Racial Culture: A Critique

RACIAL CULTURE… is a race-conscious, antiracist attack on racial identity politics. There is nothing else like it in the literature.

— Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard University

Racial Culture by Richard Thompson Ford

Richard Thompson Ford, Racial Culture: A Critique, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.


Racial Culture advocates a narrow but robust form of race consciousness. Justice and sound policy requires a sober accounting of the practices of racism and a realistic assessment of its victims and likely future targets. “Colorblindness” threatens to become blindness, not to race, but to racism; because colorblindness cannot be enforced on the population as a whole, racism will continue to do its dirty work. Colorblindness will keep us from diagnosing and remedying the evil of racism. For these reasons, race consciousness must be robust: we must acknowledge the existence of racial groups – groups produced by racism – in order to craft appropriate remedies and administer remediation.