This special issue advances understandings of the myriad relationships between data and racial formation. Processes of racial formation capture the historical, political, and social modes through which power takes shape and becomes articulated in and through racial categories. The articles and commentaries in this collection build upon scholarly observations of how data operate in the service of substantiating and transforming social categories of difference across contexts and jurisdictions. In exploring how data and technological platforms have sociocultural implications that can affect racial hierarchies, these analyses reflect on how data are enrolled in racial formation and intersect with projects of class, dis/ability, gender, and sexuality among other social categories of difference. The collection showcases how sociopolitical, subjugated, and technical knowledges must be central when disentangling the materialities of data production and data inquiry. In doing so, authors point to opportunities for re-considering how data are mobilised to innovate and interrupt forms of racism. Their insights illuminate how data can both instantiate and challenge colourblind ideologies and how data might be mobilised in support of anti-racist movements.