TABLE OF CONTENTS

slant

whiteness studies

IT’S REMARKABLE HOW MUCH we express our political lives in the language of color—conservatives with blue, radicals with red, queers with pink, liberals with lilac; Indian Congress Party patriots de rigueur in white, African Nationalists in black, red, and green, avant-garde apparatchiks, unfortunately like fascists, in black. The lesson of this political palette may indeed go beyond flags and festoons. In the visual display of colors lie those “shades of opinion” that modern democratic societies see as their saving grace. But there is something even more significant about the association of color with the body politic—something undoubtedly medieval and scholastic, going back to the color-coded habits of monks and friars, the parti-colored standards of guilds and princes, and other fusty forms of life. To wear your politics on (the color of) your sleeves is, come to think of it, a way of

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