In the preface to the first edition of Racial Formation in the United States, Michael Omi and Howard Winant wrote: "To study race in the United States is to enter a world of paradox, irony, and danger. In this world, arbitrarily chosen human attributes shape politics and policy, love and hate, life and death. All the powers of the intellect-artistic, religious, scientific, political-are pressed into service to explain racial distinctions, and to suggest how they may be maintained, changed, or abolished" , xiii. This edited volume, arriving twenty-five years after the first publication of Racial Formation in the United States, brings together thirteen essays from scholars in a wide range of fields to again "enter a world of paradox, irony, and danger. From the ecclesiastical courts of seventeenth century Lima to the cell blocks of Abu Ghraib, the essays draw from Omi and Winant's influential theory of racial formation, which they defined as "the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed" ,
Michael Omi is an American sociologist. Professor Omi is best known for developing the theory of racial formation along with Howard Winant.
Racial formation theory is an analytical tool in sociology , developed by Michael Omi and Howard Winant , which is used to look at race as a socially constructed identity , where the content and importance of racial categories are determined by social, economic, and political forces. In order to delve further into the topic of racial formation, it is important to explore the question of what "race" is. Racial formation theory is a framework that has the objective of deconstructing race as it exists today in the United States. To do this, the authors first explore the historical development of race as a dynamic and fluid social construct. This goes against the dominant discourses on race, which see race as a static and unchanging concept based purely on physical and genetic criteria. Instead of claiming race as something that is concrete, where the person's biology and upbringing are what shape racial identity, Omi and Winant suggest that race is something that is fluid, where "the racial order is organized and enforced by the continuity and reciprocity between micro-level and macro-level of social relations". In the above definition, the "micro-level" social relations refer to "the ways in which we understand ourselves and interact with others, the structuring of our practical activity in work and family, as citizens and as thinkers",  basically, a person's individual interactions with other people.