Loïc Wacquant’s essay, “The Trap of ‘Racial Capitalism’”, asks whether the term is “a conceptual solution or a conceptual problem”. His answer is forthright. He argues that racial capitalism has no place in a properly defined and understood social science. In this contribution, we set out the limitations, as we perceive them, of Wacquant’s own analysis and, at the same time, discuss other difficulties of the idea of racial capitalism. These, we suggest, are associated with an absence common to Wacquant and the major proponents of racial capitalism alike; namely, a failure to reckon systematically with the ways in which modern capitalism arises and develops within the global structures of European colonialism.