Organising prominent critiques of new materialism is the suggestion that it contains a gesture of abandonment. New materialism abandons the past to enable its selfpromotion as a novel brand and generation of feminist intervention wedded to a particular vision of matter’s transformative possibilities. Or it abandons questions of race in advancing a grand ontology, while simultaneously enacting a particular politics of perspective—one that is racialised. In this article we acknowledge the importance of these critiques as we engage them through an interrogation and opening of the nature of abandonment itself. From within a new materialist frame, we ask who or what abandons, and what assumptions about matter, race, the human and the iterative act of abandonment are at work in critiques of this field? We question how a new materialist approach enacts and recasts the positionality and privilege of ‘whiteness-as-humanness’ at the same time it is considered to elide these. Taking up with discussions from within critical race theory and approaches to human exceptionalism, we ask from this whether we can conceive of new materialism in terms of a perverse ontology that renders abandonment im/possible.