Peter Wade is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Manchester who has worked on issues of racial, ethnic, and national identities in Latin America, particularly Colombia. Recently he has researched the construction of nature, biology, genetics, and culture in ideas about race. Currently he directs a project on cultures of antiracism in Latin America.
Powerful narratives often describe Latin American nations as fundamentally mestizo. These narratives have hampered the acknowledgment of racism in the region, but recent multiculturalist reforms have increased recognition of Black and Indigenous identities and cultures. Multiculturalism may focus on identity and visibility and address more casual and social forms of racism, but can also distract attention from structural racism and racialized inequality, and constrain larger antiracist initiatives. Additionally, multiple understandings of how racism and antiracism fit into projects of social transformation make racism a complex and multifaceted issue. The essays in Against Racism examine actors in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico that move beyond recognition politics to address structural inequalities and material conflicts and build common ground with other marginalized groups. The organizations in this study advocate an approach to deep social structural transformation that is inclusive, fosters alliances, and is inspired by a radical imagination.