One testament to the power of contemporary framings of racism can be found in a recent interview with Walton Goggins, who plays a white supremacist on Justified, convicted of plotting to bomb a black church, later born again in prison, who then denounces his past. Asked by Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air, what it was like to play this character, Goggins replied:

Nevertheless, as Crowder, Goggins had a swastika emblazoned on his arm and made racist remarks, an experience he described in some detail:

Goggins’ experience is instructive on a number of levels. In this “time after race,” as Herman Grey calls it, overt racism is taboo and even play-acting it is transgressive: no one wants to be a racist. Enlightened whites, who naturally have friends who are Jewish (or Black or Latina/o), cannot reconcile such ideologies with their own identities. They pull back aghast like the tourists when confronted with illicit symbols or, like Goggins, explain away the values and practices of white power when forced to embody them-this cannot be serious; it must a ploy; it cannot be internalized. And yet, it can be fun, a provocation, a means of getting a rise from an audience. Indeed, white supremacists allow for escapes, alterations to self, and fantasies, which remain safe and ultimately reaffirm the settled and silent operations of race and power today-inequalities persist, frequently in more pernicious and problematic forms.1