At the time of this writing, the world is watching incredulously as terror and
deprivation ravage the poorest citizens of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina. The region’s middle class and elite fled the disaster, while federal
authorities’ inaction resulted in starvation for those too poor to leave. Such
callousness embodied in US civil society and state institutions has been made
transparent to the world, illuminating the increasing class inequality that has
evolved since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. In light of this conflation of
racism and class inequality, this forum focuses on the ways that multi-cultural
politics mystify such power relations with romantic recollections of popular
resistance to racism in the post–World War II era: decolonization, the US civil
rights movement, and the fall of apartheid in South Africa.
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