This article offers a critique of the concept of “people of color,” highlighting a form of blindness to the singularity of racial slavery internal to its articulation. It pursues a theoretical itinerary that reads the radical black feminism of Saidiya Hartman and Hortense Spillers, the political ontology of Frank B. Wilderson, and the cinematic vision of Haile Gerima against certain signs of prevarication, even gainsaying, regarding the nature of slavery and its afterlife in prominent strains of critical (race) theory, here advanced by noted scholars like Giorgio Agamben and Achille Mbembe. The disseminated misrecognition of modern slavery is then traced in the discourse of post–civil rights racial politics, especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

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