‘White privilege’ and shortcuts to anti-racism

A Research Paper by Miriyam Aouragh, published by Race & Class

By unpacking the way in which the concept of ‘white privilege’ is taking over as a shortcut in the analysis of racism, this article assesses its use in anti-racist movements. Using the author’s experiences as both an academic and an activist of colour in the Netherlands, it focuses on two schisms that are emerging in social movements. The first schism pits class-based against race-based analyses. The second schism is a questioning of solidarity politics, also marked by the rise of political articulations in terms of personalised and skin-colour based positions, with terminologies such as ‘non-black-people-of-colour’ (NBPoC), leading to implied hierarchies of oppression. Drawing on the conceptual legacies of radical black thinkers and activists, from W. E. B. Du Bois, and A. Sivanandan to Assata Shakur and Angela Davis, the article asks how to recover and meaningfully engage with radical universalist principles as a means of overcoming such ‘shortcuts’ whilst fighting racism. The piece builds on an understanding of ‘radical kinship’ and proposes internationalism as a way to recreate a dynamic anti-racist, anti-capitalist movement at a time when racism is on the rise.


Miriyam Aouragh


Dr. Miriyam Aouragh is Leverhulme fellow at Communication And Media Research Institute. She grew up in Amsterdam as a second generation Moroccan and has a background in cultural anthropology/non-Western sociology (Vrije Universiteit Amsterrdam).

For her PhD (University of Amsterdam) she studied the implications of the internet as it was first (Web 1.0) introduced in Palestine and in particular the significance of this techno-evolution coinciding with the outbreak of the Second Intifada. She was awarded a Rubicon grant in 2009 and began postdoc research at the Oxford Internet Institute where she focused on the political role of Web 2.0 for grassroots activists.

Her research interests and areas of expertise include: digital imperialism; cyber warfare; social media; activism; Arab uprisings; MENA (Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Bahrain, Egypt).


3 October 2019
Published By
Race & Class
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