Cover of The Emotional Politics of Racism by Paula Ioanide
The Emotional Politics of Racism
How Feelings Trump Facts in an Era of Colorblindness
Paula Ioanide

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May 2015
288 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804793599
Paper ISBN: 9780804795470

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One of Flavorwire's Ten Must-Read Academic Books for 2015

With stop-and-frisk laws, new immigration policies, and cuts to social welfare programs, majorities in the United States have increasingly supported intensified forms of punishment and marginalization against Black, Latino, Arab and Muslim people in the United States, even as a majority of citizens claim to support "colorblindness" and racial equality. With this book, Paula Ioanide examines how emotion has prominently figured into these contemporary expressions of racial discrimination and violence. How U.S. publics dominantly feel about crime, terrorism, welfare, and immigration often seems to trump whatever facts and evidence say about these politicized matters.

Though four case studies—the police brutality case of Abner Louima; the exposure of torture at Abu Ghraib; the demolition of New Orleans public housing units following Hurricane Katrina; and a proposed municipal ordinance to deny housing to undocumented immigrants in Escondido, CA—Ioanide shows how racial fears are perpetuated, and how these widespread fears have played a central role in justifying the expansion of our military and prison system and the ongoing divestment from social welfare. But Ioanide also argues that within each of these cases there is opportunity for new mobilizations, for ethical witnessing: we must also popularize desires for justice and increase people's receptivity to the testimonies of the oppressed by reorganizing embodied and unconscious structures of feeling.

About the author

Paula Ioanide is Associate Professor at the Center for the Study of Culture, Race & Ethnicity at Ithaca College.

"The Emotional Politics of Racism is a sustained act of ethical witnessing. Paula Ioanide offers fresh insights into the relationship between social order and alienation, showing the interrelation of explanatory and affective modes that perpetuate gendered racial hierarchy. A must read for all students of racial capitalism."

—Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California

"The Emotional Politics of Racism is a tour de force, a powerful, passionate, ethical insistence on thinking carefully and analytically about racial subordination and social justice. Beautifully written and researched, this book makes significant contributions to critical race theory, feminist studies, law, cultural studies, sociology of culture, political theory, and ethnic studies."

—Barbara Tomlinson, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument: Beyond the Trope of the Angry Feminist

"Paula Ioanide's deft reading of a series of racialized spectacles explores the complex economy of fears, longings, and fantasies that structure the white public imagination. She persuasively demonstrates the need for a new framework of political analysis centered on shared affect, feelings, and desires."

—Daniel Martinez HoSang, University of Oregon