By Paul Gilroy

ISBN-10: 0203482816

ISBN-13: 9780203482810

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Only then in a world-wide contact of men in which the voices of all races are heard shall we begin that contact and sympathy which in God’s time will bring out of war and hatred and prejudice a real democracy of races and nations. . To such a meeting should go particularly those people to whom the physical differences of race and nation are ridiculous or incomprehensible . . and those who cannot see that the canons of morality extend beyond their own family or nation, or color of skin. From such a congress should come the beginnings of vast tolerance and sympathy.

These notions were imported into his political thought from their obvious German sources. Many contemporary commentators regard these “metanarratives” as deeply problematic, but his stubborn commitment to them provided more or less constant margins for his shifting political outlook even when his strategic affiliations shifted and his tactical commitments wavered and evolved. Those attachments were articulated in different ways with his socialism and his pan-Africanism. Indeed, his intimate relationship with these fundamental ideas extended far beyond the simple, reformist goals of securing the admission of Africa into world history and of the Negro into world citizenship.

In other words, a renewed and much more direct confrontation with the issues of racial hierarchy and cultural diversity is now necessary. Posing the provocative cosmopolitan questions with which I began transports us rapidly to the limits of the available analytical approaches—most of which are, as we have seen, decidedly wary of acknowledging racism as an active and dynamic political force. ” Contemporary discussion has cooled down a lot since the midcentury eruption I have described. If it survives at all, critical reflection on racism is likely to be diverted toward two equally unsatisfactory destinations.

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After empire : melancholia or convivial culture? by Paul Gilroy


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