Abstract

There are two competing ways of understanding nefarious expressions of nationalism in countries like the U.S., either as xenophobia or racism. In this essay, I offer a way of capturing what is attractive in both accounts: a way of thinking about the xenophobia of U.S. nationalism that does not miss or minimize the role that race plays in condemning such expressions, but at the same time does not risk overextending the definition of racism. To do this, the essay makes a case for decoupling and slightly revising the meaning of the terms “racialization” and “racial formation” while also proposing a third term, “racial disintegration.” In doing so, we find that the xenophobia directed at certain pan-racial groups, at least in places like the U.S., promotes a unique brand of White supremacy and does so in ways that maintain or reshape the nation's understanding of race and specifically its racial categories.

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