Imani Perry


In this article I want to posit two ways in which a critique of the black white binary leads us to understandings of race and racism that are useful for the struggles of all peoples of color. The first is, the critique should lead us to advocate for an understanding of race as an architecture rather than categorical. The second argument is that when we focus upon race as an architecture it leads us away from a linear notion of racial hierarchy with white at the top and black at the bottom, and towards a sense that the distribution of power as it is related to race is a more detailed structure which is well understood by theoretical models such as the one posited by Patricia Hill Collins in her description of "matrices of domination." In making the arguments of this essay, I will be using a cultural studies approach to delve into questions of race that are relevant to law. Popular cultural images are reflections, as well as arguments for certain kinds of social ordering and ideologies. In particular, I will briefly consider how Latinos are imagined in the popular imagination as a point of entry for my two arguments.


Symposium: Eighth Annual LatCrit Conference City & The Citizen: Operations of Power, Strategies of Resistance: Section II: Race Ethnicity and Gender: Identity and Ideologies in Law, Theory and Culture