by Mark C. Jerng
The September 8, 2016, opening of Desirée Holman’s Sophont in Action sparked a question: Can we imagine an anti-racist future? Little did we know that exactly two months later this question would become entirely enmeshed with the enormous weight of the United States presidential election result. An enormous weight not because the election marked a step backward, but rather because it marked what the historian Ibram X. Kendi calls “the progression of racism.” If there has been progress in the challenging of racial inequalities, there has simultaneously been racist progress into new forms, new modes of thought, and new and far-reaching policies that structure the future of education, housing, finance, the law. Racism is not a “backward” idea, an attempt to return to past forms of inequality. It is forward-looking, laying claim to our capacity to imagine the future.