Alana Lentin/Gavan Titley – Why Race Still Matters/ Is Free Speech Racist?
1 December 2020 starting 7:00 pm
Panel with Angela Saini. Moderated by Dr Debbie Bargallie
‘Why are you making this about race?’ This question is repeated daily in public and in the media. Calling someone racist in these times of mounting white supremacy seems to be a worse insult than racism itself. In our supposedly post-racial society, surely it’s time to stop talking about race?This powerful refutation is a call to notice not just when and how race still matters but when, how and why it is said not to matter. Race critical scholar Alana Lentin argues that society is in urgent need of developing the skills of racial literacy, by jettisoning the idea that race is something and unveiling what race does as a key technology of modern rule, hidden in plain sight.
The question of free speech is never far from the headlines and frequently declared to be in crisis. Starting from the observation that such debates so often focus on what can and cannot be said in relation to race, Gavan Titley asks why racism has become so central to intense disputes about the status and remit of freedom of speech.
Is Free Speech Racist? moves away from recurring debates about the limits of speech to instead examine how the principle of free speech is marshalled in today’s multicultural and intensively mediated societies. This involves tracing the ways in which free speech has been mobilized in far-right politics, in the recycling of ‘race realism’ and other discredited forms of knowledge, and in the politics of immigration and integration. Where there is intense political contestation and public confusion as to what constitutes racism and who gets to define it, ‘free speech’ has been adopted as a primary mechanism for amplifying and re-animating racist ideas and racializing claims. As such, contemporary free speech discourse reveals much about the ongoing life of race and racism in contemporary society.