Categories constructed in dominant media discourses and used to describe the political struggles of people who are the objects or the perpetrators of racism are frequently contested by those whose complex lives such crude categorisations cannot adequately represent. However, since those challenges are most likely to take place outside the zone of interest of mainstream politics or media they do not impact on the dominant discourse so that vulgar racial categorisations and constructions of ‘otherness’ remain ‘common sense’ in political debate. Contextualized analysis of mainstream political and media discourses continues to be a useful tool in understanding how such categorisations work to define the subject positions of minority ethnic groups and minority political groups in ways that prevent them from successfully challenging their representation in the dominant discourse. However, to whatever degree the discourse analysis is contextualized, it cannot explain the full extent of the manipulation of the reports of events that can take place in building those constructions. To understand those processes of construction, the events on which those constructions are based themselves require deeper examination. In this chapter I use ethnographic research methods and discourse analysis of media reports over an eight day period of intense political activity, to explore how and in what circumstances racial and associated categories are constructed and/or mobilised in media discourses. I track processes of construction, mobilisation and contestation of specific categories as events unfold and are reported on. The events that I focus on took place in September 1993 in Tower Hamlets and were reported in the local English and Bangla language and national media. I examine how keywords including ‘outsider’, ‘extremist’ and ‘violence’ worked to construct and consolidate the apparently fixed ‘white’ and ‘Bengali’ categories in the dominant discourse in the context of challenges from subordinate discourses. A number of related questions run through the analyses of the events and discourses: First, how do the events represented in the dominant discourse in local and national media compare with the way that they were experienced by those who participated in them? Second, how were those dominant representations contested by subordinate discourses of minority media and other groups? Third, how were racial categories and constructions of ‘otherness’ mobilised to delimit the subject positions of white political minorities and minority ethnic groups? Finally, how these categories maintain and are sustained by the Invisible Empire.