Main Article Content
How do we create a true politics of inclusion, what Nelson Mandela has called a "non-racial democracy"? This essay argues for the importance of artistic representations of a "multiracial imagined community" in helping us to imagine a more attractive alternative to the "diseased imagination" of racialism. Ralph Ellison was an Oklahoma writer who emphasized our cultural inter-relatedness as a means of helping achieve a more inclusive politics. His novel Juneteenth illustrates the role of the arts in articulating a moral philosophy which can help create the change in consciousness which is a necessary precondition of reconstructive social movements. All reform requires coalitions, and coalitions require new vision: new paradigms to facilitate social and cultural awakening. Juneteenth critiques the root paradigm of racialism, and challenges the pieties of identity politics regarding how to create a new pattern. This essay concludes by applying the novel's complex dramatization of "the true inter-relatedness of blackness and whiteness" to contemporary identity politics, such as racialized commentary about controversial Caucasian rap artist Eminem.