'Race, Rehabilitated - Redux' explores the metaphysics of passing as a propadeutic to the interdisciplinary practice of critical race theory. Racial metaphysics asks whether races and racial identities exist, what they might be if they do exist, and what race-talk refers to if these things do not exist. Arguments that seek to deny racial categories any role in serious social analysis - arguments of the sort delivered by literary theorist Walter Benn Michaels - too often have their roots in bad metaphysics. This essay explores one of Michaels's arguments in order to remove some of the sophistical obstacles that he and others try to lay across the pathways to critical race theory, and to show that there are intuitively plausible answers to the questions of racial metaphysics apart from the agnosticism and ambivalence that theorists like Howard Winant often, and understandably, indulge on their way to doing the important work of sociological analysis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science