The Cruel Optimism of Racial Justice



What can we learn from successes and failures in the pursuit of racial justice in the UK and elsewhere in the Global North? A dominant view of racial justice has long been linked to a 'cruel optimism' which normalises social and political outcomes that sustain racial injustice, despite successive governments wielding the means to address it. Researchers, activists and minoritised groups continually identify the drivers of these outcomes, but have grown accustomed to persevering despite strong resistance to change. Looking at numerous examples across anti-racist movements and key developments in nationhood/nationalism, institutional racism, migration, white supremacy and the disparities of COVID-19, Nasar Meer argues for the need to move on from perpetual crisis in racial justice to a turning point that might herald a change to deep-seated systems of racism.

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Bristol University Press
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