meanings to social relationships and practice in this can go on in large and small scale ways. They flirt with 'interpellation'. They talk about raw materials provided by other discourses. They talk about concepts becoming accepted as social reality meaning that 'racial difference is not dependent on visual observation alone'. They insist it cannot be dispensed with as illusory, partly because it is 'widely held… Central to everyone's identity and understanding' (112). It is also illusory to see race as a problem, something no longer relevant: we have to recognise that it still plays a fundamental role, and is an [active] element of social structure [not confined to slavery or Jim Crow]. Nevertheless, they want to offer a historical trajectory:

Racial differences have been identified in the Bible, but the modern conception of race only occurs with 'the rise of Europe and the arrival of Europeans in the Americas' (113) [could be tautological]. Even [earlier] religious othering 'cannot be understood as more than a rehearsal for racial formation, since these antagonisms… were always, and everywhere religiously interpreted' [this must be debatable surely — barbarians were simply people who had different religions?]. Merchant capitalism grasped enormous opportunities to steal wealth including land and labour and they also discovered people who looked and acted differently which challenged their notions of the human species. Categorising them became a critical matter and raised questions about whether they could be included as humans [related to whether they could be enslaved — NB the Catholic Church's decision that the Inca could not be enslaved]. Material and ideological interests 'soon coalesced' [bit of a weasel], seen in the theological and philosophical debates which 'ran right over' religious ethicists: 'nothing after all would induce the Europeans [capitalists] to pack up and go home' (114). Conquest of America consolidated earlier ideas and was the first racial formation project. Europe became the centre of a series of empires.

Whatever the philosophical debate, there was a practical project already to racialise people — 'as a practical matter, something relatively devoid of theology or philosophy, the exercise of power required these distinctions' [no need for all these clever criticisms of Kant], actual bodies to be managed, sometimes violently, a 'phenomic categorical imperative'. Eventually this would be reconciled with theological work. Scientific and political camps would also be offered. These elements are still present.

Scientific notions gradually emerged, Enlightenment philosophers such as 'Hegel, Kant, Voltaire and Locke were issuing virulently racist opinions' (115) [citing Count, ed 1950.  Eze ed 1997, Bernasconi and Lott eds 2000]. Violent subjugation had been replaced by the need to build nations and establish national economies, replace arbitrary monarchs and assert the natural rights of man. Racial hierarchy had a natural basis in the enlightened age. Linnaeus was important. Voltaire saw Negroes as a different breed, Jefferson saw them as an inferior group, at least originally a different race. This legitimises 'rapacious treatment'. And echoes of the argument are still around, that see slaves as children, for example or criminological approaches. de Gobineau wrote about the inequalities of race and that had an influence for the next hundred years — superior races produce superior cultures, racial intermixtures degraded the stock, and this led to eugenics 'launched by Darwin's cousin Francis Galton' [deniable] and that had an impact on scientific thought, especially in the USA.

Some Black scholars had emerged to question biological racism, but the greatest challenges came after World War II and the discrediting of eugenics in Nazi Germany. Research on race became research on '"population groups"' still with a genetic component. For example genetic susceptibility to diseases are still studied and work on individual genomes aims at practical targeting for specific groups, 'not surprisingly, race is the descriptor employed to select such people (Lee 2005)'. The same goes with designer drugs and experimentation on particular racial groups [discussed 118], psychology, where there is still 'the cognitive presence of race, the immediacy of race that is seemingly rooted in perception rather than reasoning', a notion of essence. some people have even suggested that 'people harbor "implicit biases" and possess "racial schemas" that strongly influence perceptions and behaviors' [like Black epistemes?]Notions of race...also permeate our unconscious minds' ( 119).

O and W want to argue that these schemas are also socially constructed, that they are 'cultural formations' and thus open to challenge, although they may be 'understood as essences'. There is a left-wing approach that tries to see racial distinctiveness as objective and scientific, but there is a dangerous tendency to share the same logic with openly racist frameworks and the long tendency to explain differences as natural ones. Therefore they want to express 'clear disagreement… We insist that the "racial schemas" that structure media perceptions are also cultural formations; they may be deeply embedded as a result of centuries of reiteration… Yet they remain socially, not biologically given'.

Current conflicts and controversies are principally political ones, exceeding even the sociopolitical explanations found in early modern sociology [even in the Chicago school]. The political struggles of POC themselves have been a major feature, however. This everyday confrontation is 'a good example of the way race operates across micro-– macro linkages' (121), seen, for example in the controversies over state attempts to impose racial classifications, to prevent miscegenation, for example [not apparently abolished until 1967]. There's even been a struggle on whether it is acceptable to collect racial data, or what categories are used in the US census: early ones identified taxpaying White males as the only relevant citizens and this persisted until new laws in the 1970s required racial categories in order to inform policies of redress. Standard categories that emerged — 'American Indian or Alaskan native, Asian and Pacific Island, Black, White, and Hispanic' (122). Controversy immediately followed: there is a mixture of categories between race and culture. Hispanics in particular can be of any race. American Indians must also show, uniquely, that they have maintained affiliations or community recognitions. Nevertheless these categories were widely adopted and did shape group identity and new political organisations. They had impact such as how electoral districts were defined.

A particular form of instability is the gap between state definitions and 'individual/group forms of self identification' (123), especially with Hispanics. Arab Americans are currently classified as White but want a distinctive category, Taiwanese Americans want to be separate from Chinese. Some groups want to preserve the system other groups want to change it. One assumption has been that 'each individual possessed a clear, singular and monoracial identity', although earlier censuses talked about mixed-race categories like '"mulatto, quadroon and octoroon"', a legacy of the one drop rule. Some individuals circled more than one race, but were promptly reclassified at the coding end. Those ticking the Other box were assigned different races. Eventually, citizens were allowed to pick one or more boxes. Particular lobby groups concerned for accurate counts oppose multi-racial categories because they might lose their protected status, although, 'according to various estimates, from 75 to 90% of those who checked the "Black" box could potentially check a multiracial one if it were an option' (124). Civil rights groups are also against ambiguity because civil rights laws and programs 'were based on exclusive membership' and multiracial ability would make it difficult to assess progress.

So race is where social structure and cultural representations 'meet' and can not be understood in terms of either dimension. It can never be a concept or representation alone. Races are always located within sets of groups marked by boundaries, state activities, life chances and inequalities. Racial formation processes arise from 'a linkage between structure and signification'. Racial projects do this work to make links and articulate connections — 'simultaneously in interpretation, representation or explanation racial identities and meanings, and an effort to organise and distribute resources (economic, political, cultural [!]) along particular racial lines' (125). Racial projects work both to embed groups in social structures and shape racial meanings. They occur at different scales. Dominant and subordinate groups and individuals, institutions and persons carry the map, and they are regulated by laws. Individual practices can be seen as racial projects like cop enforcements on Black people, students who join protests, people who wear dreadlocks. Each one can be understood as 'both reflection of response to the broader patterning of race in the overall social system', and each can be evaluated in terms of how it reproduces or subverts the system.

Racial projects can jump between domains, between local and national levels for example even global levels, and they can travel between different nationstates, via migrants, for example. They can 'compete and overlap' (126) and have different levels of maintenance and challenge — colourblindness is an example.. They suffuse our society and our common sense, and this is what makes race a master category. 'Racial formation, therefore is a synthesis, constantly reiterated outcome of the interaction of racial projects' (127). It is impossible to describe race just as the result of a discourse. It takes the form of patterns. Sometimes one racial project 'can be hegemonic… White supremacy is the obvious example of this'.

At the everyday level we 'utilise race to provide clues about a person'and experience ambiguity if we cannot racially categorise somebody. All this depends on preconceived notions [and produce what can be seen as micro-aggressions]. We expect conformity. Stereotypes reveal this 'active link between views of the social structure… And our conception of what race means' (126). We also expect racial characteristics to explain social differences, including temperament, sexuality, aesthetic performance, athletic ability, taste.

Racism is a term apparently invented by Hirschfield in 1938, part of his refutation of Nazi racial doctrines. Since then, it has become debatable, maybe too inflated to be precise. Sometimes it is defined very narrowly, as hate, for example or racial violence, sometimes as 'abnormal, unusual and irrational deeds that we popularly consider offensive' (128). This loses the background of 'ideologies, policies, and practices'. They link their definition to a racial project, one that 'creates reproduces structures of domination based on racial significations and identities'. We have to remember that racist projects operate in the matrix at different scales, different levels of formality, they often converge on overlap or conflict [which more or less talks us out of ever pinning one down?]. There is resistance to racism also generated by the phenomenon of race which becomes 'a fully fledged "social fact" like sex/gender or class — the latter shapes racism and vice versa.

There have been  antiracist projects, involving millions of people, but racism itself has changed from 'explicit discourses and White supremacist actions' to 'more deniable and often unconscious forms', and legal remedies have not caught up. In particular 'the denial of invidious intent is clearly insufficient to undo it', because racism can still go on in the sense of 'the production and maintenance of social structures of domination' little affected. Racism no longer can be attached to its perpetrators and may have no perpetrator — 'it is a nearly invisible, taken for granted, commonsense feature of everyday life and social structure' (129). This [misunderstanding] has led to blocking of race consciousness, affirmative action and the proclamation of colour blindness. [Major shift here though,especially away from Thomas etc]

Some have argued in response that POC cannot be racist because they do not have power, but power 'cannot be reified as a thing', but is rather 'a relational field' (130). Of course POC have achieved some power, although there is still racial hierarchy. There are even exceptions to that, however in local situations. Sometimes there are even 'conflicts between Blacks and Latin@s over things like educational programs, and 'some groups of colour are promoting racial projects that subordinate other groups of colour'. However, 'Whiteness still rules, okay?'.

The USA used to be a racial despotism and in some way still is. The Civil War was followed by legal segregation, and there are still obstacles to effective political participation. American identity has been defined as White, otherness is racialised, negations appearing in law and custom, racial projects appearing as a master project. There were phenomena such as the colour line, policing of racial boundaries, an effort to make these internalised. There was also consolidated opposition, from slave revolts to other forms of resistance, including creating a solidary Black opposition among groups divided by tribal and other loyalties – 'a "pan- ethnicising" process' (131), a type of racialization itself. Linguistic differences remain, however and it still shows the effects of racial despotism.

There is a slow transition to racial democracy which is far from complete. The transition is best described as a move 'from domination to hegemony' (132). Hegemony was there right from the start, however in the attempt even by the emancipators to use the master's tools, religion and philosophy to argue their case. 'Enslaved Africans and their descendants incorporated elements of racial rule into their thoughts and practice, turning them against their original bearers' [so is this hegemony or counter hegemony?]

Hegemonic rule is based on consent rather than coercion, 'but only to some extent' there are still 'competing racial projects'. The new and still unstable form of racial hegemony is 'colourblindness'.

Chapter 8. Colourblindness, Neoliberalism, and Obama

Racial movements suffered a certain decline in the 1970s because they lacked political support especially from White allies, despite achieving partial reforms, and because 'a "racial reaction" set in' (211), with neoliberalism. This was 'very much a racial regime', opposing Black movements and new social movements [NSM]s and their possible alliances with 'anti-statism and authoritarian populism', and a coalition between big capital and a mass electoral base. There was mass White support based on a 'politics of resentment'. That drew on the old distinction between deserving and undeserving members of US society.

There are several phases including 'a "code words" phase and a "reverse racism" phase, before finally landing on colourblindness' (212). There were internal tensions between centre-right and centre-left, and colourblind racial ideology became most central. Critical race consciousness remained, however, but there was an attempt to re-articulate it [all very Hall and Jacques 0n Thatcherism, authoritarian populism etc -- see my book Harris 1992, and this  see this article ]. There was already a good fit with market relationships and privatisation, but a problem with covert racism. However, all regimes 'also needed race to rule'.

Obama's election seems to repudiate neoliberalism and restore 'the inclusive ideals of the Civil Rights and Great Society era' and it was a progressive alternative, but it still maintained neoliberalism. New alignments and cleavages have emerged after the Recession of 2008.

Neoliberalism stresses possessive individualism and the free market and opposed the 'generally democratising legacies of the new deal, World War II and the Great Society' (213) popular support could be countered only by tapping into White supremacy at the level of 'the country's political unconscious'. The specific conflict was seen to be capital and the NSMs of the 1960s, including Civil Rights. Free enterprise was seen as under attack and corporate political activism recommended [in an actual memo] and this led to an 'activist, corporate-led network think tanks, campus media activities, and lobbying'. It was well funded. Named enemies included Eldridge Cleaver and Herbert Marcuse! The new right split from the consensus, especially any deals with big labour. The recession deepened the trends.

Reagan further developed the politics of resentment, originally founded in the south by Wallace and Nixon, which had led to the withdrawal of the state from social provision. Reagan added extra ideological elements in the form of 'market worship' and '"devolution"' of social policy to the private sector (215), individual responsibility rather than social safety. Particular elements were tax revolt and producerism. The first was enacted in California first limiting the state's ability to tax and was 'racially driven from the start', favouring residents of wealthier school districts opposing distribution of funds to public schools across the state, and expanded the social expenditures of other types. It soon spread as a national movement and drew upon White popular resentment of poor people — that is Black people — so it was soon connected to 'the new "political Whiteness"'. Producerism is central to right-wing populism and originates with Jefferson. It is hostile to non-productive classes, both rentiers and the undeserving poor [cf 'scientific socialism' in Fabianism in the UK] . There is an obvious overlap with Black people with the latter even though the rentiers have largely disappeared. Producerism apparently always bolstered White supremacy and blurred class divisions. The racism involved was coded, and producers were also pitted against non-producers who were often the '"liberal verbalist elite"' found in the media, education and the welfare state.

There was a definite despotic tendency, for example found in the 'Chilean "experiment"' [radical intervention in the internal politics of Chile] and similar interventions in the USA itself focusing on 'racial subjects and movement activists'(216), using surveillance and disciplinary technologies, much of it traceable to the early techniques for 'controlling Blacks'. These included 'a massive increase in incarceration' involving Black and brown men, which also afforded 'opportunities for profit making and privatisation', raised citizens fears and tapped into racism. Convicts were also banned from electoral rolls and further disadvantaged in work terms — they were depoliticised and supervised. State agencies pursued 'infiltration disruptions surveillance' of other NSMs, profiling and other repressive techniques.

These movements were 'driven by racist rage and full throated rejectionism', especially driven by the South and the 'Dixiecrat' wing of the Democrat party. This group had already undertaken 'the "massive resistance" strategy' of 'local obstructionism that sometimes approached insurrection' directed at Black people. The Black movement had formed 'a practical alliance' with other NSMs including the anti-war movement which made this massive resistance a rather late and ineffective stage, and more sophisticated strategies were required — legal ones to oppose school desegregation for example. Allies were also required outside of the South, a more national new right, appealing to deep-seated racism elsewhere 'without explicitly advocating racial "backlash"' (218). Extremists had to be marginalised. Codeword strategies were employed instead, with less explicit words referring to the traditional stereotypes — '"get tough on crime" and "welfare handouts"', even cutting taxes.

These were effective but still more strategies were involved including 'the ideologically grounded "reverse racism" allegation' — racially inclusive policies were unfair to Whites who were merely trying to take advantage of the opportunities. Those benefiting, POC, were undeserving and the rest, and this could be implied. This did work even though it was 'in any case a complete red herring… Traditional patterns of White racism continued largely unabated in the "post-Civil Rights" era' (219).

However racism became reframed as something that could affect anybody — the '"race neutral"' formulation. Apart from anything else the horrors of slavery were of course ignored. [They imply that this was almost entirely political, however], just an agenda to expand the political base and oppose Civil Rights, it 'reframed racism as a zero-sum game' and appealed to an abstract notion of fairness. Antiracism had gone too far. Affirmative action in particular was unfair and this was effective in limiting them. 'the new right could now present itself as antiracist' (220) because race was now irrelevant except in special pleading. We can see the 'seeds of the colourblind concept'.

Instead of arguing the sociological case, O and W focus on the political dimension, establishing colourblindness as 'hegemonic ideology of racial reaction in the US'. It repudiates the concept of race itself and raise consciousness. Its success depends on neoliberalism [NB they are happy if we refer to 'the dominant power bloc' as the 'ruling class', 220]. They cite Jessop [neo-Marxist analysis of the British state] . Neoliberalism undid the New Deal coalition, which itself 'had been politically and morally complicit with Jim Crow' in relying on the support of the solid South — when the Black movement rebelled, this split the Democratic party and turned the south to the Republicans. The backlash had to be disguised, and colourblindness 'as a new racial "common sense" was highly suitable.

Neoliberalism had already revived 'racist cultural tropes'. It was a response to global insurgencies as well as nationalist ones. Race reappeared openly in the 1980s in Reagan's discourse. The Christian right emerged as a powerful recruiter to the Republicans, and codewords appealed to former Democrats. Even moderate supporters of civil rights joined the 'uneasy but powerful alliance' (222). Authoritarian populism consolidated the Republican Party, under Regan's genial surface. He appeared to be antistate. Bush was similarly 'two-faced… Half patrician/Connecticut Yankee, half Texas oil man', with a useful 'political gunslinger' who did race baiting.

Clinton cultivated the Black community and understood southern racism and try to centrify the Democratic party, and was good at 'playing a double game' including 'talking southern Baptist when he needed to win' (223) but he distanced himself from his Black supporters when he gained power, and pursued policies of 'racial injustice' by cutting welfare [discussed 223] in the name of devolution [to individual states]. Clinton 'worked in small and largely symbolic ways to "bridge the racial divide"… Ceaseless promotion of the "one America" argument, an attempt to shift attention from race to class' (224). This did achieve 'relative racial peace and prosperity' aided by economic growth and relatively egalitarian policies including tax credits, but some global trade initiatives had 'regressive race (and class, and environmental) consequences in the United States', by undercutting wages, for example and sponsoring corporate agribusinesses.

Bush 'implemented a hard-core neoliberal agenda that outdid Regan' (225), including privatisation of the welfare state, ostensibly on the grounds that because Blacks have lower life expectancy, they would get their money earlier. There would be 'potentially endless windfall for Wall Street'. The scheme did not get through however. he was implicated in earlier 'racial chicanery' and was a 'racial realist"', arguing that as legal segregation was over, only civil rights leaders kept it alive. This appealed to some Black people and other POC, including evangelicals. He pursued 'ideological anti-– anti-– racism' (226), like changing the US Civil Rights commission, dismissing anti-racists from the chair and appointing a 'new right warrior' which led to opposition to affirmative action admissions policies.

His handling of hurricane Katrina was the most notorious 'and the most archetypal', however. Not only did he blunder at the time, but he supported 'urban reconfiguration (or should we say "urban renewal"), gentrification, and permanent reduction of the city's Black population' afterwards, in a precursor for urban privatisation that would be applied to ghettos and barrios widely elsewhere. Public schools public hospitals and public services also stripped by an alliance of 'disoriented officials and agencies… Working closely with large financial and real estate interests'. Black communities in the USA were 'mainly harmed… Through neglect' (227).

The meltdown of 2008 also 'constituted the largest regressive racial redistribution of resources to have occurred in US history'. Generally, the '"sub-prime" mortgage instrument links neoliberalism on race quite closely' — marketing targets lower income especially Black and brown families, programs were combined public and private, facilitated by the 'parastatal home lending guarantor agencies Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac', and supported by lobbying from the biggest banks. The mortgages themselves were loan products aimed at less credit worthy borrowers, but families were awarded credit scores as prime borrowers [not sure why, it seems that officers responsible for sub-prime were on particular incentives? 228]. The policies seem the same as gerrymandering in segregated neighbourhoods or stop and search policing — Black or brown identity is the best way to select subjects for particular targeting. Sub-prime loans were even justified as 'a kind of affirmative action lending policy' (228) for those who would not have got a mortgage any other way —  '"opportunity Finance"'. However this was one case where 'racial discrimination in the sub-prime mortgage crisis nearly pulled the Wall Street Temple down on everybody, not just in downtown Manhattan'.

There was also the rise of Islamophobia, especially after 9/11, a popular set of beliefs and attitudes even if ill-defined. Bush talked of the war on terror both globally and domestically and launched invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. This was accompanied by 'an extensive programme of quasi-racial profiling' in the USA.

Obama has transformed the US presidency [they are writing two thirds of his way through], and has acted 'in an appreciably different way' (229). He is still constrained 'by structural racism'. He confronts racism and has experienced racism directly. He feels the need to be racially vigilant. However, he does demonstrate 'egregious and unconstitutional uses of exceptional powers' in settling scores, and in 'the drones, the surveillance, and the moralistic lectures about parenting and hip-hop culture that Obama likes to deliver only to Blacks [which] all contradict the antiracist legacy of the civil rights movement that arguably put him into office'. He is colourblind although he has criticised it. They agree with Gramsci that the system remains entrenched, even if modernised and moderated [of racial distinction and inequality]. Obama has not redressed the loss of wealth for Blacks after the great recession of 2008, nor even criticised racial bias in the US prison system, nor intervened in conflicts over workers rights or unionbusting.
He seems to be a centre-left neoliberal like Clinton, concerned with governing civil society, which excludes 'an outside that is not civil' — 'slums, occupied territories, prisons and the underground underworlds' (230) inhabited by the dangerous, the criminal the less deserving. The border between them is policed rigorously. Goldberg has suggested this is the form racism takes. Neoliberalism ignores the outsiders and treats them as disposable. Obama might have done more to help them, say with increasing public employment programs, green jobs, subsidising their mortgages just like he subsidised banks and big corporations. He could have disciplined the market and brought fraudsters to court, maybe done less to bail out insurance companies. However, 'the Obama administration wants a strong state' (231) and is 'constantly putting down rebellion', and needs to develop increasing surveillance, a 'permanent war state'. Perhaps he is powerless in the face of the oligarchy. Perhaps he should form new alliances with the 'growing numbers of excluded masses: increasingly POC, increasingly working class or poor, increasingly female' (232). Instead, 'he is "normalising race," leading the United States, and socialising the nervous/racist White masses to the "majority/minority" demographic that is coming their way' (232).

He has a comprehensive deportation regime but supports immigration reform, and this is enough to gain 'three quarters of the Latin@ vote'. He has reversed some civil rights policies incrementally but 'not developed any serious antipoverty or criminal justice reform policies' He is a modern day entryist. He attracts lower income voters of colour, voting on the basis of their racial identity — they 'do not and cannot act politically; they have been demobilised'.

Neoliberalism shrinks the public sphere and privatised his state resources, and this can produce fiscal crisis, including at the state and city level. It produces 'a massive, disenfranchised, urban, largely Black and brown (yes there are some Whites too) US subaltern stratum, not only an underclass… but also a racially distinct melange: the others' (233). They have the potential for disruption. They are aliens in their own country. The Republican party is divided [this is before Trump] between centrists and appeals to its strongest support. They are able to obstruct and pursue racialised assaults on the franchise. At the same time, immigration reform is mobilising Latin@s, and abortion is dividing women.

What about the Tea Party? It resurrected radical mainstream conservative themes, fundamentalism, states rights including nullification. There is a racial element in that they were mobilised partly by the election of Obama and the fear of the other — hence the campaign against his US citizenship and his foreignness, their fear of demographic change [discussed a bit 235]. They still have classic racist views about the inferiority of POC, thinly disguised under concerns about budget deficits and taxes. Officially however they operate with colourblind ideology, although criticism of the state is more prominent.

The demographic shift of the US population is 'politically unprecedented' and has fuelled the fights about the immigration laws — ending the 'overtly racist components' of those laws produced 'enormous shifts in the racial composition of the US population' (237). Eventually, 'no single racially defined group, including those considered White, will be a majority country' and some major regions and cities are already 'majority – minority' [including California, Texas, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago]. So 'Whites are poised to become one racially defined minority group among others, probably at some point in the middle of this century'. Immigration hostility 'is one of the most venerable traditions in US politics' but there is also an immigrant rights movement which is unprecedented, to complement the virulent anti-immigrant movements of the past. There have been deep transformations in American society, with the immigration of Asians, for example — many Asian professionals, for example, many skilled people, Latin@s have also been racialised and their arrivals 'have divided and eroded public culture, notably in the south-west, but nationally as well' (238), with policing and militarisation of the border on the one hand and the continuing recruitment of immigrant labour into all strata of the workforce on the other. 'The US – Mexico border was until recently a low-wage, free labour market, with minimal state regulation. It is now a 2000 mile long crime scene where trafficking and vigilantism operate symbiotically with official nativism'.

There is further polarisation of the Republican party — the White People's party, driven by resentment. Meanwhile it looks like 'the US electoral system will have to move again towards the left' although there are still 'political gains to be made through immigrant bashing, law and order fear mongering, use of racial "codewords," and above all, appeals to be colourblind'.