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(p.180) Conclusion
From Power to Prejudice
Leah N. Gordon
University of Chicago Press

The conclusion reviews the book’s central arguments, describing the growth of racial individualism in the two decades after WWII and pointing to the intersecting dynamicsthat aided this paradigm’s postwar development. Systemic and relational frameworks did compete against individualistic views on the race issue, the conclusion simultaneously makes clear. Theoretical challenges to racial individualism emerged not only from political radicals but also from African American-led intellectual spaces such as Fisk University’s Race Relations Institutes and Howard University’s Journal of Negro Education. Linking social science and social action proved complicated across the segregated postwar academy In the late 1940s and 1950s, many antiracist scholar-activists supported systemic and relational theories of the race issue while dismissing the reformist implications of these theories as impractical or unrealistic. By the mid 1960s the tide would turn. In these years, both theoretical and reformist alternatives to racial individualism regained a central place in debates on the race issue among many mainstream social scientists and civil rights activists. Still, racial individualism’s ongoing impact remained evident in the late twentieth century rise of colorblindness and the utility to opponents of school desegregation of the assumption that the only true racial harms are intentional.

Keywords:   individualism, politics of knowledge, production, racism, social science, school desegregation

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