Racism, Colonialism, Imperialism

Authored by: James McMaster

The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138291027
eBook ISBN: 9781315265704
Adobe ISBN:


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Let’s begin by doing away with a harmful misconception. Racism is not simply a matter of individual misinformation or malice. Far too many “anti-racists” misunderstand racism as the name for a wide diversity of problematic individual attitudes and bigoted opinions that must be undone. This view is wrong-headed. One of the major problems with this perspective on racism is that it tends to cast figures like “the white US southerner” or “the drunk uncle around the dinner table” as the racists par excellence. The impulse to cast another as the true figure of racism is born of the desire to absolve ourselves of our own complicities with structural oppression. Something to accept: we are all complicit in the perpetuation of racism. When accused of racism, the appropriate response is not any version of, “No, not me!” Rather, the work begins when we come to terms with the fact that racism is the air we breathe; it is the water in which we are submerged, and in which many of us are drowning.

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