Nahum Chandler, in his remarkably evocative book X—The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought, works with the Derridean idea of the exorbitant to argue that W. E. B. Du Bois's thinking exceeds and transforms the terms of Western critical thought on modernity. Du Bois is credited with conceptualizing the idea of “the Negro” as derivable from the formations of colonial and racialized modernity, which as formations are conventionally foreclosed by Western critical thought. In the spirit of a Derridean supplement to Chandler's argument, this essay suggests Chandler's otherwise compelling account of Du Bois nevertheless obscures an alternative, conceptually richer way in which Du Bois's thought is exorbitant to his own thinking on the question of race. This involves understanding the constitution of race as a colonial-political practice that is named here as “race governance.”

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