The Racist Fantasy: Unconscious Roots of Hatred - Todd McGowan


What stands out about racism is its ability to withstand efforts to legislate or educate it away. In The Racist FantasyTodd McGowan argues that its persistence is due to a massive unconscious investment in a fundamental racist fantasy. As long as this fantasy continues to underlie contemporary society, McGowan claims, racism will remain with us, no matter how strenuously we struggle against it.

The racist fantasy, a fantasy in which the racial other is a figure who blocks the enjoyment of the racist, is a shared social structure. No one individual invented it, and no one individual is responsible for its perpetuation. No individual is guilty for the emergence of the racist fantasy, but all individuals are responsible for keeping it alive. To say that a society is racist is to say that a racist fantasy underlies its social order.

The Racist Fantasy examines how this fantasy provides the psychic basis for the racism that appears so conspicuously throughout modern history. The racist fantasy informs everything from lynching and police shootings to Hollywood blockbusters and musical and literary tastes. This fantasy takes root under capitalism as a way of explaining the failures and disappointments that result from the relationship to the commodity. To struggle against racism, one must work to dislodge the fantasy structure and to change the capitalist relations that require it. This is the project of this book.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Published: November 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 208


Dimensions: 13.84 x 2.16 x 21.46 cm

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