Afro-Pessimism – Neg lab DD
Notes
(notes would be inserted here)
===NEG===
***1NC’s***
1NC: Afro-Pessimism (remembrance)
The 1AC’s use of the state as an ethical actor re-enforces the antagonism of
blackness in white civil society - this whitewashes anti-black violence and reenforces the racist power-structures that render the USFG coherent
Wilderson, 03 (Frank, “Gramsci's Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society” an
American writer, dramatist, filmmaker and critic. He is a full professor of Drama and African
American studies at the University of California, Irvine. Pp. 6-8, AF)
The value of reintroducing the unthought category of the slave, by way of noting the absence of the Black
subject, lies in the Black subject’s potential for extending the demand placed on state/capital
formations because its reintroduction into the discourse expands the intensity of the
antagonism. In other words, the slave makes a demand, which is in excess of the demand made by the worker. The worker
demands that productivity be fair and democratic (Gramsci's new hegemony, Lenin's dictatorship of the
proletariat), the slave, on the other hand, demands that production stop; stop without recourse to its
ultimate democratization. Work is not an organic principle for the slave. The absence of Black
subjectivity from the crux of marxist discourse is symptomatic of the discourse's inability to cope with the
possibility that the generative subject of capitalism, the Black body of the 15th and 16th centuries, and the
generative subject that resolves late-capital's over-accumulation crisis, the Black (incarcerated)
body of the 20th and 21st centuries, do not reify the basic categories which structure marxist conflict: the
categories of work, production, exploitation, historical self-awareness and, above all, hegemony. If, by way of the Black
subject, we consider the underlying grammar of the question What does it mean to be free? that
grammar being the question What does it mean to suffer? then we come up against a grammar of
suffering not only in excess of any semiotics of exploitation, but a grammar of suffering beyond signification
itself, a suffering that cannot be spoken because the gratuitous terror of White supremacy is as
much contingent upon the irrationality of White fantasies and shared pleasures as it is upon a
logic—the logic of capital. It extends beyond texualization. When talking about this terror, Cornel West
uses the term “black invisibility and namelessness” to designate, at the level of ontology, what we are calling
a scandal at the level of discourse. He writes: [America's] unrelenting assault on black humanity
produced the fundamental condition of black culture -- that of black invisibility and
namelessness. On the crucial existential level relating to black invisibility and namelessness, the first difficult challenge and
demanding discipline is to ward off madness and discredit suicide as a desirable option. A central preoccupation of black
culture is that of confronting candidly the ontological wounds, psychic scars, and existential
bruises of black people while fending off insanity and selfannihilation. This is why the "ur-text" of
black culture is neither a word nor a book, not and architectural monument or a legal brief. Instead, it is a guttural cry and a
wrenching moan -- a cry not so much for help as for home, a moan less out of complaint than for recognition. (8081) Thus, the Black subject position in America is an antagonism, a demand that can not be
satisfied through a transfer of ownership/organization of existing rubrics; whereas the Gramscian
subject, the worker, represents a demand that can indeed be satisfied by way of a successful War of
Position, which brings about the end of exploitation. The worker calls into question the legitimacy
of productive practices, the slave calls into question the legitimacy of productivity itself. From the
positionality of the worker the question, What does it mean to be free? is raised. But the question hides the process by which the
discourse assumes a hidden grammar which has already posed and answered the question,
What does it mean to suffer? And that grammar is organized around the categories of exploitation
(unfair labor relations or wage slavery). Thus, exploitation (wage slavery) is the only category of oppression which concerns
Gramsci: society, Western society, thrives on the exploitation of the Gramscian subject. Full stop. Again,
this
is inadequate, because it would call White supremacy "racism" and articulate it as a derivative
phenomenon of the capitalist matrix, rather than incorporating White supremacy as a matrix
constituent to the base, if not the base itself. What I am saying is that the insatiability of the
slave demand upon existing structures means that it cannot find its articulation within the
modality of hegemony (influence, leadership, consent)—the Black body can not give its consent because
“generalized trust,” the precondition for the solicitation of consent, “equals racialized whiteness ”
(Lindon Barrett). Furthermore, as Orland Patterson points out, slavery is natal alienation by way of social death ,
which is to say that a slave has no symbolic currency or material labor power to exchange: a
slave does not enter into a transaction of value (however asymmetrical) but is subsumed by direct
relations of force, which is to say that a slave is an articulation of a despotic irrationality whereas the worker is an articulation
of a symbolic rationality. White supremacy’s despotic irrationality is as foundational to American
institutionality as capitalism’s symbolic rationality because, as Cornel West writes, it… …dictates the limits
of the operation of American democracy -- with black folk the indispensable sacrificial lamb vital
to its sustenance. Hence black subordination constitutes the necessary condition for the
flourishing of American democracy, the tragic prerequisite for America itself. This is, in part, what
Richard Wright meant when he noted, "The Negro is America's metaphor." (72) And it is well known that a
metaphor comes into being through a violence which kills, rather than merely exploits, the
object, that the concept might live. West's interventions help us see how marxism can only come to grips
with America's structuring rationality -- what it calls capitalism, or political economy; but cannot
come to grips with America's structuring irrationality: the libidinal economy of White
supremacy, and its hyper-discursive violence which kills the Black subject that the concept, civil society,
may live. In other words, from the incoherence of Black death, America generates the coherence of
White life. This is important when thinking the Gramscian paradigm (and its progenitors in the world of U.S. social movements
today) which is so dependent on the empirical status of hegemony and civil society: struggles over hegemony are
seldom, if ever, asignifying—at some point they require coherence, they require categories for the
record—which means they contain the seeds of anti-Blackness. Let us illustrate this by way of a hypothetical
scenario. In the early part of the 20th century, civil society in Chicago grew up, if you will, around emerging industries such as meat
packing. In his notes on “Americanism and Fordism” (280-314), Gramsci explores the “scientific management” of Taylorism, the
prohibition on alcohol, and Fordist interventions into the working class family, which formed the ideological, value-laden grid of
civil society in places like turn of the century Chicago:
The objectification of blackness means that we are ontologically murdered over
and over again with no contingency, Black flesh becomes the enslaved profit for
white society
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, professor at the University of Vanderbilt, 1987, The John Hopkins
University Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book”,
http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/6/14, KM)
Among the myriad uses to which the enslaved community was put, Goodell identifies its value
for medical research: “Assortments of diseased, damaged, and disabled Negroes, deemed
incurable and otherwise worthless are bought up, it seems … by medical institutions, to be
experimented and operated upon, for purposes of ‘medical education’ and the interest of
medical science” [86-87; Goodell’s emphasis ]. From the Charleston Mercury for October 12, 1838, Goodell notes this
advertisement: ¶ ‘To planters and others. – Wanted, fifty Negroes, any person, having sick Negroes, considered
incurable by their respective physicians, and wishing to dispose of them, Dr. S. will pay cash for Negroes affected with
scrofula, or king’s evil, confirmed hypochrondriasm, apoplexy, diseases of the liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach and intestines, bladder
and its appendages, diarrhea, dystentery, etc. The highest cash price will be paid, on application as above.’ At No. 110
Church Street, Charleston. [87; Goodell’s emphasis] ¶ This
profitable “atomizing” of the captive body provides
another angle on the divided flesh: we lose any hint or suggestion of a dimension of ethics, of
relatedness between human personality and cultural institutions. To that extent, the procedures
adopted for the captive flesh demarcate a total objectification, as the entire captive community
becomes a living laboratory. ¶ The captive body, then, brings into focus a gathering of social
realities as well as a metaphor for value so thoroughly interwoven in their literal and figurative
emphases that distinctions between them are virtually useless. Even though the captive flesh/body has been
“liberated,” and no one need pretend that even the quotation marks do not matter, dominant symbolic activity, the ruling
episteme that releases the dynamics of naming and valuation remains grounded in the originating metaphors of captivity and
mutilation so that it is as if neither time nor history, nor historiography and its topics, shows movement, as the human
subject is “murdered” over and over again by the passions of a bloodless and anonymous
archaism, showing itself in endless disguise. Faulkner’s young Chick Mallison in The Mansion calls “it” by other
names – “the ancient subterrene atavistic fear…” [227]. And I would call it the Great Long National Shame. But
people do not talk like that anymore – it is “embarrassing,” just as the retrieval of mutilated
female bodies will likely be “backward” for some people. Neither the shameface of the
embarrassed, nor the not-looking-back of the self-assured is of much interest to us, and will not
help at all if rigor is our dream. We might concede, at the very least, that sticks and bricks might break our bones, but
words will most certainly kill us.
The alternative is to wallow in the permutation of present and past to return and
depart from the violence created by slavery – this opens up new avenues to
challenge the normalized violence in modernity
Hartman 02, (Columbia University African American literature and history professor, 02(Saidiya
V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4,
pp.757-777, CLF)
The point here is not to condemn tourism, but to rigorously examine the politics of memory and
question whether ‘‘working through’’ is even an appropriate model for our relationship with
history. In Representing the Holocaust, Dominick LaCapra opts for working through as kind of middle road
between redemptive totalization and the impossibility of representation and suggests that a
degree of recovery is possible in the context of a responsible working through of the past . He
asserts that in coming to terms with trauma, there is the possibility of retrieving desirable
aspects of the past that might be used in rebuilding a new life. 23 While LaCapra’s arguments are persuasive,
I wonder to what degree the backward glance can provide us with the vision to build a new life?
To what extent need we rely on the past in transforming the present or, as Marx warned, can we
only draw our poetry from the future and not the past? 24 Here I am not advancing the impossibility of
representation or declaring the end of history, but wondering aloud whether the image of enslaved ancestors
can transform the present. I ask this question in order to discover again the political and ethical relevance of the past. If
the goal is something more than assimilating the terror of the past into our storehouse of
memory, the pressing question is,Why need we remember? Does the emphasis on remembering
and working through the past expose our insatiable desires for curatives, healing, and anything
else that proffers the restoration of some prelapsarian intactness? Or is recollection an avenue for undoing
history? Can remembering potentially enable an escape from the regularity of terror and the
routine of violence constitutive of black life in the United States? Or is it that remembering has become the
only conceivable or viable form of political agency? Usually the injunction to remember insists that memory can
prevent atrocity, redeem the dead, and cultivate an understanding of ourselves as both
individuals and collective subjects. Yet, too often, the injunction to remember assumes the ease of
grappling with terror, representing slavery’s crime, and ably standing in the other’s shoes . I am not
proscribing representations of the Middle Passage, particularly since it is the absence of a public history of slavery rather than the
saturation of representation that engenders these compulsive performances, but instead pointing to the danger of facile invocations
of captivity, sound bites about themillions lost, and simulations of the past that substitute for critical engagement. These
encounters with slavery are conditioned by the repression and erasure of the violent history of
deportation and social death in the national imagination, and the plantation pastorals and epics of ethnicity
that stand in their stead. In this respect, the journey back is as much motivated by the desire to return
to the site of origin and the scene of the fall, as with the invisible landscape of slavery, the
unmarked ports of entry in the United States, and the national imperative to forget slavery,
render it as romance, or relegate it to some prehistory that has little to do with the present. The
restored plantations of the South reek with the false grandeur of the good old days, and the cabins don’t appear horrible enough. Too
easily, onemight conclude,Well, things weren’t all that bad. The starkness of the dungeons seems to permit a certain dignity; their
cavernous emptiness resonates with the unspeakable. These blank spaces hint at the enormity of loss, the millions disappeared, and
what Amiri Baraka describes as ‘‘the X-ed space, the empty space where we live, the space that is left of our history now a mystery.’’
1NC: Burn it down
The power to name is the power to maim – skin color is the sight of the most
foundational antagonism, the aff’s attempt to remove history from modernity is
not only impossible but also excessively violent
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, 1987, Professor at the university of Vanderbilt The John Hopkins
University Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book”,
http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/6/14, KM)
The captivating party does not only "earn" the right to dispose of the captive body as it sees fit, but gains,
consequently, the right to name and "name" it: Equiano, for instance, identifies at least three different names that he is given
in numerous passages between his Benin homeland and the Virginia colony, the latter and England -"Michael," "Jacob," "Gustavus
Vassa" [35; 36]. The nicknames by which African-American women have been called, or regarded or
imagined on the New World scene- the opening lines of this essay provide examples -demonstrate
the powers of
distortion that the dominant community seizes as its unlawful prerogative. Moynihan's "Negro Family," then,
borrows its narrative energies from the grid of associations, from the semantic and iconic folds buried deep in the collective past,
that come to surround and signify the captive person. Though there is no absolute point of
chronological initiation, we might repeat certain familiar impression points that lend shape to the business of dehumanized
naming. Expecting to find direct and amplified reference to African women during the opening years of the Trade, the observer is
disappointed time and again that this cultural subject is concealed beneath the mighty debris of the itemized ac¬count, between the
lines of the massive logs of commercial enterprise that overrun the sense of clarity we believed we had gained concerning this
collective humiliation. Elizabeth Don¬nan's enormous, four-volume documentation becomes a case in point. Turning directly to this
source, we discover what we had not expected to find - that this aspect of the search is rendered problematic and that observations of
a field of manners and its related sociometric are an outgrowth of the industry of the "exterior other" [Todorov 3], called
"anthropology" later on. The European males who laded and captained these galleys and who policed and
corralled these human beings, in hundreds of vessels from Liverpool to Elmina, to Jamaica; from the Cayenne Islands, to the ports at
Charleston and Salem, and for diacritics / summer 1987 69 three centuries of human life, were not curious about
this "cargo" that bled, packed like so many live sardines among the immovable
objects. Such inveterate obscene blindness might be denied, point blank, as a possibility for
anyone, except that we Know it happened. Donnan's first volume covers three centuries of European "discovery" and
"conquest," beginning 50 yearsbefore piousCristobal, Christum Ferens, the bearer of Christ, laid claim to what he thought was the "
Indies." From Comes Eannes de Azurara's "Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, 1441-1448" Donn an 1:18-41], we
learn that the Portuguese probably gain the dubious distinction of having introduced black Africans to the European market of
servitude We are also reminded that "Geography" is not a divine gift. Quite to the contrary, its boundaries were shifted
during the European "Age of Conquest" in giddy desperation, according to the dictates of conquering armies,
the edicts of prelates, the peculiar myopia of the medieval Christian mind. Looking for the " Nile River," for
example, according to the fifteenth-century Portuguese notion, is someone's joke. For all that the pre¬Columbian "explorers" Knew
about the sciences of navigation and geography, we are surprised that more parties of them did not end up
"discovering" Europe. Perhaps, from a certain angle, that is precisely all that they found - an alternative
reading of ego. The Por¬tuguese, having little idea where the Nile ran, at least understood right away that there were men and
women darker-skinned than themselves, but they were not specifically knowledgeable, or ingenious, about the various families and
groupings represented by them. De Azurara records encounters with "Moors," "Mooresses," "Mulattoes," and people "black as
Ethiops" [1:28], but it seems that the " Land of Guinea," or of "Black Men," or of " The Negroes" [1:35] was located anywhere
southeast of Cape Verde, the Canaries, and the River Senegal, looking at an eighteenth-century European version of the subsaharan
Continent along the West African coast [1:frontispiece]. Three genetic distinctions are available to the Portuguese eye, all along
the riffs of melanin in the skin: in a field of captives, some of the observed are "white enough,
fair to look upon, and weII-proportioned." Others are less "white like mulattoes," and still others
"black as Ethiops, and so ugly, both in features and in body, as almost to appear (to those who
saw them) the images of a lower hemisphere" [1:28]. By implication, this "third man," standing for the
most aberrant phenotype to the observing eye, embodies the linguistic com-munity most
unknown to the European. Arabic translators among the Europeans could at least "talk" to the "Moors" and instruct them
to ransom themselves, or else. . Typically, there is in this grammar of description the perspectiveof "declension" not of simultaneity,
and its point of initiation is solipsistic - it begins with a narrative self, in an ap-parent unity of feeling, and unlike Equiano, who also
saw "ugly" when he looked out, this collection self uncovers the means by which to subjugate the "
foreign code of conscience," whose most easily remarkable and irremediable difference is
perceived in skin color. By the time of De Azurara's mid-fifteenth century narrative and a century and a half
before Shakespeare's "old black ram" of an Othello "tops" that "white ewe" of a Desdemona, the magic of skin
color is already installed as a decisive factor in human dealings. In De Azurara's narrative, we
observe males looking at other males, as " female" is sub-sumed here under the general category
of estrangement. Few places in these excerpts carve out a distinct female space, though there are moments of portrayal that
perceive female cap¬tives in the implications of socio-cultural function. When the field of captives (referred to above) is
divided among the spoilers, no heed is paid to relations, as fathers are separated from sons,
husbands from wives, brothers from sisters and brothers, mothers from children- male and
female. It seems dear that the political program of EuropeanChristianity promotes this hierarchical
view amongma/es, although it remains puzzling to us exactly how this version of Christianity transforms the "pagan" also into the
"ugly." It appears that human beings came up with degrees of " fair" and then the "hideous, " in its
overtones of bestiality, as the opposite of " fair," all by themselves, without stage direction, even though there is the
curious and blazing exception of Nietzsche's Socrates, who was Athens's ugliest and wisest and best citizen. The intimate
choreography that the Portuguese narrator sets going between the " faithless" and the " ugly" transforms a partnership of dancers
into a single figure. Once the " faithless," indiscriminate of the three stops of Portuguese skin color, are transported to Europe, they
become an altered human factor: The altered human factor Fenders an alterity of European ego, an invention, or "discovery" as
decisive in the full range of its social implications as the birth of a newborn. According to the semantic alignments of the excerpted
passage, personhood, for this European observer, locates an immediately outward and superficial determination, gauged by quite
arbitrarily opposed and specular categories: that these "pagans" did not have "bread" and "wine" did not mean that they were feast
less,as Equiano observes about the Benin diet, c. 1745, in the province of Essaka: just as fufu serves the Ghanaian diet today as a
starch-and-bread-substitute, palm wine (an item by the same name in the eighteenth-century palate of the Benin community) need
not be Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard and vice-versa in order for a guest, say, to imagine that she has enjoyed. That African housing
arrangements of the fifteenth century did not resem¬ble those familiar to De Azurara's narrator need not have meant that the
African com¬munities he encountered were without dwellings. Again, Equiano's narrative suggests that by the middle of the
eighteenth century, at least, African living patterns were not only quite distinct in their socio metrical implications, but that also
their architectonics accurately reflected the climate and availability of resources in the local circumstance: " These houses never
exceed one story in height; they are always built of wood, or stakes driven into the ground, crossed with wattles, and neatly plastered
within and without" [9]. Hierarchical im¬pulse in both De Azurara's and Equiano's narratives translates all perceived difference as a
fundamental degradation or transcendence, but at least in Equiano's case, cultural practices are not observed in
any intimate connection with skin color. For all intents and purposes, the politics of melanin, not isolated in
its strange powers from the imperatives of a mercantile and competitive economics of European nation-states, will make of
"transcendence" and "degradation" the basis of a historic violence that will rewrite
the histories of modern Europe and black Africa. These mutually exclusive
nominative elements come to rest on the same governing semantics- the
ahistorical, or symptoms of the "sacred." By August 1518, the Spanish King, Francisco de Los Covos, under
the aegis of a power¬ful negation, could order "4000 negro slaves both male and female, provided they be Chris¬tians" to be taken
to the Caribbean, " the islands and the mainland of the ocean sea already discovered or to be discovered" Donn an 1:42]. Though
the notorious "Middle Passage" appears to the investigator as a vast background without boundaries in
time and space, we see it related in Donnan's accounts to the opening up of the entire Western hemisphere
for the specific purposes of enslavement and colonization. De Azurara's narrative belongs, then, to a
discourse of appropriation whose strategies will prove fatal to communities along the coast¬line of West
Africa, stretching according to Olaudah Equiano, "3400 miles, from Senegal to Angola, and [will include} a variety of Kingdoms"
[Equiano 5].
Anti-Black terror sustains Human community and fragments the Black psyche –
only the incomprehensible end of the world solves Wilderson 11 (Frank, PhD, Associate Professor, African American Studies Dept., UC Irvine,
“The Vengeance of Vertigo: Aphasia and Abjection in the Political Trials of Black Insurgents”,
InTensions, Vol 5, 2011)
Ritual murders which purge White aggressivity subtend Bukhari’s impeded mourning and my dissembling
scholarship, despite the fact that the filial cleansing and affilial stability proffered by the Black
imago’s intrusion as a phobic object does not cut both ways. The Black psyche emerges within a
context of force, or structural violence, which is not analogous to the emergence of White or
non-Black psyches. The upshot of this emergence is that the Black psyche is in a perpetual war with itself
because it is usurped by a White gaze that hates the Black imago and wants to destroy it. The
Black self is a divided self or, better, it is a juxtaposition of hatred projected toward a Black
imago and love for a White ideal: hence the state of war (Marriott, “Fanon’s War”). This state of being at war
forecloses upon the possession of elements constitutive of psychic integration: bearing witness
(to suffering), atonement, naming and recognition, representation. As such, one cannot
represent oneself, even to oneself as a bona fide political subject, as a subject of redress. Black
political ontology is foreclosed in the unconscious just as it is foreclosed in the court. “[I]t may not be
too fanciful to suggest,” Marriott writes, “that the black ego, far from being too immature or weak to
integrate, is an absence haunted by its and others’ negativity. In this respect the memory of loss
is its only possible communication” (425). It is important to note that loss is an effect of temporality; it
implies a syntagmatic chain that absence cannot apprehend. Marriott’s psychoanalytic inquiries work through
the word “loss” in order to demonstrate the paucity of its explanatory power. Again, loss indicates a prior plenitude,
absence does not. [29] Marriott explains how we all work together, how we all bond over the Black imago as
phobic object, that we might form a psychic community even though we cannot form political
community. He does so by recalling that exemplary moment in Black Skin, White Masks, when Fanon sees himself through the
eyes of a White boy who cries in terror, “Look a Negro!” Symbolically, Fanon knows that any black man could have triggered the
child’s fantasy of being devoured that attaches itself to a fear of blackness, for this fear signifies the “racial epidermal schema” of
Western culture—the unconscious fear of being literally consumed by the black other. Neither the boy nor Fanon seems able to avoid
this schema, moreover, for culture determines and maintains the imago associated with blackness; cultural fantasy allows Fanon
and the boy to form a bond through racial antagonism (“Bonding over Phobia” 420). [30] This phobia is comprised of
affective responses, sensory reactions or presubjective constellations of intensities, as well as
representational responses, such as the threatening imago of a fecal body which portends
contamination. And this affective/representational performance is underwritten by
paradigmatic violence; which is to say the fantasy secures what Marriott calls “its objective
value” because it lives within violence too pervasive to describe.xvi “The picture of the black psyche that
emerges from” this intrusion “is one that is always late, never on time, violently presented and fractured by these moments of
specular intrusion” (“Bonding over Phobia” 420). The overwhelming psychic alienation that emerges from
the
literal fear and trembling of the White boy when Fanon appears, accompanied by “the foul
language that despoils…is traumatic for” the Black psyche. One comes to learn that when one
appears, one brings with one the threat of cannibalism. “What a thing,” writes Fanon, “to have eaten one’s
father!” (Black Skin, White Masks)And the Black psyche retains the memory of that eternal White “fear of being eaten … [and]
turned into shit by an organic communion with the black body … [This] is one of the most depressing and melancholic fantasies
ensuing from the psychodynamics of intrusion” (“Bonding over Phobia” 421). [31] Again, though this is a bond between Blacks and
Whites, it is produced by a violent intrusion that does not cut both ways. Whereas the phobic bond is an injunction against Black
psychic integration and Black filial and affilial relations, it is the life blood of White psychic integration and filial (which is to say
domestic) and affilial (or institutional) relations. [32] To add to this horror, when we scale up from the cartography of the mind to
the terrain of armed struggle and the political trials, we may be faced with a situation in which the eradication of the generative
mechanism of Black suffering is something that is not in anyone’s interest. Eradication of the generative mechanisms of Black
suffering explored in this article, is not in the interest of the court, as Justice Taney demonstrates as his ruling mobilizes the fantasy
of immigration to situate the Native American within political community and to insure the African’s standing as a genealogical
isolate. Taney’s majority decision suggests that juridical and political standing, like subjectivity itself, are not constituted by positive
attributes but by their capacity to sidestep niggerization. Nor is the eradication of the generative mechanisms of Black suffering in
the interests of the White political prisoners such a David Gilbert and Judith Clark, Kuwasi Balagoon’s codefendants—their
ideological opposition to the court, capitalism, and imperialism notwithstanding, because such ideological oppositions mark
conflicts within the world rather than an antagonism to the world. Eradication of the generative mechanisms of
Black suffering would mean the end of the world and they would find themselves peering into an
abyss (or incomprehensible transition) between epistemes; between, that is, the body of ideas
that determine that knowledge that is intellectually certain at any particular time. In other words, they
would find themselves suspended between worlds. This trajectory is too iconoclastic for working class, postcolonial, and/or radical feminist conceptual frameworks. The Human need to be liberated in the
world is not the same as the Black need to be liberated from the world; which is why even their
most radical cognitive maps draw borders between the living and the dead. Finally, if we push Marriott’s
findings to the wall, it becomes clear that eradication of the generative mechanisms of Black suffering is also not in the interests of
Black revolutionaries. For how can we disimbricate Black juridical and political desire from the Black psyche’s desire to destroy the
Black imago, a desire which constitutes the psyche? In short, bonding with Whites and non-Blacks over phobic reactions to the Black
imago provides the Black psyche with the only semblance of psychic integration it is likely to have: the need to destroy a Black imago
and love a White ideal. “In these circumstances, having a ‘white’ unconscious may be the only way to connect with—or even
contain—the overwhelming and irreparable sense of loss. The intruding fantasy offers the medium to connect with the lost internal
object, the ego, but there is also no ‘outside’ to this ‘real fantasy’ and the effects of intrusion are irreparable” (“Bonding over Phobia”
426). This raises the question, who is the speaking subject of Black insurgent testimony? Who bears witness when the Black
insurgent takes the stand? Black political horizons are singularly constrained, because the process through which the Black
unconscious emerges and through which Black people form psychic community with Humans is the very process which bars Black
people from political community.
The alternative is to burn it down – why stop at the aff – civil society is inseparable
from its foundation
Farley 4 (Anthony Paul, Associate Profess @ Albany Law School, “Perfecting Slavery”,
http://www.luc.edu/law/activities/publications/lljdocs/vol36_no1/farley.pdf, Accessed:
11/9/11, )
What is to be done? Two hundred years ago, when the slaves in Haiti rose up, they, of
necessity, burned everything: They burned San Domingo flat so that at the end of the
war it was a charred desert. Why do you burn everything? asked a French officer of a prisoner. We have a right to
burn what we cultivate because a man has a right to dispose of his own labour, was the reply of this unknown anarchist.48 The
slaves burned everything because everything was against them. Everything was against the
slaves, the entire order that it was their lot to follow, the entire order in which they were
positioned as worse than senseless things, every plantation, everything.49 “Leave nothing white
behind you,” said Toussaint to those dedicated to the end of white-overblack. 50 “God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more
water, the fire next time.”51 The slaves burned everything, yes, but, unfortunately, they only burned
everything in Haiti.52 Theirs was the greatest and most successful revolution in the history of
the world but the failure of their fire to cross the waters was the great tragedy of the
Nineteenth century.53 At the dawn of the Twentieth century, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, “The colorline belts the world.”54
Du Bois said that the problem of the Twentieth century was the problem of the colorline.55 The problem, now, at the dawn of the
Twenty-first century is the problem of the colorline. The colorline continues to belt the world. Indeed, the slave power
that is the United States now threatens an entire world with the death that it has become
and so the slaves of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, those with nothing but their chains
to lose, must, if they would be free, if they would escape slavery, win the entire world. win
the entire world. VIII. TRAINING We begin as children. We are called and we become our response to the call. Slaves are not
called. What becomes of them? What becomes of the broken-hearted? The slaves are divided souls, they are brokenhearted, the
slaves are split asunder by what they are called upon to become. The slaves are called upon to become objects but objecthood is
not a calling. The slave, then, during its loneliest loneliness, is divided from itself. This is schizophrenia. The slaves are not
called, or, rather, the slaves are called to not be. The slaves are called unfree and thus the living can never
be and so the slaves burst apart and die. The slaves begin as death, not as children, and death
is not a beginning but an end. There is no progress and no exit from the undiscovered
country of the slave, or so it seems. We are trained to think through a progress narrative, a
grand narrative, the grandest narrative, that takes us up from slavery. There is no up from
slavery. The progress from white-over-black to white-over-black to white-overblack. The progress of slavery runs in the
opposite direction of the past-present- future timeline. The slave only becomes the perfect slave at the end of
the timeline, only under conditions of total juridical freedom. It is only under conditions of
freedom, of bourgeois legality, that the slave can perfect itself as a slave by freely choosing to
bow down before its master. The slave perfects itself as a slave by offering a prayer for equal
rights. The system of marks is a plantation. The system of property is a plantation. The
system of law is a plantation. These plantations, all part of the same system, hierarchy,
produce white-overblack, white-over-black only, and that continually. The slave perfects itself
as a slave through its prayers for equal rights. The plantation system will not commit suicide
and the slave, as stated above, has knowing non-knowledge of this fact. The slave finds its
way back from the undiscovered country only by burning down every plantation. When the slave
prays for equal rights it makes the free choice to be dead, and it makes the free choice to not be.
***2NC ***
V.1 Overview
a. Remember to explain the thesis of the argument – it is very important to stress that the entire
state and civil society are rendered coherent by anti-blackness – this is an important uniqueness
question for debate on the permutation as well as the state good/reformism arguments
b. impact calculus should
-indict the idea of utilitarian calculation – IE whiteness renders white bodies as subject
meaning that they are worthy of being calculated in policies while the black body is rendered
non-human – this not only is a link but is also a reason why the impact calculus of the aff is
rooted in a racist paradigm of colonial calculation etc.
-doesn’t have to have a nuclear war explosion global warming econ collapse impact – this
is an argument about the way society functions – racial injustice is a prior question to other
alarmist issues created by the USA agenda to ignore gratuitous violence
c. link framing should be aff specific but also focus on just the advocacy/use of the state as
something that is capable of being redeemed
And, The objection that we cannot theorize because action must be taken now
trades off with a paradigmatic analysis of the past that is a pre-requsite for any
solvency for the kritik
Hartman 02, Professor of African American Literature and History Columbia University ,
02(Saidiya V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101,
Number 4, pp.757-777, CLF)
What is at stake here is more than exposing the artifice of historical barricades or the
tenuousness of temporal markers like the past and the present. By seizing hold of the past, one
illuminates the broken promises and violated contracts of the present. The disjuncture between what
David Scott has described as ‘‘that event’’ and ‘‘this memory,’’ beyond comprising an essential dimension
of belatedness, raises a host of questions about the use and relevance of the past, the political
and ethical valence of collective memory, and the relation between historical responsibility and
the contemporary crisis, whether understood in terms of amasochistic attachment to the past, the intransigence of racism,
or the intractable and enduring legacy of slavery.8 In other words, Africa as an atavistic land as well as the
character and consequences of an identification with Africa are mediated by way of the
experience of enslavement, and perhaps, even more important, by way of a backward glance at
U.S. history as well. That is, the identification with Africa is always already after the break. Added to this is the question
of whether Africa serves merely as a mirror that refracts the image of the United States, thereby
enabling the ‘‘returnee’’ to explore issues of home and identity with a measure of contemplative distance. Certainly, this is not
surprising when we take into account the way I which slavery and Africa function as ‘‘the
generative and constitutive points of reference’’ in continuist narratives of African-American history and cultural
survival.9 For this reason, it is important to disaggregate Africa and slavery in order to apprehend the
ways in which they come together. The journey to Elmina Castle, Ouidah, or Goree Island is first and foremost a way of
commemorating slavery at its purported site of origin, although one could just as easily travel to Portugal or visit the Vatican. The
paradox here is that the title to home and kin emerges only in the aftermath of the dislocation and death of the Middle Passage and
the social death of enslavement; in short, it is a response to the breach of separation. Kinship is precious by virtue of its dissolution,
and ‘‘wounded kinship’’ defines the diaspora.10 The pristine and idealized vision of home and kin is even more esteemed as a
consequence of its defilement. It is, in this way, not unlike virginity, which Faulkner observed ‘‘must depend upon its loss, its
absence to have existed at all.’’
V.2 Overview
Blackness = enslavement
The perceived axiom of “black = slave” destabilizes the black community
permanently
Sexton 10 (Jared, Assoc Prof of African American Studies @ UC Irvine, “People of Color
Blindness” p. 33-34)
Not all free persons are white (nor are they equal or equally free), but slaves are paradigmatically black.
And because blackness serves as the basis of enslavement in the logic of a transnational political
and legal culture, it permanently destabilizes the position of any nominally free black
population. Stuart Hall might call this the articulation of elements of a discourse, the production of a “non-necessary
correspondence” between the signifiers of racial blackness and slavery.27 But it is the historical materialization of
the logic of a transnational political and legal culture such that the contingency of its articulation
is generally lost to the infrastructure of the Atlantic world that provides Frank Wilderson a basis
for the concept of a “political ontology of race.”28 The United States provides the point of focus here, but the
dynamics under examination are not restricted to its bounds. Political ontology is not a
metaphysical notion, because it is the Social Text 103 • Summer 2010 37 explicit outcome of a politics and thereby available
to historic challenge through collective struggle. But it is not simply a description of a political status either,
even an oppressed political status, because it functions as if it were a metaphysical property
across the longue durée of the premodern, modern, and now postmodern eras. That is to say, the
application of the law of racial slavery is pervasive, regardless of variance or permutation in its
operation across the better part of a millennium.29 In Wilderson’s terms, the libidinal economy of antiblackness is
pervasive, regardless of variance or permutation in its political economy. In fact, the application of slave law among
the free (that is, the disposition that “with respect to the African shows no internal recognition of the libidinal costs of turning
human bodies into sentient flesh”) has outlived in the postemancipation world a certain form of its prior
operation — the property relations specific to the institution of chattel and the plantationbased agrarian economy in which it was
sustained. Hartman describes this in her 2007 memoir, Lose Your Mother, as the afterlife of slavery: “a measure of man and
a ranking of life and worth that has yet to be undone . . . a racial calculus and a political
arithmetic that were entrenched centuries ago.”30 On that note, it is not inappropriate to say that the
continuing application of slave law facilitated the reconfiguration of its operation with the
passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, rather than its abolition (in the
conventional reading) or even its circumscription “as punishment for crime whereof the party shall
have been duly convicted” (on the progressive reading of contemporary critics of the prisonindustrial complex). It is the paramount value of Loïc Wacquant’s historical sociology, especially
in Wilderson’s hands, that it provides a schema for tracking such reconfigurations of antiblackness “from slavery to mass imprisonment” without losing track of its structural
dimensions, its political ontology.31
U/X of Civil Society
Civil society is founded on the antagonism of whiteness and blackness – the
coherence of the state rests on racialized gratuitous violence
Wilderson 10 [Frank B., Associate Professor at UC Irvine, Red, White & Black: Cinema and
the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms, pages 29-31 ]
The three structuring positions of the United States (Whites, Indians, Blacks) are elaborated by a rubric of three
demands: the (White) demand for expansion, the (Indian) demand for return of the land, and
the (Black) demand for "flesh" reparation (Spillers). The relation between these positions
demarcates antagonisms and not conflicts because, as I have argued, they are the
embodiments of opposing and irreconcilable principles or forces that hold out no hope for
dialectical synthesis, and because they are relations that form the foundation on which all
subsequent conflicts in the Western Hemisphere are possible. In other words, the originary, or
ontological, violence that elaborates the Settler/Master, the "Savage," and the Slave
positions is foundational to the violence of class warfare, ethnic conflicts, immigrant battles,
and the women's liberation struggles of Settler/Masters. These antagonisms—whether
acknowledged through the conscious and empirical machinations of political
economy or painstakingly disavowed through what Jared Sexton terms the "imaginative
labor" of libidinal economy—render all other disputes as conflicts, or what Haunani-Kay
Trask calls "intra-settler discussions."40 As I stated above, in the 1960s and 1970s, as White
radicalism's discourse and political common sense found authorization in the
ethical dilemmas of embodied incapacity (the ontological status of Blacks as
accumulated and fungible objects), White cinema's proclivity to embrace
dispossession through the vectors of capacity (the ontological status of the Human as an exploited
and alienated subject) became profoundly disturbed. While many socially and politically engaged film scripts
and cinematic strategies did not surrender completely to incapacity (i.e., to the authority of the Slave's grammar of suffering),
many failed to assert the legitimacy of White ethical dilemmas (the supremacy of exploitation and alienation as a grammar of
suffering) with which cinema had been historically preoccupied.41 The period during which
COINTELPRO crushed the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army also
witnessed the flowering of Blackness's political power—not so much as institutional capacity
but as a Zeitgeist, a demand that authorized White radicalism. But by 1980 White
radicalism had comfortably re-embraced capacity without the threat of disturbance—it
returned to the discontents of civil society with the same formal tenacity as it had from 153242 to
1967, only now that formal tenacity was emboldened by a wider range of alibis than simply free
speech or the antiwar movement; it had, for example, the women's, gay, antinuclear,
environmental, and immigrants' rights movements as lines of flight from the absolute ethics
of Redness and Blackness. It was able to reform (reorganize) an unethical world and still sleep at
night. Today, such intrasettler discussions are the foundation of the "radical" agenda. At the beginning of the
twenty-first century, the irreconcilable demands embodied in the "Savage" and the Slave are
being smashed by the two stone-crushers of sheer force and liberal Humanist discourses such
as "access to institutionality," "meritocracy," "multiculturalism," and "diversity"—discourses that
proliferate exponentially across the political, academic, and cinematic landscapes. Given the violent state repression of Red,
White, and Black political movements in the 1960s and 1970s, and the forces of multiculturalism and neoliberalism in the 1980s
and 1990s, my project asks whether it is or ever was possible for the feature film, as institution and as text, to articulate a
political ethics that acknowledges the structure of U.S. antagonisms. Unlike radically unsettled settler societies, such as Israel
and pre-1994 South Africa, the structure of antagonisms is too submerged in the United States to
become a full-fledged discourse readily bandied about in civil society—the way a grammar is
submerged in speech. Film studies and socially engaged popular films constitute important terrains which, like other
institutions in the United States, work to disavow the structure of antagonisms; but they also provide interesting sites for what is
known in psychoanalysis as repetition compulsion and the return of the repressed.
***Links***
Civil Society
The belief stemming from anti-blackness of the present existence of a society
where racism must not exist due to the demise of slavery, perpetuates the
inequalities that stems from the very system that we partake in, a system built
upon anti-blackness
Sexton, 2011 (Jared, Associate professor at UC Irvine ‘The Curtain of the Sky’: An
introduction, p.14-16, KS)
That is to say, in the debate about the colonial policy of assimilation and its discontents, a debate in which Mannoni and Fanon intervene respectively,
it is slavery and the particular freedom struggle it engenders that mark the critical difference.
Slavery: that which reduces ‘colonial peoples to a molten state’ uniquely enabling the
metropolitan power ‘to pour them into a new mould’, a process in which ‘the personality of the
native is first destroyed through uprooting, enslavement, and the collapse of the social structure’
(Mannoni 1990: 27). For Mannoni, ‘assimilation is only practicable where an individual has been isolated from his group, wrenched from his
environment and transplanted else- where’ (Mannoni 1990: 27, emphasis added). Fanon’s historical materialist redaction of Mannoni’s psychology of
the colonial relation is to refuse the latter’s projection of the ‘affective disorders’ produced by colonization into a pre-colonial cultural eternity. Not so
much, perhaps, because such projection would have the Malagasy desire her own colonizer (like the Inca who Mannoni suggests desires her own
conquistador in an earlier historical period), but because the contradictions of colonization might provide an even more problematic recommendation
for ‘the introduction of slavery’ (Mannoni 1990: 27). To
suffer the loss of political sovereignty, the exploitation of
labor, the dispossession of land and resources is deplorable; yet, we might say in this light that
to suffer colonization is unenviable unless one is enslaved. One may not be free, but one is at
least not enslaved. More simply, we might say of the colonized: you may lose your motherland,
but you will not ‘lose your mother’ (Hartman 2007). The latter condition, the ‘social death’
under which kinship is denied entirely by the force of law, is reserved for the ‘natal alienation’
and ‘genealogical isolation’ characterizing slavery. Here is Orlando Patterson, from his
encyclopedic 1982 Slavery and Social Death: I prefer the term ‘natal alienation’ because it goes
directly to the heart of what is critical in the slave’s forced alienation, the loss of ties of birth in
both ascending and descending generations. It also has the important nuance of a loss of native
status, of deracination. It was this alienation of the slave from all formal, legally enforceable ties
of ‘blood,’ and from any attachment to groups or localities other than those chosen for him [sic]
by the master, that gave the relation of slavery its peculiar value to the master. The slave was the
ultimate human tool, as imprintable and as disposable as the master wished. And this was true,
at least in theory, of all slaves, no matter how elevated. (Patterson 1982: 7–8) True even if elevated by the income and
formal education of the mythic American middle class, the celebrity of a Hollywood icon, or the political position of the so-called Leader of the Free
World.4The
alienation and isolation of the slave is not only vertical, canceling ties to past and
future generations and rendering thereby the notion of ‘descen- dants of slaves’ as a strict
oxymoron. It is also a horizontal prohibition, canceling ties to the slave’s contemporaries as well.
Reduced to a tool, the deracination of the slave, as Mannoni and Fanon each note in their turn,
is total, more fundamental even than the displacement of the colonized, whose status obtains in
a network of persecuted human relations rather than in a collection or dispersal of a class of
things. Crucially, this total deracination is strictly correlative to the ‘absolute submission
mandated by [slave] law’ discussed rigorously in Saidiya Hartman’s 1997 Scenes of Subjection:
the slave estate is the most perfect example of the space of purely formal obedience defining the
jurisdictional field of sovereignty (Agamben 2000). Because the forced submission of the slave is absolute, any signs whatsoever of
‘reasoning … intent and rationality’ are recognized ‘solely in the context of criminal liability’. That is, ‘the slave’s will [is] acknowledged only as it [is]
prohibited or punished’ (Hartman 1997: 82, emphasis added). A criminal will, a criminal reasoning, a criminal intent, a criminal rationality: with these
erstwhile human capacities construed as indices of culpability before the law, even the potentiality of slave resistance is rendered illegitimate and
illegible a priori. The
disqualification of black resistance by the logic of racial slavery is not unrelated
to the longstanding cross-racial phenomenon in which the white bourgeois and proletarian
revolutions on both sides of the Atlantic can allegorize themselves as revolts against slavery,
while the hemispheric black struggle against actually existing slavery cannot authorize itself
literally in those same terms. The latter must code itself as the apotheosis of the French and
American revolutions (with their themes of Judeo-Christian deliverance) or, later, the Russian
and Chinese revolutions (with their themes of secular messianic trans- formation) or, later still,
the broad anti-colonial movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America of the mid-20th century
(with their themes of indigenous reclamation and renaissance).5One of the defining features of
contemporary political and intellectual culture remains this metaphoric transfer that
appropriates black suffering as the template for non-black grievances, while it misrecognizes the
singularity of black struggles against racial slavery and what Loïc Wacquant calls its ‘functional
surrogates’ or what Hartman terms its ‘afterlife’. Put differently, ‘the occult presence of racial
slavery’ continues to haunt our political imagination: ‘nowhere, but nevertheless everywhere, a
dead time which never arrives and does not stop arriving’ (Marriott 2007: xxi). Hartman’s
notion of slavery’s afterlife and Wacquant’s theorization of slavery’s functional surrogates are
two productive recent attempts to name the interminable terror of slavery, but we are still very
much within the crisis of language – of thinking and feeling, seeing and hearing – that slavery
provokes. Both scholars challenge the optimistic idea of a residual ‘legacy’ of slavery, precisely because it requires the untenable demarcation of an
historic end in Emancipation. The relations of slavery live on, Hartman might say, after the death knell of formal abolition, mutating into ‘the burdened
individuality of freedom’. The functions of the chattel system are largely maintained, Wacquant might say, despite the efforts of Reconstruction,
preserved in surrogate institutional form under Jim Crow, the ghetto, and the prison. Slavery lives on, it survives, despite the grand attempts on its
institutional life forged by the international movements against slavery, segregation and mass imprisonment (Davis 2003). But what if slavery does not
die, as it were, because it is immortal, but rather because it is non-mortal, because it has neverlived, at least not in the psychic life of power? What if the
source of slavery’s longevity is not its resilience in the face of opposition, but the obscurity of its existence? Not the accumulation of its political capital,
but the illegibility of its grammar? On this account, for those that bear the mark of slavery – the trace of blackness – to speak is to sound off without
foundation, to appear as a ghost on the threshold of the visible world, a spook retaining (only) the negative capacity to absent the presence, or negate
the will to presence, of every claim to human being, even perhaps the fugi- tive movement of stolen life explored masterfully by Fred Moten (2008). We
might rethink as well the very fruitful notion of ‘fugitive justice’ that shapes the prize-winning 2005 special issue of Representations on ‘Redress’. Coeditors Saidiya Hartman and Stephen Best are posing the right question: ‘How
does one compensate for centuries of
violence that have as their consequence the impossibility of restoring a prior existence, of giving
back what was taken, of repairing what was broken?’ (Hartman and Best 2005: 2) That is to say,
they are thinking about ‘the question of slavery in terms of the incomplete nature of abolition’,
‘the contemporary predicament of freedom’ (2005: 5, emphasis added). Yet, the notion
subsequently developed of a fugitive life ‘lived in loss’ – spanning the split difference between
grievance and grief, remedy and redress, law and justice, hope and resignation – relies
nonetheless on an outside, however improbable or impossible, as the space of possibility, of
movement, of life. Returning to our schematization of Fanon, we can say that the outside is a
concept embedded in the problématique of colonization and its imaginary topography, indeed,
the fact that it can imagine topographically at all. But, even if the freedom dreams of the black
radical imagination do conjure images of place (and to do here does not imply that onecan in
either sense of the latter word: able or permitted); what both the fact of blackness and the lived
experience of the black name for us, in their discrepant registers, is an anti-black world for
which there is no outside. ‘The language of race developed in the modern period and in the context of the slave trade’ (Hartman 2007:
5). And if that context is our context and that context is the world, then this is the principal insight revealed by the contemporary predicament of
freedom: there is no such thing as a fugitive slave.
Anti-blackness has built a society where blackness is synonymous with slaveness,
implicity enslaving blacks within everyday society, this oppression ontologically
murders blacks in a way that outweighs other forms of oppression
Sexton, 2011
(Jared, Associate professor at UC Irvine ‘The Curtain of the Sky’: An introduction, p.14-16, KS)
‘The political ontology of race’ is a phrase borrowed from work of political theorist Frank B. Wilderson, III, where it has been
elaborated from his 2003 Social Identities article, ‘Gramsci’s Black Marx’, to his 2008 American Book Award-winning
memoir,Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid, and his forthcoming Red, White, and Black: Cinema and the Structure of US
Antagonisms. Drawing heavily upon Gordon and Fanon, alongside the early Patterson, the ongoing research of Wacquant on the
four ‘peculiar institutions’ that have ‘operated to define, confine, and control African Americans in the history of the United States’
(Wacquant 2002: 41), and an array of noted literary critics and historians (e.g. David Eltis, Lindon Barrett, Saidiya Hartman, Ronald
A.T. Judy, David Marriott, Hortense Spillers); Wilderson supplants the paradigm of comparative ethnic and
racial studies in two principle ways. First, by moving conceptually from the empirical to the
structural, especially insofar as the question of differential racialization – or the compli- cations
of racial hierarchy – makes recourse to a comparative sociology, measuring relative rates of
infant mortality, poverty, illiteracy, high school graduation, hate crimes, impris- onment,
electoral participation, and so on. Second, by reframing racism (pace Fanon) as a social
relationship that is grounded in anti-blackness rather than white supremacy. What Wilderson
demonstrates at length is that ‘the racialization of the globe’ (Dikötter 2008) or the formation of the
‘world racial system’ (Winant 2002) does not adhere strictly to Du Bois’s thesis on the color line –
‘the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men [sic] in Asia and Africa, in America and the
islands of the sea’ – in which ‘Negro slavery’ is referred to as but one ‘phase’ of a general
problem. Rather, slavery establishes the vestibule of the category of the Human. To be sure,
Humans do not live under con- ditions of equality in the modern world. In fact, modernity is, to
a large degree, marked by societies structured in dominance: patriarchy and white supremacy,
settler colonialism and extra-territorial conquest, imperialist warfare and genocide, class
struggle and the international division of labor. Yet, for Wilderson, there is a qualitative
difference, an ontological one, between the inferiorization or dehumanization of the masses of
people ‘in Asia … in America and the islands of the sea’, including the colonization of their land
and resources, the exploitation of their labor and even their extermination in whole or in part,
and the singular com- modification of human being pursued under racial slavery, that structure
of gratuitous violence in which bodies are rendered as flesh to be accumulated and
exchanged.7On this score, we should note that ‘the absolute submission mandated by law was
not simply that of slave to his or her owner, but the submission of the enslaved before all whites’
(Hartman 1997: 83). The latter group is perhaps better termed all non-blacks (or the unequally
arrayed category of non-blackness), because it is racial blackness as a necessary condition for
enslavement that matters most, rather than whiteness as a sufficient condition for freedom. The
structural position of the Indian slaveholder – or, for that matter, the smattering of free black
slaveholders in the USA or the slaveholding mulatto elite in the Caribbean – is a case in point
(Blackburn 1997; Koger 2006; Miles and Holland 2006). Freedom from the rule of slave law requires only that
one be considered non-black, whether that non-black racial designation be ‘white’ or ‘Indian’ or,
in the rare case, ‘Oriental’ – this despite the fact that each of these groups have at one point or
another labored in conditions similar to or contiguous with enslaved African-derived groups. In
other words, it is not labor relations, but propertyrelations that are constitutive of slavery. To
repeat: not all free persons are white (nor are they equal or equally free), but slaves are
paradigmatically black. Because blackness serves as the basis of enslavement in the logic of a
transnational political and legal culture, it permanently destabilizes the position of any
nominally free black population. Stuart Hall might call this the articulation of elements of a discourse, the production of
a ‘non-necessary correspondence’ between the signifiers of blackness and slavery (Hall 1996). But it is the historical materialization
of the logic of a transnational political and legal culture such that the contingency of its articulation is generally lost to the
infrastructure of the Atlantic world that provides Wilderson a basis for the concept of a political ontology of race that locates the
color line vis-a-vis slavery: black/non-black rather than white/non-white. The USA provides the point of focus here,
but the dynamics under examination are not restricted to its bounds. Political ontology is not a
metaphysical notion, because it is the explicit outcome of a politics and thereby available to
historic challenge through collective struggle. But it is not simply a description of a political
status either, even an oppressed or subjugated political status, because it functions as if it were a
metaphysical property across the longue durée of the pre-modern, modern and now postmodern
eras. That is to say, borrowing a distinction from Jürgen Habermas, the application of the law of racial slavery is
pervasive, regardless of variance or permutation in its operation across the better part of a
millennium (Habermas 1985).8 In Wilderson’s terms, the libidinal economy of anti-blackness is pervasive, regardless of
variance or permutation in its political economy.9 In fact, the application of slave law among the free (i.e. the disposition that ‘with
respect to the African shows no internal recognition of the libidinal costs of turning human bodies into sentient flesh’) has out- lived
in the post-emancipation world a certain form of its prior operation – the property relations specific to the institution of chattel and
the plantation-based agrarian economy in which it was sustained. As noted, Hartman describes this in her memoir as the afterlife of
slavery: ‘a measure of man and a ranking of life and worth that has yet to be undone … a racial calculus and a political arithmetic
that were entrenched centuries ago’ (Hartman 2007: 6). On that score, it is not inappropriate to say that the
continuing application of slave law facilitated thereconfiguration of its operation with the
passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, rather than its abolition (on the
conventional reading) or even its circumscription ‘as punishment for crime whereof the party
shall have been duly convicted’ (on the progressive reading of contemporary critics of the
prison- industrial complex). It is one of the great values of Wacquant’s work, especially in
Wilderson’s hands, that it provides an historical schema for tracking such reconfigurations ‘from
slavery to mass incarceration’ without losing track of the structural dimension.10 The challenge
for all subsequent scholarship in the overlapping fields of the sociology of race and ethnic and
racial studies is to orient itself within this theoretical horizon if it is to attain what is most
essential.
Color Blindness
White people attempt to hide whiteness see themselves as non-raced
Dyer ’97 (Richard, , Professor of Film Studies at Kings College, Matter of Whiteness, P. 2, ESB)
There is no more powerful position than that of being ‘just’ human. The claim to power is the
claim to speak for the commonality of humanity. Raced people can’t do that - they can only
speak for their race.2 But non-raced people can, for they do not represent the interests of a race.
The point of seeing the racing of whites is to dislodge them/us from the position of power, with
all the inequities, oppression, privileges and sufferings in its train, dislodging them/us by
undercutting the authority with which they/ we speak and act in and on the world.The sense of
whites as non-raced is most evident in the absence of reference to whiteness in the habitual
speech and writing of white people in the West. We (whites) will speak of, say, the blackness or Chineseness of
friends, neighbours, colleagues, customers or clients, and it may be in the most genuinely friendly and accepting manner, but we
don’t mention the whiteness of the white people we know. An old-style white comedian will often start a joke: ‘There’s this bloke
walking down the street and he meets this black geezer’, never thinking to race the bloke as well as the geezer. Synopses in listings of
films on TV, where wordage is tight, none the less squander words with things like: ‘Comedy in which a cop and his black sidekick
investigate a robbery’, ‘Skinhead Johnny and his Asian lover Omar set up a laundrette’, ‘Feature film from a promising Native
American director’ and so on. Since all white people in the West do this all the time, it would be invidious to quote actual examples,
and so I shall confine myself to one from my own writing. In an article on lesbian and gay stereotypes (Dyer 1993b), I discuss the fact
that there can be variations on a type such as the queen or dyke. In the illustrations which accompany this point, I compare a
‘fashion queen’ from the film Irtne with a ‘black queen’ from Car Wash - the former, white image is not raced, whereas all the
variation of the latter is reduced to his race. Moreover, this is the only non-white image referred to in the article, which does not
however point out that all the other images discussed are white. In this, as in the other white examples in this paragraph, the fashion
queen is, racially speaking, taken as being just human. This assumption that white people are just people,
which is not far off saying that whites are people whereas other colours are something else, is
endemic to white culture. Some of the sharpest criticism of it has been aimed at those who
would think themselves the least racist or white supremacist, bell hooks, for instance, has noted
how amazed and angry white liberals become when attention is drawn to their whiteness, when
they are seen by non-white people as white.
The invisibility of whiteness leads to a false sense of individual achievement: we
need to see whiteness as privilege
Dyer ’97 (Richard, Professor of Film Studies at Kings College, Matter of Whiteness, P. 9, ESB)
It is this privilege and dominance that is at stake in analysing white racial imagery.¶ McIntosh
starts from the recognition that white people don’t see their white privilege, which acts like ‘an
invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks,
passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear and blank cheques’ (ibid.: 1-2). The invisibility of these
assets is part and parcel of the sense that whiteness is nothing in particular, that white culture and identity
have, as it were, no content. This is one of the feelings most commonly expressed by the white women interviewed by Ruth
Frankenberg in her study of white identity'. She notes that ‘many of the women said that they “did not have a culture”’ (Frankenberg
1993: 192): culture, distinctive identity', one might say colour, tended to be felt as add-ons to an identity that is not itself dis¬tinctive
or coloured, that lacks ‘flavour’ (ibid.: 197). As one woman (Cathy Thomas) vividly and wittily put it, ‘To be a Heinz 57 American, a
white, class-confused American, land of the Kleenex type American, is so formless in and of itself (ibid.: 191),¶ Having no
content, we can’t see that we have anything that accounts for our position of privilege and
power. This is itself crucial to the security with which wc occupy that position. As Peggy' McIntosh
argues, a white person is taught to believe that all that she or he does, good and ill, all that we
achieve, is to be accounted for in terms of our individuality. It is intolerable to realise that we
may get a job or a nice house, or a helpful response at school or in hospitals, because of our skin
colour, not because of the unique, achieving individual we must believe ourselves to be.¶ But this
then is why it is important to come to see whiteness. For those in power in the West, as long as
whiteness is felt to be the human condi¬tion, then it alone both defines normality and fully
inhabits it. As I suggested in my opening paragraphs, the equation of being white with being human secures a position of power.
White people have power and believe that they think, feel and act like and for all
people; white people, unable to see their particularity, cannot take account of
other people’s; white people create the dominant images of the world and don’t
quite see that they thus construct the world in their own image; white people set
standards of humanity by which they are bound to succeed and others bound to
fail. Most of this is not done deliberately and maliciously; there are enormous variations of power amongst white people, to do
with class, gender and other factors; goodwill is not unheard of in white people’s engagement with others.
White power none the less reproduces itself regardless of intention, power differences and
goodwill, and overwhelm¬ingly because it is not seen as whiteness, but as normal. White people
need to learn to see themselves as white, to see their particularity. In other words, whiteness
needs to be made strange.¶ There is a political need to do this, but there are also problematic
political feelings attendant on it, which need to be briefly signalled in order to be guarded
against. The first of these is the green light problem. Writing about whiteness gives white people the go-ahead to write and talk
about what in any case we have always talked about: ourselves. In, at any rate, intellectual and educational life in the West in recent
years there have been challenges to the dominance of white concerns and a concomitant move towards inclusion of non-white
cultures and issues. Putting whiteness on the agenda now might permit a sigh of relief that we white people don’t after all any longer
have to take on all this non-white stuff.
Color Line
The colorline originates from and is justified by the spectacle created by whites—
blacks are born into a system in which whites prevent them from crossing the
colorline—the whites demand spectacles to create black inferiority.
Farley 99 (Anthony Paul, Boston College Law School professor, 7/1/99, “Black Men on Race,
Gender, and Sexuality”, New York University Press, 7/6/14, AX)
Let the black body choose to attack itself through crime and watch as infinite resources are made
available to educate its self-hatred. A prosectutor and a defense lawyer, a judge and a court recorder, a psychiatrist and
a probation officer, a U.S. marshall and a city detective, a jury of near-peers and a galley of friends and strangers, and oak-lined
courtroom in a beautiful courthouse, and, finally, a room of one’s own in prison will all be made available, for free,
to the black body that heeds its mater’s voice and turns against itself through crime. This
process educates the black body that it is criminal—the criminal justice system produces
recidivism and nothing else. Thus, the system produces the very spectacle—black criminality—
upon which it relies to justify its existence. ¶ These twins—“Sambo” (the Minstrel) and “Bigger Thomas” (the
Criminal)—are both fictions made flesh only by the process of spectacularization. The spectacle is both the origin and
the justification of the colorline. Things could not be otherwise, for it is only by means of the
spectacle that whites become and remain white. And it is only by means of the spectacle that
blacks become and remain black. Each of these colors is a script that we are forced to perform. ¶
The race-pleasure experienced by whites is a sadistic pleasure in that it can be produced only by
the pain experienced by those whom the system marks as black. Under classic segregation, signs such as
“Whites Only” accomplished the marking. Under modern neosegregation, the segregated are made to mark
themselves. I am speaking today of millions of bodies made to perform the work of spectacle production by a nation addicted to
whiteness. How does the ordeal work? Urban areas are first stript-mined of opportunities of any kind of left, quite literally,
toxic with lead paint, carbon dioxide, rat and roach fecal matter, and a host of other organic and inorganic
pathogens. These urban areas, defoliated as if to reveal some secret Ho Chi Minh trail, are then marked as
bantustans for black. I call these areas, collectively, the Neocolony or Golgotha. Black bodies are then banished, like
lepers, to the Neocolony. Not every black body resides in the Neocolony; however, those that exist in other sites
are, like plague victims in the Middle Ages, quarantined. Let a black body move through a whiteidentified space and watch the enforces of the quarantine, police and private citizens alike, move into
action and use their prophylactic suspicious to prevent the black plague from crossing the
colorline. Thus the stage is set for peculiar passion play required of blacks by whites, the performance of spectacle. ¶ The
colorline is the boundary of a site of production: the Neocolony is not simply a wasteland. The Neocolony, which simultaneously
exists in the nonspaces of banishment and quarantine is a factory. The black body is made to produce the spectacle
of its own degradation. The bodies within the Neocolony are turned, each against the other, by
the very desperation of the situation. In a mass surrender to their torturers they often become that which
their masters require them to be: inferior. Black criminality and black incompetence are
not accidents; rather they are demands. We should think of them as production orders, or stage directions, from
white America to the Neocolony. ¶
Democracy
The Black Subject's Absence from all State or Capital Formations Functions as the
Basis of the American Democracy but Kills and Exploits Itself. Moreover, it Calls
Into Question Productivity
Wilderson, 03 (Frank, “Gramsci's Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society” an
American writer, dramatist, filmmaker and critic. He is a full professor of Drama and African
American studies at the University of California, Irvine. Pp. 6-8, AF)
The value of reintroducing the unthought category of the slave, by way of noting the absence of the Black
subject, lies in the Black subject’s potential for extending the demand placed on state/capital
formations because its reintroduction into the discourse expands the intensity of the
antagonism. In other words, the slave makes a demand, which is in excess of the demand made by the worker. The worker
demands that productivity be fair and democratic (Gramsci's new hegemony, Lenin's dictatorship of the
proletariat), the slave, on the other hand, demands that production stop; stop without recourse to its
ultimate democratization. Work is not an organic principle for the slave. The absence of Black
subjectivity from the crux of marxist discourse is symptomatic of the discourse's inability to cope with the
possibility that the generative subject of capitalism, the Black body of the 15th and 16th centuries, and the
generative subject that resolves late-capital's over-accumulation crisis, the Black (incarcerated)
body of the 20th and 21st centuries, do not reify the basic categories which structure marxist conflict: the
categories of work, production, exploitation, historical self-awareness and, above all, hegemony. If, by way of the Black
subject, we consider the underlying grammar of the question What does it mean to be free? that
grammar being the question What does it mean to suffer? then we come up against a grammar of
suffering not only in excess of any semiotics of exploitation, but a grammar of suffering beyond signification
itself, a suffering that cannot be spoken because the gratuitous terror of White supremacy is as
much contingent upon the irrationality of White fantasies and shared pleasures as it is upon a
logic—the logic of capital. It extends beyond texualization. When talking about this terror, Cornel West
uses the term “black invisibility and namelessness” to designate, at the level of ontology, what we are calling
a scandal at the level of discourse. He writes: [America's] unrelenting assault on black humanity
produced the fundamental condition of black culture -- that of black invisibility and
namelessness. On the crucial existential level relating to black invisibility and namelessness, the first difficult challenge and
demanding discipline is to ward off madness and discredit suicide as a desirable option. A central preoccupation of black
culture is that of confronting candidly the ontological wounds, psychic scars, and existential
bruises of black people while fending off insanity and selfannihilation. This is why the "ur-text" of
black culture is neither a word nor a book, not and architectural monument or a legal brief. Instead, it is a guttural cry and a
wrenching moan -- a cry not so much for help as for home, a moan less out of complaint than for recognition. (8081) Thus, the Black subject position in America is an antagonism, a demand that can not be
satisfied through a transfer of ownership/organization of existing rubrics; whereas the Gramscian
subject, the worker, represents a demand that can indeed be satisfied by way of a successful War of
Position, which brings about the end of exploitation. The worker calls into question the legitimacy
of productive practices, the slave calls into question the legitimacy of productivity itself. From the
positionality of the worker the question, What does it mean to be free? is raised. But the question hides the process by which the
discourse assumes a hidden grammar which has already posed and answered the question,
What does it mean to suffer? And that grammar is organized around the categories of exploitation
(unfair labor relations or wage slavery). Thus, exploitation (wage slavery) is the only category of oppression which concerns
Gramsci: society, Western society, thrives on the exploitation of the Gramscian subject. Full stop. Again,
this
is inadequate, because it would call White supremacy "racism" and articulate it as a derivative
phenomenon of the capitalist matrix, rather than incorporating White supremacy as a matrix
constituent to the base, if not the base itself. What I am saying is that the insatiability of the
slave demand upon existing structures means that it cannot find its articulation within the
modality of hegemony (influence, leadership, consent)—the Black body can not give its consent because
“generalized trust,” the precondition for the solicitation of consent, “equals racialized whiteness ”
(Lindon Barrett). Furthermore, as Orland Patterson points out, slavery is natal alienation by way of social death ,
which is to say that a slave has no symbolic currency or material labor power to exchange: a
slave does not enter into a transaction of value (however asymmetrical) but is subsumed by direct
relations of force, which is to say that a slave is an articulation of a despotic irrationality whereas the worker is an articulation
of a symbolic rationality. White supremacy’s despotic irrationality is as foundational to American
institutionality as capitalism’s symbolic rationality because, as Cornel West writes, it… …dictates the limits
of the operation of American democracy -- with black folk the indispensable sacrificial lamb vital
to its sustenance. Hence black subordination constitutes the necessary condition for the
flourishing of American democracy, the tragic prerequisite for America itself. This is, in part, what
Richard Wright meant when he noted, "The Negro is America's metaphor." (72) And it is well known that a
metaphor comes into being through a violence which kills, rather than merely exploits, the
object, that the concept might live. West's interventions help us see how marxism can only come to grips
with America's structuring rationality -- what it calls capitalism, or political economy; but cannot
come to grips with America's structuring irrationality: the libidinal economy of White
supremacy, and its hyper-discursive violence which kills the Black subject that the concept, civil society,
may live. In other words, from the incoherence of Black death, America generates the coherence of
White life. This is important when thinking the Gramscian paradigm (and its progenitors in the world of U.S. social movements
today) which is so dependent on the empirical status of hegemony and civil society: struggles over hegemony are
seldom, if ever, asignifying—at some point they require coherence, they require categories for the
record—which means they contain the seeds of anti-Blackness. Let us illustrate this by way of a hypothetical
scenario. In the early part of the 20th century, civil society in Chicago grew up, if you will, around emerging industries such as meat
packing. In his notes on “Americanism and Fordism” (280-314), Gramsci explores the “scientific management” of Taylorism, the
prohibition on alcohol, and Fordist interventions into the working class family, which formed the ideological, value-laden grid of
civil society in places like turn of the century Chicago:
Education
The Modern Educational System Reentrenches the White-Over-Black System and
Continues to Shield the Persistence of Institutionalized Racism
Farley 5, Anthony. Prof. Farley specializes in Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and Legal Theory. Taught at Boston
College Before Teaching at Albany “Perfecting Slavery” Page 230-231
Slavery, our slavery, begins and ends with white-over-black. It sometimes seems that we have moved away from the
tyranny, from the terror, from slavery’s death to some New England town meeting that includes, or will quite soon include, the souls
of all those hitherto enslaved black folk. 27 It sometimes seems to some of us that we are on the verge of
some great gettin’ up mornin’ in which the dead will awaken, the many thousands gone will return, and all
will be right as rain, right as rain and without the thunder. We are said to have moved from slavery to segregation to
neosegregation. Free at last! Free at last! Free at last! Or so our masters tell us. But the fire bell is still ringing in the
night, somewhere behind the wall of sleep, and all is not as it seems in the Promised Land of the
Civil Rights Movement dream. Before the morning is night and memory and forgetting will not let us simply declare things to be
alright. Slavery is white-over-black. Segregation is white-over-black. Neosegregation is white-over-black. The movement, then,
from slavery to segregation to neosegregation, from the so-called past to the so-called present, from then to now,
is movement from white-over-black to whiteover-black to white-over-black, and that is not movement. That
is the motionlessness of death. The so-called Civil Rights Movement has taken us from white-over-black to white-over-
black to white-overblack. White-over-black, whatever its juridical designation, is slavery. Slavery is death. The end, death, requires a
beginning. White-overblack begins where it ends. White-over-black begins with death. Education is where we begin. We begin
after we are called. We are called and that is when and how we all begin. There is a calling. We are called upon to be. We
can only be by becoming. What we become depends upon the calling that we choose to follow.
We become the calling that we make our own. Jonathan Kozol writes of education in the neosegregated, postBrown v. Board of Education era as “death at an early age.” 29 White-over-black is death at an early age. Slaves are not called.
Slavery is death. Education is where this death begins. 28
Embodiment
By trying to put yourself in the body of a black person you are putting yourself in
control of the body which leads to the exploitation and forcible whiteness of the
slave.
Hartman, 3. (professor at Columbia University specializing in African American literature and
history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC Irvine, Saidiya and
Frank B, published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought, pg 185-186)
Right. You know, as I was writing Scenes of Subjection, ¶ S. VH. - ¶ there was a whole spate of books on nineteenth-century culture ¶
and on minstrelsy in particular. And there was a certain sense in ¶ which the ability to occupy blackness
was considered transgressive ¶ or as a way of refashioning whiteness, and there were all these rad ¶ ical
claims that were being made for it.14 And I thought, "Oh, no, ¶ this is just an extension of the master's prerogative." It doesn't mat ¶
ter whether you do good or you do bad, the crux is that you can ¶ choose to do what you wish with the black body. That's why think ¶
ing about the dynamics of enjoyment in terms of the material rela ¶ tions of slavery was so key for me.¶ F.W -Yes, that's clarifying. A
body that you can do what you want¶ with. In your discussion of the body as the property of enjoyment, ¶ what I
really like is when you talk about Rankin. Here's a guy¶ like the prototypical twentieth-century white
progressive¶ anti-slavery and uses his powers of observation to write for its abo¶ lition, even to his
slave-owning brother. He's in the South, he's¶ looking at a slave coffle, and he imagines that these slaves being¶
beaten could be himself and his family. Through this process it¶ makes sense to him, it becomes
meaningful. His body and his fam¶ ily members' white bodies become proxies for real enslaved
black ¶ bodies and, as you point out, the actual object of identification, the ¶ slave, disappears.¶
S.V.H. - I think that gets at one of the fundamental ethical ques ¶ tions/problems/crises for the West:
the status of difference and the ¶ status of the other. It's as though in order to come to any recogni ¶
tion of common humanity, the other must be assimilated, meaning ¶ in this case, utterly
displaced and effaced: "Only if I can see myself ¶ in that position can I understand the crisis of
that position." That is ¶ the logic of the moral and political discourses we see everyday ¶ the need for the innocent
black subject to be victimized by a racist ¶ state in order to see the racism of the racist state. You
have to be ¶ exemplary in your goodness, as opposed to .. . ¶ F.W. - ¶ [laughter] A nigga on the warpath! ¶ S. V.H. - ¶ Exactly! For me it
was those moments that were the most¶ - the moments of the sympathetic ally, who in some ways¶ telling ¶
is actually no more able to see the slave than the person who is ¶ exploiting him or her as their
property. That is the work Rankin ¶ does and I think it suggests just how ubiquitous that kind of
vio ¶ lence, in fact, is.
Exploration
The desire to explore the unknown is intimately tied to the desire to execute
violence against the unknown – the 1ac’s act of exploration carries with it a history
soaked in the blood of the middle passage
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, 1987, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor @ Vanderbilt University
The John Hopkins University Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar
Book”, http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/8/14, KM)
Turning directly to this source, we discover what we had not expected to find – that this aspect of the
search is rendered problematic and that observations of a field of manners and its related
sociometries are an outgrowth of the industry of the “exterior other” [Todorv 3], called
“anthropology” later on. The European males who laded and captained these galleys and who
policed and corralled these human beings, in hundreds of vessels from Liverpool to Elmina, to Jamaica;
from the Cayenne Islands, to the ports at Charleston and Salem, and for three centuries of human life, were not
curious about this “cargo” that bled, packed like so many live sardines among the immovable
objects. Such inveterate obscene blindness might be denied, point blank, as a possibility for anyone, except
that we know it happened. ¶ Donna’s first volume covers three centuries of European discovery and conquest, beginning
50 years before pious Cristobal, Christum Ferens, the bearer of Christ, laid claim to what he thought was the “indies.” From Gomes
Eannes de Azurara’s Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, 1441-1448” [Donnan 1:18-41], we learn that the Portuguese
probably gain the dubious distinction of having introduced black Africans to the European market of servitude. We are also
reminded that “Geography” is not a divine gift. Quite to the contrary, its boundaries were shifted during the
European “Age of Conquest” in giddy desperation, according to the dictates of conquering armies, the edicts of prelates,
the peculiar myopia of the medieval Christian mind. Looking for the “Nile River,” for example, according to the fifteenthcentury Portuguese notion, is someone’s joke. For all that the pre-Columbian “explorers” knew about the sciences of
navigation and geography, we are surprised that more parties of them did not end up “discovering” Europe. Perhaps, from a
certain angle, that is precisely all that they found – an alternative reading of ego. The
Portuguese, having little idea where the Nile ran, at least understood right away that there were men
and women darker-skinned than themselves, but they were not specifically knowledgeable, or ingenious, about the
various families and groupings represented by them. De Azurara records encounters with “Moors,” “Mooresses,” “Mulattoes,” and
people “black as Ethiops” [1:28], but it seems that the “Land of Guinea,” or of “Black Men,” or of “The Negros” [1:35] was located
anywhere southeast of Cape Verde, the Canaries, and the River Senegal, looking at an eighteenth-century European version of the
subsarharan Continent along the West African coast [1:frontispiece]. ¶ Three genetic distinctions are available to the Portuguese eye,
all along the riffs of melanin in the skin: in a field of captives, some of the observed are “white enough, fair to look upon, and wellproportioned.” Others are less “white like mulattoes,” and still others “black as Ethiops, and so ugly, both in features and in body, as
almost to appear (to those who saw them) the images of a lower hemisphere” [1:28]. By implication, this “third man,” standing for
the most aberrant phenotype to the observing eye, embodies the linguistic community most unknown to the European. Arabic
translators among the Europeans could at least “talk” to the “Moors” and instruct them to ransom themselves, or else… ¶ Typically,
there is in this grammar of description the perspective of “declension,” not of simultaneity, and its
point of initiation is solipsistic – it begins with a narrative self, in an apparent unity of feeling, and unlike
Equiano, who also saw “ugly” when he looked out, this collective self uncovers the means by which to
subjugate the “foreign code of conscience,” whose most easily remarkable and irremediable
difference is perceived in skin color. By the time of De Azurara’s mid-fifteenth century narrative and a century and a
half before Shakespeare’s “old black ram” of an Othello “tups” that “white ewe” of a Desdemona, the magic of skin color is already
installed as a decisive factor in human dealings. ¶ In De Azurara’s narrative, we observe males looking at other males, as “female” is
subsumed here under the general category of estrangement. Few places in these excerpts carve out a distinct female space, though
there are moments of portrayal that perceive female captives in the implications of socio-cultural function. When the field of captives
(referred to above) is divided among the spoilers, no heed is paid to relations, as fathers are separated from sons, husbands from
wives, brothers from sisters and brothers, mothers from children – male and female. It seems clear that the political program of
European Christianity promotes this hierarchical view among males, although it remains puzzling to us exactly how this version of
Christianity transforms the “pagan” also into the “ugly.” It appears that human beings came up with degrees of “fair” and then the
“hideous,” in its overtones of bestiality, as the opposite of “fair,” all by themselves, without stage direction, even though there is the
curious and blazing exception of Nietzsche’s Socrates, who was Athen’s ugliest and wisest and best citizen. The intimate
choreography that the Portuguese narrator sets going between the “faithless” and the “ugly” transforms a partnership of dancers into
a single figure. Once the “faithless,” indiscriminate of the three stops of Portuguese skin color, are transported to Europe, they
become an altered human factor: ¶ And so their lot was now quite contrary to what it had been, since before they had lived in
perdition of soul and body; of their souls, in that they were yet pagans, without the clearness and the light of the Holy Faith; and of
their bodies, in that they lived like beasts, without any custom of reasonable beings – for they had no knowledge of bread and wine,
and they were without covering of clothes, or the lodgment of houses; and worse than all, through the great ignorance that was in
them, in that they had no understanding of good, but only knew how to live in bestial sloth. [1:30] ¶
Globalization
Globalization ushers in a new form of Apartheid that makes war and antiblackness
inevitable
Sexton, 8 [Jared, associate professor of African American studies and film and media studies @
UC Irvine, “Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism,” page
239-244]
The immanence of global capital in no way prevents the drawing of internal lines of exclusion. As
Giovanni Arrighi (1995) states, “Entire communities, countries, even continents, as in the case of sub-Saharan
Africa, have been declared ‘redundant,’ superfluous to the changing economy of capitalist
accumulation on a world scale.” In the wake of the cold war, “the unplugging of these ‘redundant’
communities and locales from the world supply system has triggered innumerable, mostly
violent feuds . . . over the appropriation of resources that were made absolutely scarce by the
unplugging” (330). Managing such feuds—fueling them and containing them in order to profit from them—has
become a principal strategic concern of the new global hegemony and the indispensable
underside of its political economic globalization (Bhattacharyya 2005). It is carried forward by means
of a brutal geopolitics, at the heart of which lie black populations: north, south, east, and west. Achille
Mbembe (1999) notes, for instance, that “the African experience shows that in the age of globalization
bringing the world climate under control involves of necessity the forcible breaking-down of
existing territorial frameworks . . . and the simultaneous erection of shifting areas and areas in
which populations judged to be superfluous can be corralled and their mobility limited .” For those
consigned to decomposition “on the outskirts of the great technological changes going on today,” deterritorialization “goes
hand-in-hand with the setting up of a constraint economy, designed quite simply to get rid of
their unwanted populations and exploit their resources in the raw state.” “In these circumstances,” after
the breakdown of the “three worlds” heuristic, “war seen as a general economic system no longer necessarily
pits those who have the weapons against each other. Preferably, it sets those who have weapons
against those who have none” (Mbembe 1999). Weapons include not only structural adjustment policies (SAP) and
increased militarization, recently known in the United States as “the prison-welfare-industrial complex” (Davis 2003; Wacquant
2005) but also, returning to our earlier point, the new forms of apartheid intended for the spatial containment
of AIDS (Dean 2000).3 Immobilization and exclusion: counterparts to the accelerated mobility and
intercourse of people, goods, and information that typically register in descriptions of the new
global context (Bauman 2000). From this vantage, it is imperative to recall that “the ‘Grab for Africa’ . . . was the
high-water mark of European imperialism, and the frenzy for possessions was certainly underlain by the sense of the
closing of the world.” It was, in other words, “the great time of the ‘tracing of lines’ in the chancelleries of Europe” (Parker 1998, 2425n4). We reencounter this rehabilitated geopolitical inscription today—still Eurocentric—but underlain now by the sense of the
closing of the world of a qualitatively different order. The effects of the consummate geography of capital on subjectivity are titanic.
The catastrophic consequences described by Gilroy have now become generalized as the conditions of
possibility for human being. “Capitalist power actualizes itself in a basically uninhabitable space
of fear. That much is universal. The particulars of the uninhabitable landscape of fear in which a given body nevertheless dwells
vary according to the socially valorized distinctions applied to it by selective mechanisms of power im-planted throughout the social
field” (Massumi 1993, 24). For Brian Mas- sumi, the paradigmatic subject of this universal fear is white,
bourgeois, metropolitan, and female; the paradigmatic source is public, unmediated,
anonymous, and sexualized. “An urbanized North American woman dwells in the space of
potential rape and battering. Her movements and emotions are controlled (filtered, channeled) by the
immanence of sexual violence to every coordinate of her socio-geographical space-time.” This image
is deliberately evoked as a cliche. It is Massumi’s point to demonstrate its iconic status, its readymade legibility, its status as an
omnipresent screen of projection, circulating as ubiquitous collective fantasy in print media, television, and film culture. However,
there is a twist to the trope of the imperiled white woman vulnerable to sexual violence.
“Capitalist power determines being a woman as the future-past of male violence. . . . [Yet] the ‘flow
of stupidity’ in contemporary society [‘perception and intellection restricted to a recognition reflex’] consists in the
translation of the ‘she’ to the ‘we' of everywoman to everyone: a loss of the specificity of the landscape of fear”
(24; emphasis added). Massumi writes at some length about the “fear-blur” produced in this situation, especially by the
machinations of mass media. “It is vague by nature,” he claims. “It is low-level fear. A kind of background
radiation saturating existence. . . . It may be expressed as ‘panic’ or ‘hysteria’ or ‘phobia’ or
‘anxiety.’ But,” he continues, “these are to low-level fear what ‘HIV’ is to AIDS: signs of subjectivity in
capitalist crisis. The self, like AIDS, is a syndrome” (24-25): “a complex of effects coming from no single, isolat- able place,
without a linear history, and exhibiting no invariant character-istics” (11). The introduction of the concept of the syndrome
marks out a requisite shift in analytical frameworks to the extent that syndromes, unlike symptoms,
“mark the limit of causal analysis. They cannot be exhaustively understood—only pragmatically
altered by experimental interventions operating in several spheres of activity at once” (31). To take
up this challenge is to pursue a “syndromatic” analysis.4 Bearing in mind the difficulties for analysis engendered by the syndrome of
capitalist subjectivity, the generalization of the white woman’s fear of “potential rape and battering,”
we can still suppose that this ambient, low-level fear is overdetermined by what Fanon calls “the
racial distribution of guilt” in the antiblack world (1967, 103). “Here the Negro is the master,” he remarks
sardonically. “He is the specialist of this matter: whoever says rape says Negro” (166). That AIDS, in its symbolic soldering to the
black body, is widely considered to be “the privileged locus of biofear production” (Massumi 1993, vii) only
compounds this atmospheric dread. If, as Baxandall (1995) suggests, “the fear of AIDS has made sexual contact increasingly
stigmatized” (243), then this fear is amplified by the legacies of negrophobia in which, as noted previously, “the Negro
symbolizes the biological danger” (Fanon 1967, 165). The contemporary fear of AIDS reinvigorates a
longstanding premise of antimiscegenation: the fear that sexual contact with black bodies will turn
over into violence, that such contact in and of itself constitutes violence, a site of brutality or
morbid contamination or both. To speak of the “fear” of AIDS is, of course, to understate the case,
just as it is an understatement to speak “simply” of negrophobia. The loathing relative to AIDS is far more
radical than the affective condition of fear suggests. We are facing, rather, what Dean (2000) describes as “wholesale
repudiation by a society that refuses to admit a signifier for AIDS” (99). By persistently representing itself as
having a “general population” that remains largely immune to incidence of AIDS, the United States [and global civil society]
pushes AIDS—and the social groups seen as representing AIDS—to the outside of its psychic and social
economies, treating them exactly like shit. (99) The fate of AIDS and the fate of the black are fundamentally
intertwined: rendered in the symbolic order as abject, fecal objects. Symbolizing the danger faced by the body in
the throes of globalization, the confusion of boundaries marking inside from out, and a crisis in the
scale of cognitive mapping (Jameson 1998b); shuttled between disciplined mobility and the lethal economy of constraint;
AIDS, like blackness, should be understood “as a condition of the body, an index of the body’s
vulnerability” (Dean 2000, 98). The constitutive outside of society’s political and libidinal economies
is, of course, located differently across the globe. In the deindustrialized urban areas of the North, particularly in the
United States, it is operated most prominently by the practices of policing and crystallized in the
overt use of the racial profile. It is put into effect much more powerfully by the virtual expulsion of sub-Saharan Africa
from the global political economy, a structural exile beneath what we might call “the arc of the global South.” This continental
prohibition, a demarcation internal to the underdeveloped regions, may require reconfiguration
of the global imaginary—and the nomenclature of theory, culture, and politics—away from the present NorthSouth axis, useful as it may be in some respects, toward an uneven East-West partnership as the
definitive vector in the movement of globalization. In the United States, a fractal reflection of the
“global racial formation” (Winant 2001) is observable. Pierre Bourdieu notes, for instance, The “Charitable
State,” founded on the moralizing conception of poverty, tends to bifurcate into a Social State
which assures minimal guarantees of security for the middle classes, and an increasingly
repressive state counteracting the effects of violence which results from the increasingly
precarious condition of the large mass of the population, notably the black (quoted in Bauman 2000, 103). I will only
mention the litany of social indicators for this “increasingly precarious condition”: unparalleled rates of residential and
educational segregation (Massey and Denton 1998), unemployment (Wilson 1996), premature death by preventable
disease and toxic environments (Bullard 1994; Semmes 1996), homicide (Hutchinson 2002), imprisonment
and surveillance (Mauer 1999), and so forth. Within the politics of multiracialism, the isolation and
criminalization of blackness is transmuted into a concern for the unwillingness of the black
population to participate in “the browning of America” (Root 1995).5 Conservative critics cite the clannishness
of black community, its atavistic investment in notions of black pride and the reproduction of the one-drop rule, that is, the
internalization of racist rules of identification that make blacks, at worst, “more separatist inspired
than . . . the long-standing white power structure” (Byrd 1996). Liberal critics, in turn, bemoan the tenacity of
attitudinal barriers to intimate relations between blacks and nonblacks, but only to advance their forced assimilation in the name of
national unity (Lind 1998). This mainstream apprehension finds its alter ego in the unwavering theater
of panic staged in explicit white supremacist discourse. If, as Ferber (1998) says, “it is an understate-ment to
claim that white supremacy is obsessed with interracial sexuality,” then that compulsion to repeat finds its firmest moorings in the
idea of the sex/violence of blacks. It is here that we find ourselves undergoing a globalization without Africa,
a multiracialism without blacks, a world community in which the color line becomes etched
more deeply even as it is, in some quarters, dissolved.
Globalization and multiracialism shift the color line so that Blackness is no longer
biological
Sexton 8, [Jared, associate professor of African American studies and film and media studies,
“Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism,” page 231-234]
At the turn of the twenty-first century, Fredric Jameson (1998b) announced that “the state of things the word globalization attempts to designate will be
with us for a long time to come; and . . . its theorization . . . will constitute the horizon of all theory in the years ahead” (xvi). It would thus seem that
any intellectual project accompanying the historical movement of black liberation—whose intervention
sustains the current position of enunciation—must take as central the series of questions posed by the term. We
might posit the reverse as well: anyone thinking seriously about globalization, particularly those hoping to organize political
resistance to it, cannot afford to elide the question of black liberation without missing something
essential to its unfolding. It is my suspicion that this vital consideration, made only more pointed by the ambivalent
rendering of race mixture, forces an uncanny encounter with the black body—its capacities, its energies,
its appearance as well as its structured installation in the nexus of sexuality and violence. In each
case noted previously (the white supremacist movement, the global sex industries, the discourse of multiracialism), it is the image of the
black body that throws the apparatus of representation into unmitigated crisis. “The history of
racism is a narrative in which the congruency of micro- and macrocosm has been disrupted at
the point of their analogical intersection: the human body” (Gilroy 1997, 192). This prescient point, offered by Paul
Gilroy in his essay “Scales and Eyes,” bears significantly on the present effort. The body presents a problem, a point of
disruption, for the historical narrative of racism. It has failed to lend itself, once and for all, to a
stable designation. As Gilroy asks, “Has anyone ever been able to say exactly how many ‘races’ there are, let alone how skin shade should
correspond to them” (195)? Of course, the answer is no, but we have seen that the indeterminacy of race in “the order of active differentiation” (192)
has not proved insurmountable, even if it is inescapable. Quite the contrary, this perennial difficulty has
given rise to a frenetic succession of methods designed for specifying human difference that
characterize the protean nature of modernity’s “most pernicious signature” (192). In the current moment, we
confront a novel question: “What does that trope ‘race’ mean in the age of molecular biology” (192)? For Gilroy, we now inhabit “a space
beyond comparative anatomy” where “the body and its obvious, functional components no
longer delimit the scale upon which assessments of the unity and variation of the species are to
be made” (194). Our collective estrangement from anatomical scale has rendered the eye
inadequate, if it ever was, “to the tasks of evaluation and description demanded” by racial segregation.
Thus, the ascendancy of what he terms “nanopolitics” “departs from the scalar assumptions asso-ciated with
anatomical difference [and] accelerates [a] vertiginous, inward movement towards the
explanatory power of ever-smaller scopic regimes” (193). Indeed, this one-way movement, “downwards and inwards,”
locks the racializing project into a perpetual search for the zero degree of difference. However, if racial
difference “cannot be readily correlated with genetic variation” (194), the most basic level of differentiation known to date, at what level can it be
asserted, maintained, legitimated? Or is it destined simply to remain anxious and uncertain, forever suspicious? Gilroy is less than sanguine about
these developments. Although skepticism about “the status of visible differences” is welcomed for the trouble it causes to the paradigm of comparative
anatomy, there
is no indication that the calibration of “human sameness” and “human diversity”
will diminish in political importance. The frustration of this procedure at one scale does not prevent its seeking refuge by
burrowing deeper into the flesh, the viscera, the blood, the DNA. Gilroy asks, “Can a different sense of scale and scaling form a counterweight to the
appeal of absolute particularity celebrated under the sign of ‘race’?” “Can it answer the seductions of self and kind projected onto the surface of the
body?” Scarcely: the
repudiation of surface-level sameness by “the proliferation of invisible
differences” remains an object of aggravated fascination insofar as such differences are
understood to “produce catastrophic consequences where people are not what they seem to be”
(192). We are familiar with the vast literature regarding the thematic of racial passing in and
beyond the United States, which often sensationally features the scandal of seeming to be white
when one is, “in truth,” something else (Ginsberg 1996; Sanchez and Schlossberg 2001). Today, the fear of invisible
blackness commingles with the global traffic in hypervisible blackness, the premier consumer product. Across
the globe, one can play at blackness, selectively appropriating “everything but the burden,” to borrow
Greg Tate’s (2003) apt phrase. Yet, Gilroy’s remarks on the crisis of visible difference invoke another catastrophic consequence not unrelated to an
unsuspected or invisible blackness. Visible
differences, he notes, not only prove unreliable in determinations of race,
they also “do not . . . tell us everything we need to know about the health- status of the people we
want to have sex with” (192). They really never did, of course, but Gilroy’s comment here makes reference to another “catastrophic
consequence” associated with the age of molecular biology: AIDS. He concludes his essay as follows: With the body figured an epiphenomenon of coded
information, this
aesthetics [of racial difference] is now residual. The skin may no longer be
privileged as the threshold of identity. There are good reasons to suppose that the line between
inside and outside now falls elsewhere. (196) This other threshold of identity, this newly privileged “elsewhere”
that now houses the persistent dividing line, is located within the body, tracking an invisible
presence that demotes and denotes the significance of the bodily surface. It is, in effect, a
displacement of the skin as the preeminent sign of race. Here we note a convergence with the project of multiracialism
discussed at the outset: for different reasons, both developments portend the obstruction or unraveling of
racialization in the field of vision— one betting on the increasing difficulty of making clear discriminations on the surface, the other
devaluing the surface altogether. However, nothing in Gilroy’s account alludes to the wholesale replacement of the surface by the interior, wherein the
latter simply supplants the former. More likely, we
have an augmentation of racial difference, an alloy of the inner
and outer, by way of the discourses of biotechnology and genetic science. Similarly, the blurring of
the color line prophesied by multiracialism provides the occasion, within the imagination of
white supremacy and antiblackness, for a redoubled effort to police it. In this respect, the
surface becomes a more intense object of observation precisely because it has become more
unreliable as a sign of race.
Hegemony (cultural)
Hegemonic Cultures begin to think that they are superior – this leads to wars
based on culture under the guises of virtue and nation – this is exactly what
occurred in Europe
Snead 81 (James, James Arthur Snead was a professor, fiction writer, and film critic whose
academic work analyzed literary modernism"On Repetition in Black Culture"; Black American
Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 4; published in 1981; p. 147-148)
In certain cases, culture, in projecting an image for others, claims a radical difference from others, often
further defined qualitatively as superiority. Already, in this insistence on uniqueness and "higher" development, we
sense a linear, anthropomorphic drive. For centuries (and especially within the last three), Europe has found itself in
hot contest internally over this very issue. Culture has been territorialized and, with it, groups of its diverse adherents. Cultural
wars have become territorial wars have become cultural wars again, and indeed into this
maelstrom have been sucked concepts of "race," "virtue," and "nation," never to re-emerge.6 Not
so much the content of these cross-cultural feuds startles as the vehemence and aggression with which groups of people wrangle over
where one coverage ends and another begins. The incipient desire to define "race" and "culture" in the same
breath as "identity" and "nationality" finally coincides with great upheavals of the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries in Europe among them, the overturning of the feudal monarchies of Central Europe and
the discovery and subjugation of black and brown masses across the seas. Herein the word culture gains two fateful
senses: "that with which one whole group aggressively defines its superiority vis-?-vis another"
and, a finer one, "that held at a level above the group or mass, for the benefit of the culture as a
whole, by the conscious few (i.e., the distinction between haute and basse culture)."7 At the same time as
Europeans were defining themselves over against other European nations, and some of them even
against members of their own nations, they were also busy defining "European culture" as separate from
"African culture," the ultimate otherness, the final mass. Only having now reached this stage can we make any
sense whatever of the notion of "black culture" and what it might oppose.8 "Black culture" is a concept first created
by Europeans and defined in opposition to "European culture." Hegel, for example, saw "black
culture" as the lowest stage of that laudable self-reflection and development shown by European
culture whose natural outcome must be the state or nationhood. In his by no means atypical nineteenthcentury view, Hegel said that black culture simply did not exist in the same sense as European culture did. Black culture (as one
of several non-Western cultures) had no self-expression (i.e., no writing); there was no black Volksgeist, as in Europe, and
not even particular tribes or groupings of Africans seemed in the least concerned to define
themselves on the basis of any particular Volksgeist. Hegel (like most of Europe) was confused
by the African: Where did blacks fit into "the course of world history"?9: “In this main portion of Africa
there can really be no history. There is a succession of accidents and surprises. There is no goal, no state there that
one can follow, no subjectivity, but only a series of subjects, who destroy each other. There has as yet been little
comment upon how strange a form of self-consciousness this represents.”
Hegemony brings increases forceful submission to the government, especially in
the context of blackness – hegemonic celebration of the oppressed also results in
the loss of the ideal of consent
Hartman, 3. (professor at Columbia University specializing in African American literature and
history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC Irvine, Saidiya and
Frank B, published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought, pg 185-186)
S.VH. - But I think there's a certain integrationist rights agenda ¶ that subjects who are variously positioned on the color line can ¶
take up. And that project is something I consider obscene: the ¶ attempt to make the narrative of defeat into an
opportunity for cel ¶ ebration, the desire to look at the ravages and the brutality of the ¶ last few
centuries, but to still find a way to feel good about our ¶ selves. That's not my project at all, though I think it's
actually the ¶ project of a number of people. Unfortunately, the kind of social¶ revisionist history undertaken by
many leftists in the 1 970s, who¶ were trying to locate the agency of dominated groups, resulted
in ¶ celebratory narratives of the oppressed.4 Ultimately, it bled into this celebration, as if there was
a space you could carve out of the ter¶ rorizing state apparatus in order to exist outside its
clutches and ¶ forge some autonomy. My project is a different one. And in partic ¶ ular, one of my hidden polemics in
the book was an argument ¶ against the notion of hegemony, and how that notion has been¶ taken up
in the context of looking at the status of the slave.¶ F W - That's very interesting, because it's something I've been¶
thinking about also in respect to Gramsci. Because Anne Showstack ¶ Sassoon suggests that Gramsci breaks down
hegemony into three ¶ categories: influence, leadership, and consent.5 Maybe we could ¶ bring the
discussion back to your text then, using the examples of ¶ Harriet Jacobs,6 a slave, and John Rankin,7 a white
anti-slavery ¶ Northerner, as ways in which to talk about this. Now, what's really ¶ interesting is that in your
chapter "Seduction and the Ruses of ¶ Power," you not only explain how the positional ity of
black women¶ and white women differs, but you also suggest how blackness dis¶ articulates the
notion of consent, if we are to think of that notion as ¶ universal. You write: "[B]eing forced to submit to the will
of the ¶ master in all things defines the predicament of slavery" (S, 110). In ¶ other words, the female
slave is a possessed, accumulated, and fun ¶ gible object, which is to say that she is ontologically
different than ¶ a white woman who may, as a house servant or indentured labor ¶ er, be a subordinated subject. You go
on to say, "The opportunity for ¶ nonconsent [as regards, in this case, sex] is required to establish ¶
consent, for consent is meaningless if refusal is not an option.... ¶ Consent is unseemly in a
context in which the very notion of sub¶ jectivity is predicated upon the negation of will" (S, 111).
Humanism
The aff’s universal account of persons is the taciturn violence of social stability, the
slave kick starts modernity and the condition of possibility for action.
Wilderson 2010 [Frank B., Professor of African American Studies at UC Irvine, Red, White &
Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms, pages 43-45]
Due to the presence of prior existing relations in a world of contemporaries, no “fear of the fear of the world” is at stake when White theorists meditate
ontologically (whether through a cultural object such as film or on a set of intellectual protocols) and find—as do their Black colleagues—capacity
everywhere. It would be more accurate to say not that they find capacity everywhere, since they do not look everywhere, but that they find it where they
there is nothing homeostatic about the White
(or other Humans). If the Black is death personified, the White is the personification of
diversity, or life itself. As Richard Dyer reminds us, “The invisibility of whiteness as a racial position in
white… discourse is of a piece with its ubiquity. When I said above that this book wasn’t merely seeking to fill a gap in the
analysis of racial imagery, I reproduced the idea that there is no discussion of white people. In fact for most of the time white people
speak about nothing but white people, it’s just that we couch it in terms of ‘people’ in
general…Yet precisely because of this and their placing as norm [Whites] seem not to be
represented to themselves as whites but as people who are variously gendered, classed,
sexualized and abled.” Thus the threat of discovering oneself in one’s own scholarly or artistic endeavors as “comparison” is not a fate that
awaits White academics. White academics’ disavowal of Black death as modernity’s condition of
possibility (their inability to imagine their productive subjectivity as an effect of the Negro) stems not from the unbearable
terror of that (non)self-discovery always already awaiting the Black, but from the fact that, save
brief and infrequent conjunctures of large-scale Black violence (eighteenth- and nineteenth-century slave revolts
and twentieth-century “urban unrest”), the socius provides no catalyst for White avowal. In short, thought—essential,
are, among their “contemporaries,” and assume its ubiquity. Unlike the Negro,
ontological thought—is all but impossible in White cultural and political theory—but it is not (as we will see in Monster’s Ball in part 4) impossible in
This state of affairs, the unbearable hydraulics of Black disavowal and the sweetness and light of
disavowal, is best encapsulated in the shorthand expression “social stability,” for it
guarantees the civility of civil society. Put anecdotally, but nonetheless to the point, when pulled individually by the button, both
the unconscious of the White film itself.
White
inmate and guard might be in favor of “criminal rehabilitation,” both might even believe that the warden is a “swell guy,” and in their enthusiasm they
might even take for granted that by “criminal” they are speaking of the inmates and not the guards, or for that matter the warden. However, while the
shared experiences in the political economy of the prison—a common policy agenda, that is, rehabilitation—or the shared identifications in the libidinal
economy of the prison—the unconscious captation of both inmate and guard by the image of the warden—may certainly be important to any meditation
on either prison economy, they are certainly not essential to such reflection. This means that they cannot break in on the mutually exclusive constituent
elements that make the positions of inmate and guard irreconcilable, at least, not with such a force as to rupture the positional exclusivity and bring
about an end to the (prison) world. This holds true regardless of the fact that the mobility of symbolic material, that is, the idea of “criminal
rehabilitation” and the agreement on who constitutes a criminal, and the mobility of imaginary captation, that is, the image of the warden, are both
The libidinal economy of modernity and its attendant
cartography (the Western Hemisphere, the United States, or civil society as a construct) achieves its structure of
unconscious exchange by way of a “thanatology” in which Blackness overdetermines the
embodiment of impossibility, incoherence, and incapacity. Furthermore, political economy achieves
its symbolic (political or economic) capacity and structure of preconscious exchange by way of a
similar thanatology. Judy goes so far as to say that at the crux of modernity’s crisis is the dilemma “how to
represent the Negro as being demonstrably human within the terms of the law .” Here, of course, he does
without limit in their capacity for transgression.
not mean “law” in a juridical sense but rather “law” as a portal of intelligibility through which one can be said to have the capacity to access “Reason”
Through Judy’s analysis of the Negro (the slave) as
modernity’s necessity (the Other that Humanity is not: “Simple enough one has only not to be a nigger”), that
which kick-starts and sustains the production of the Western Hemisphere, we can begin to make
the transition from the parasitic necessity of Whiteness in libidinal economy to its parasitic
necessity in political economy. Whiteness is parasitic because it monumentalizes its subjective
capacity, its lush cartography, in direct proportion to the wasteland of Black incapacity. By
“capacity” I have meant something more comprehensive than “the event” and its causal elements and something more indeterminate than
“agency”. We should think of it as a kind of facility or matrix through which possibility itself—whether tragic
or triumphant—can be elaborated: the ebb and flow between, on the one hand, “empty speech,” racist actions, repressive laws, and
and thus be recognized and incorporated as a bona fide subject.
institutional coherence and on the other hand, “full speech,” armed insurrection, and the institutional ennui. This is what I mean by capacity. It is a far
cry from Spillers’s state of “being for the captor” and Judy’s “muted African body,” a far cry from pure abject- or objectness: without thought, without
agency, “with no capacity to move.” In short,
White (Human) capacity, in advance of the event of discrimination
or oppression, is parasitic on Black incapacity: Without the Negro, capacity itself is incoherent,
uncertain at best.
Legalism
The Modern System of Anti-Blackness is Perfected through Legal Action—The
Cycle of Domination is Completed When The Slaves Bows Down to the System
Farley 5, Anthony. Prof. Farley specializes in Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and Legal Theory. Taught at Boston
College Before Teaching at Albany “Perfecting Slavery” Page 221-222
Slavery is with us still. We are haunted by slavery. We are animated by slavery. White-over-black
is slavery
and segregation and neosegregation and every situation in which the distribution of material or spiritual goods follows the
colorline. The movement from slavery to segregation to neosegregation to whatever form of white-over-black
it is that may come with post-modernity or after is not toward freedom. The movement from slavery to segregation to
neosegregation is the movement of slavery perfecting itself. White-over-black is neosegregation. White-over-black is
segregation. White-over-black is slavery. All of it is white-over-black, only white-over-black, and that continually. The
story of progress up from slavery is a lie, the longest lie. The story of progress up from slavery is told
juridically in the form of the rule of law. Slavery is the rule of law. And slavery is death. The slave
perfects itself as a slave when it bows down before its master of its own free will. That is the
moment in which the slave accomplishes the impossible reconciliation of its freedom with its
unfreedom by willing itself unfree. 3 When exactly does this perfection of slavery take place? The slave bows down before
its master when it prays for legal relief, when it prays for equal rights, and while it cultivates the
field of law hoping for an answer.
The law contains the pleasure of whiteness, and through it we see ourselves as
masters and slaves. Oppressors fall into the pattern of enjoying the white-overblack dynamic. We need to remember that it will be easy to fall back into the past.
Farley 02, Prof @ Albany Law School, 2002 (Anthony P., 2002, “The Poetics of Colorlined
Space,” p. 99)
Race is a form of bodily pleasure, akin to sexuality. “Look, A Nigger!” is a sensation that both the
tormentors and the tormented feel within their bodies. Frantz Fanon writes: “Look at the
Nigger!” … My body was given back to me sprawled out, distorted, recolored, clad in mourning
in that white winter day. The Negro is an animal, the Negro is bad, the Negro is mean, the Negro
is ugly. The legal expressions of the colorline are, similarly, sensations that people have both in
and about their bodies. The master and his slave may both come to see and feel themselves
through the law that defines, commands, and is the expression of their situation. Jean-Paul
Sartre wrote: Oppression based on slavery was not at first recognized by the law, but it soon
becomes institutional. Thus a son of a slaveholder, born amidst a regime based on oppression,
not only considers the fact of possessing slaves as natural but also as legitimate since this fact is
one part of the institutions of his homeland. And the more he is raised to respect the authority of
the State and recognize his duties toward it, the more the right of possessing slaves appears
sacred to him and the more it will remain beyond discussion. There is an underlying tie between
the way of accepting and assuming different legal prescriptions (matrimonial, civic, military
duties, etc.) and the way of accepting the right to possess slaves. It is the ensemble that is
respected and recognized. Whether race finds its expression as slavery, segregation, or neosegregation, the legal song remains the same. The pleasure of whiteness is spread throughout
the entire ensemble. The law is an organ of perception—a great ephemeral skin—and through it we come to feel
ourselves as masters and slaves, segregators and segregated, neo-segregators and neo-segregated, white and black,
subject and object, and S/M. Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or
fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a
whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes,
ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself); on the other hand, I enwrap the other in my
words, I caress, brush against, talk up this contact, I extend myself to make the commentary to which I submit the relation endure.
The relationship of white-over-black endures because people have learned to take pleasure in it. We
ignore the sensual aspects of colorlined space at our peril. We would do well to recall the warning and
the prophecy of the Great American Novel: “So we beat on; boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly
into the past.”
Forgetting History
The attempt to rid slavery from the past is impossible
Sexton 10 (Jared, Assoc Prof. of African American @ UC Irvine, “People of Color Blindness;
p. 48-49)
This is why every attempt to defend the rights and liberties of the latest victims of state repression will fail to make substantial gains
insofar as it forfeits or sidelines the fate of blacks, the prototypical targets of the panoply of police practices and the juridical
infrastructure built up around them. Without blacks on board, the only viable political option and the only
effective defense against the intensifying cross fire will involve greater alliance with an antiblack
civil society and further capitulation to the magnification of state power. At the apex of the midcentury
social movements, Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton wrote in their 1968 classic, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation, that black
freedom entails “the necessarily total revamping of the society.”77 For Hartman, thinking of the entanglements of
the African diaspora in this context, the necessarily total Social Text 103 • Summer 2010 49 revamping of
the society is more appropriately envisioned as the creation of an entirely new world: I knew
that no matter how far from home I traveled, I would never be able to leave my past behind. I
would never be able to imagine being the kind of person who had not been made and marked by
slavery. I was black and a history of terror had produced that identity. Terror was “captivity without the possibility of flight,”
inescapable violence, precarious life. There was no going back to a time or place before slavery, and going
beyond it no doubt would entail nothing less momentous than yet another revolution.78
Multiculturalism
The politics of multiracialism subverts discourse surrounding race studies and
paints the Black Body as the dominant oppressor
Sexton 8 [Jared, associate professor of African American studies and film and media studies,
“Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism,” page 50-55]
To that end, I am interested in “the field of representations, coextensive with politics ” (Burgin 1996, 22)
within which multiracialism fashions its theoretical object—race mixture—after the post-Loving
inauguration of decriminalized interracial sexuality and the dawn of an ostensible “biracial baby
boom” (Root 1992a). We should understand this politics of “representation” in at least two ways: first, “representation as ‘speaking for,’ as in
politics,” and second, “representation as ‘re-presentation,’ as in art or philosophy.” Gayatri Spivak (1988) has demonstrated that “ these two
senses of representation—within state formation and the law, on the one hand, and in subjectpredication, on the other—are related but irreducibly discontinuous . . . [marking] differences
between the ‘same’ words” (275). Within the ambit of multiracialism, this critical discontinuity is lost to
conflation, covered over as the processes of representation are effaced in favor of a supposedly
self-evident product. The multiracial movement (as a project of political representation) and the Weld of
multiracial studies (as a project of scholarly and literary re-presentation) recapitulate similar procedures with
respect to an anticipated multiracial populace—as, respectively, a subject of representation and
an object of knowledge. That is to say, each instance organizes itself around the interpretation of the
multiracial as a sign, or trace, of interracial sexuality insofar as the latter is thought to be a
positive threat to the racial status quo. The liberal critique engendered by these twin phenomena aims at the amendment of
individualized sexual morality and the reform of privatized racial etiquette. A dichotomous alignment is thus drawn: on the one hand, racism with antimiscegenation; on the other, antiracism with the affirmation of an unsullied interracial sexuality, epitomized by the romantic ideal of “love across the
color line” (Peiss and Horowitz 1996). Cast in these terms, political
struggle, including struggle about sexual politics, is personalized
and reduced to opinion. Welcome as may be the attenuation of the legal regime of
antimiscegenation in the United States, to assume that “global white supremacy” (Mills 1998) or what
Gordon (1997) more fittingly calls “the antiblack world” is undermined by the proliferation of now
permissible race mixture and the correlated growth in multiracial self-identification requires, at
the very least, gross historical amnesia and acute political naivete. Radicalizing the politics of
multiracialism, if it be possible, entails going beyond the celebration of multiracial people as “the best
of both worlds . . . the solution to centuries of racial discord” (Spencer 2004, 106) or the living extension
of a tedious antiessentialism (Dalmage 2004, 6). Even the latter point is too generous, since multiracialism, in point of fact,
wards against antiessentialism and represents instead a reification of biological notions of race
(Goldberg 1997). It is our task to demonstrate how this reification of race—insofar as the concept of mixture relies logically and rhetorically
upon a purity concept—is linked as well to a naturalization of sexuality, including questions of interracial
desire. But what most pointedly solicit the critique developed here are the specific consequences
that multiracialism presents for the half-life of antiblack racism. If multiracialism reinforces the
idea of biological race in general, it does so by negatively “purifying”— which is to say quarantining—
racial blackness in particular as the centerpiece of a vaster re-racialization of U.S. society in the
post-civil rights era (Martinot 2002). After resurrecting the tenets of a long-debunked scientific racism, multiracialism then
renders black resistance to its dubious goals as an intransigent, unthinking force of political
repression. The historic demand for an affirmative revaluation of blackness in the face of its manifest negation becomes, on this count, the
paramount source of objectionable “un-American activities” like the policing of identity and the restriction of sexual freedom.10 Blacks are thus
depicted in the multiracial imagination as a conglomerate anachronism, perpetuating
disreputable traits of antebellum slave society and presenting a foremost obstacle to the
progress of liberal society today: white supremacy in blackface, antiblackness turned upside
down. The assertion of a pernicious black racism relies for its rhetorical purchase upon an
impossible merging of racial blackness with the power of the racial state.11 All arguments about
the supposedly overbearing presence and persuasion of blacks in the United States —from the popular
culture industries to the mass media to the court of public opinion—hinge upon this social fantasy. In other words, it is not
simply asserted in this milieu that blacks—much like their white or nonblack counterparts—can exhibit morally
reprehensible attitudes or even discriminatory behavior in the private sphere toward those
deemed racially other. It is also claimed that blacks have, as an outcome of the modern civil rights movement, commandeered the
repressive and regulatory agencies of the federal government (hence the renewed hue and cry of “state’s rights!”) and, through such means, have
transformed the whole of the economy and society to their collective advantage. That
is to say, blacks have inverted racial
hierarchy— or reversed racism, to cite the common phrase—to the categorical disadvantage of,
primarily, whites, but also Asian Americans and Latinos. Multiracial people, so runs the story, are caught in the midst
of this great transformation: Multiracial people experience a “squeeze” of oppression as people of color and
by people of color. People of color who have internalized the vehicle of oppression in turn apply
rigid rules of belonging or establishing “legitimate” membership. The internalization of
either/or systems of thinking operates even between communities of color, such as Asian American and
African American. (Root 1992 b, 5) Although it would seem from this passage that communities of color, much like the unnamed white community that
is historically instantiated through “the vehicle of oppression,” are all
equally culpable of oppressing multiracial people
with “rigid rules of belonging or . . . ‘legitimate’ membership,” it is clearly black communities that
present the gravest perceived danger on this score.12 In fact, the latter, darker term of this
oppressive “squeeze” not only defines the multiracial experience as different from a
“monoracial”13 black experience but also—in direct contrast to Root’s guiding metaphor— explains why
multiracial people are, rather, located beneath “monoracial” blacks (not in “the land of ‘in between’” [Root 1992b, 7])
in “the hierarchical interpretation of differences,” the most oppressed, “the final ‘other’ in a complex of power
moves” (Sandoval quoted in Root 1992b, 5). We might flesh out Root’s central claim in this way: “multiracial people experience a
‘squeeze’ of oppression as people of color [historically oppressed by white supremacy] and [as
multiracial people, in particular, who are also oppressed] by [monoracial] people of color [which is to
say, black people who have commandeered (internalized and applied) ‘the vehicle of
oppression’].”14 Hence, the populating of this discursive landscape with worrying, hallucinatory images of black depravity: corrupt black public
officials—hucksters, blowhards, imposters, liars, and petty lords; undeserving black beneficia-ries—affirmative action babies, coddled criminals, and
This swarm of figures in
black has as its upshot an imaginary world of black oppression, or what I would call “oppressive black power,” of
global proportions—not the oppression of blacks by others (“primarily, whites, but also Asian Americans and Latinos”) but the oppression
of others by blacks. If the range of this alleged epochal shift in the racial distribution of power remains hazy in the common sense, it
finds consistency in dogmatic pronouncements about the dominance of a “black-white binary
paradigm” over all discussions of race and racism, justice and equality, rights and privileges,
politics and public policy in the United States. Whatever else may preoccupy partisans of multiracialism, all can agree,
without benefit of even the most rudimentary definition, that the issue at hand “is not just about black and white.” This
perfunctory popular appeal, despite its professed commitments to decenter whiteness and build progressive coalition with blacks,
serves only to dislodge sustained discussions of the conditions of black existence and the
political possibilities of radically transforming the structures of antiblackness. Again, not because black
welfare queens; and, perhaps most paradoxically, vicious black police, a “racial border patrol” (Douglas 2003).
politics has proven to be detrimental to any multiracial constituency whatsoever— recall that, when granted a coveted congressional audience, the
multiracial movement refrained from substantive arguments regarding either a history of discrimination or a violation of the civil rights of multiracial
people per se—but rather because it
is simply asserted that black politics must be detrimental to any
multiracial constituency whatsoever. The politics of multiracialism is, then, properly understood only as
a purely formal negation of blackness. Substantive arguments grounded in structural analyses are jettisoned by reference to an
archive of anecdotes in which fielding hostility—or even questions—from blacks is elevated to the status of political oppression, regardless of the actual
relations of power involved.15 Contrary to the received wisdom of its liberal-progressive opponents, multiracialism is not founded by the desire to
exacerbate divisions within black communities along lines of color and class. It is driven neither by attempts to introduce a wedge issue that might
facilitate a statistical reduction of the national black population nor by attempts to interrupt civil rights compliance monitoring. These are likely
byproducts of its political intervention, and they are often noted as objectives among the right wing of the multiracial movement, but I suggest that they
do not represent the motive forces of the wider social phenomenon. Rather, multiracialism
augments the neoconservative
discourse of “reverse racism” that has taken root since the late 1960s by promoting , in novel ways, the
image of blacks as an authoritarian political bloc that illegitimately determines the direction of
federal policymaking and the substance of the national culture. Far from a strategic offensive deploying classic
divide-and-conquer tactics, it is more appropriately understood as a rationalizing discourse for an ongoing
“American Apartheid” (Massey and Denton 1998) or an inchoate preemptive strike for a nascent resegregation (Frankenberg and Lee
2002; Logan 2002),16 which is to say the continued and increasing isolation of blacks without state and civil society. Seen in this light,
multiracialism arbitrates neoconservative race politics as an accompaniment to an advancing
neoliberalism that is itself oscillating between official (liberal) multicultur- alism and the (conservative)
posture of colorblindness, twin aspects of what David Theo Goldberg (2002) calls “the fagade of racial dispersal” (5). Racist states
have undertaken to deflect resistance by indirection. Contemporary states have sought thus to dissipate the normative
power of critique in two related ways. On one hand, they have rerouted rightful anger at the homogenizing
exclusions of racist states into circuitous ambiguities and ambivalences of “mere” racially
characterized, if not outrightly colorblind, conditions; and on the other hand, they have pursued superficial
appropriation through uncritical celebration of the multicultural. (5-6; emphasis added) This explains, to some
extent, why the political dissension, organizational weakness, and theoretical confusion of the
multiracial movement or the dearth of intellectual rigor in multiracial studies do not in any way
diminish the historical significance of multiracialism. Its appeal to the “circuitous ambiguities and ambivalences of ‘mere’
racially characterized . . . conditions” is predominantly affective, which is to say it is “prelogical” or “paralogical” (Fanon 1967, 154-59), and its
official rhetoric does not so much articulate the interests or illuminate the position of any
particular nonblack group (i.e., the New Immigrants, the white middle and working classes, or even multiracial people themselves) as
much as it rehearses the phobic annulment of the “rightful anger” of blacks and the “normative
power of [black] critique.” It is, in other words, a political theater for the acting out of a repetition
compulsion, the staging of ritual loathing, an ardent refusal to be addressed by, and therefore
implicated in, the historical force of black rage, the insatiable demand for black reparation, or
the inconsolable melancholy of black suffering. As the color line of the twentieth century is swiftly transformed into “the new
black/nonblack divide” (Yancey 2003) of the twenty-first, it is this collective antipathy toward the lived experience of
the black that tenders the possibility of any nominally post-racial rapprochement. Whether characterized
as an expanded and refashioned whiteness (Warren and Twine 1997) or a selective multiracialism (Lind 1998), this portentous shift, so vital to the
“browning of America,” discloses the uneven and uneasy camaraderie obtaining in the culture of antiblackness.
State
The supposition of the state as ethical actor is foundational to blackness as slave –
the 1ac renders civil society coherent
Sexton 10 (Jared, Associate Professor at UC Irvine in African American Studies People of
Color Blindness; published in 1998; p. 40-41)
Agamben is incorrect to date the onset of this crisis and the advent of the paradigm of the camp with the “new laws on citizenship
and on the denationalization of citizens” in Europe of the interwar years, that is, the rise of martial law in the first half of the
twentieth century.48 The general failure of the inscription of nativity in the order of the nation-state
and the state’s management of the biological life of the nation is predated and prepared by the
strict prohibition of nativity under the regime of racial slavery and the state’s management of
the biological life of the enslaved throughout the Atlantic world, most pointedly through the sexual
regulation of race in the British North American colonies and the United States.49 And the racial circumscription of
political life (bios) under slavery predates and prepares the rise of the modern democratic state,
providing Social Text 103 • Summer 2010 41 the central counterpoint and condition of possibility for the
symbolic and material articulation of its form and function.50 If in Agamben’s analysis the
inscription of nativity in Euro-America is disquieted in the twentieth century by postcolonial
immigration, the native-born black population in the United States — known in the historic instance as “the
descendants of slaves” — suffers the status of being neither the native nor the foreigner, neither the
colonizer nor the colonized.51 The nativity of the slave is not inscribed elsewhere in some other (even subordinated)
jurisdiction, but rather nowhere at all. The nativity of the slave is foreclosed, undermining from within the potential for citizenship,
but also opening the possibility of a truly nonoriginal origin, a political existence that signifies “the presence of an absence that
discloses the absence inherent in all presence and every present.”52 Agamben overestimates the extent to which the question of
nativity is displaced by the figure of the refugee. It is perhaps better to say that it is disturbed by the presence
of strangers in a strange land. More simply, we might say to the refugee that you may lose your
motherland, but you will not “lose your mother.”53 The latter condition, the “social death” in
which one is denied kinship entirely by the force of law, is reserved for the “natal alienation” and
“genealogical isolation” characterizing slavery. Here is Orlando Patterson, from his encyclopedic 1982 study: “I
prefer the term “natal alienation” because it goes directly to the heart of what is critical in the slave’s forced
alienation, the loss of ties of birth in both ascending and descending generations. It also has the important
nuance of a loss of native status, of deracination. It was this alienation of the slave from all formal, legally enforceable
ties of “blood,” and from any attachment to groups or localities other than those chosen for him by the master, that gave the
relation of slavery its peculiar value to the master. The slave was the ultimate human tool, as
imprintable and as disposable as the master wished. And this was true, at least in theory, of all slaves, no matter
how elevated.54” True, even if one attains the income and educational levels of the mythic American
middle class, the celebrity of a Hollywood icon, or the political position of the so-called leader of
the free world. The alienation and isolation of the slave is not just vertical, canceling out ties to past and
future generations (“the descendants of slaves” now understood as a strict oxymoron). It is also horizontal, canceling
out ties to the slave’s contemporaries as well. The deracination of the slave, reduced to a tool, is total,
more fundamental than the displacement of the refugee, whose status obtains in a network of
persecuted human relations in exile rather than in a collection or dispersal of a class of things.
Crucially, deracination is strictly correlative to the “absolute submission mandated by law” discussed by Hartman above, the most
perfect example of the space of purely formal obedience defining the jurisdictional field of sovereignty. Because the forced
submission of the slave is absolute, any signs whatsoever of “reasoning . . . intent and rationality” are recognized “solely in the
context of criminal liability.” That is, “the slave’s will [is] acknowledged only as it [is] prohibited or
punished.”55 A criminal will, a criminal reasoning, a criminal intent, a criminal rationality: with these erstwhile human
capacities construed as indices of culpability before the law, even the potentiality of slave resistance is rendered illegitimate and
illegible a priori. Again, this is true not only for the slave’s resistance to submission to this or that
slaveholder but to the whole of the free population, what I called earlier the unequally arrayed category of
nonblackness.
The state fabricates the memory of slavery
Hartman 02, , (Saidiya V., Columbia University African American literature and history
professor Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number
4, pp.757-777, CLF)
By looking at a range of practices—the bartering of letters of welcome and return, the state’s role in the fabrication
of a common memory of slavery, tourist performances and the peregrinations of middle-class African-American
tourists—I set out to explore the time of slavery, that is, the relation between the past and the present, the
horizon of loss, the extant legacy of slavery, the antinomies of redemption (a salvational principle that will
help us overcome the injury of slavery and the long history of defeat) and irreparability. In
considering the time of slavery, I intend to trouble the redemptive narratives crafted by the state in its orchestration of
mourning, the promises of filiation proffered by petty traders, and the fantasies of origin enacted at these slave sites. As well, the
‘‘time of slavery’’ negates the common-sense intuition of time as continuity or progression, then
and now coexist; we are coeval with the dead.
Slavery’s enduring legacy has yet to be address by the state— Mourning and
discussion of history in the context of slavery is key to bring light to the issue and
solve
Hartman 02, (Saidiya V., Columbia University African American literature and history professor,
Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4, pp.757777, CLF)
Notwithstanding the limits of slave route tourism, at these sites the chronicle of dispossession and domination, which is often
contained, localized, and dismissed in the United States by the rubric ‘‘black history,’’ receives official recognition, at least by
UNESCO and the African states participating in the Slave Route Project, as one of ‘‘the greatest human tragedies.’’ The opportunities
for witnessing and remembrance encouraged here center the marginalized presence of the transatlantic slave trade. At best, these
sites of memory provide a public space to mourn, a space in which black grief isn’t made the stuff of national entertainment and
prurient interest, it is important to consider the possibility of mourning as a counternarrative to the exclusions of U.S. national
history and a personal seizure and appropriation of the narrative resources made available by tourism. Since neither the
millions of lives lost in the transatlantic trade nor the enduring legacy of slavery have yet to be
acknowledged in the U.S. national context, where the aggrieved voice is dismissed as so much
‘‘bitching and moaning.’’19 The dismissal or refutation of slavery’s enduring legacy, not
surprisingly, employs the language of progress, and, by doing so, establishes the remoteness and
irrelevance of the past. As a consequence of this posture, claims for redress based on this history
and its enduring legacy are disqualified and belittled as ridiculous or unintelligible, with some
conservative critics going so far as to denigrate these claims as racists acts themselves. Mourning, as a public expression
of one’s grief, insists that the past is not yet over; this compulsion to grieve also indicates that
liberal remedy has yet to be a solution to racist domination and inequality. The seizing hold of the past is
a way of lamenting current circumstance and countering the regular disqualification of claims for redress as complaint, envy, and a
barrier to social advancement, so giving voice to the grief of the diaspora is especially important in light
of the ‘‘extreme discretion of the scholarly community’’ regarding the slave trade and the glib
dismissal or condescending embrace that can only understand these lamentations, or any effort to
reckon with the breach and rupture induced by the slave trade as yet another example of Negro mimicry or ‘‘the holocaust in
blackface.’’20 In that it enables the aggrieved to recount the history that engendered the degradation of slavery and the injurious
constitution of blackness, mourning can be considered a practice of countermemory that attends to that which has been negated and
repressed. Yet, the work of mourning is not without its perils, chief among these are the slippage between
responsibility and assimilation and witnessing and Incorporation. Can
we mourn for those lost without assuming
and usurping the place of the dead, and yet recognize that the injuries of racism tether us to this
past? Does mourning necessarily entail the obliteration of the other through identification ? Can
we mourn the dead without becoming them? The ceremonies of slave route tourism and the
fantasy of return suggest the opposite—to remember the dead is to assume their place. Yet mourning
need not entail stepping into the ancestors’ shoes or negating the difference between us and them with the bludgeon of
identification. In other words, can we fashion an emancipatory vision not premised on recovery or disentangle mourning from
overcoming the past? While the grief of the diaspora and the longings for return threaten to replace
the experience of those captured and enslaved with our own simulated captivity, deny the
finality of deportation with our belated presence, and obscure the difference between that event
and its enduring legacy, nonetheless there is still a need to mourn, a need augmented by the
ubiquity of racist assault, the disallowance of this space of mourning within the United States,
and the unwillingness to declare slavery a crime against humanity.
The state is the cause of the historicist cycles that subjugates civilizations under
others – the impact is the perceived subjugation of black culture under European
culture
Snead 81 (James, James Arthur Snead was a professor, fiction writer, and film critic whose
academic work analyzed literary modernism"On Repetition in Black Culture"; Black American
Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 4; published in 1981; p. 148-149)
The word state (Staat) is not to be defined as a strict political entity, but any coherent group whose
culture progresses from the level of immediacy to self-awareness. How then do European culture and black
culture differ in their treatment of the inevitability of repetition, either in annual cycles, or in artistic forms? The truly selfconscious culture resists all non-progressive views; it develops. Hegel admits the category of change, and
even the fact of cyclical repetition in nature, but prefers not to look at it, or if at all, then not from a negative "oriental," but from a
positive "occidental" standpoint. In such a view, Hegel states: "Whatever development [Bildung] takes place
becomes material upon which the Spirit elevates itself to a new level of development, proclaiming its
powers in all the directions 148 of its plenitude."'3 Hence emerges the yet prevailing "third option" mentioned
above as a response to repetition: the notion of progress within cycle, "differentiation" within
repetition. So the first category in which European culture separates itself from "Oriental" and "African"
cultures is in its treatment of physical and natural cycles. This separation into "occidental" and "oriental" must
seem amusing to anyone familiar with, among other Western texts, Book XV of Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which the "pessimistic"
and 'oriental" viewpoint appears in the lips of an "occidental" predecessor of Hegel's, Pythagoras: Nothing is constant in the whole
world. Everything is in a state of flux, and comes into being as a transient appearance.... don't you see the year passing through a
succession of four seasons? ... In the same way our own bodies are always ceaselessly changing . . . . Time, the devourer, and the
jealous years that pass, destroy all things, and, nibbling them away, consume them gradually in a lingering death.... Nor does
anything retain its appearance permanently. Ever-inventive nature continually produces one shape from another. . . . Though this
thing may pass into that, and that into this, yet the sum of things remains unchanged .. . . 14 The truth is that cyclical
views of history are not "oriental," but were widespread in Europe well before the inception of
historicism, which began not with Hegel, but long prior to the nineteenth century (and here one might
mention as Hegel's percursors Bacon or Descartes in the Enlightenment, the progressive consummatio in the eschatology of Joachim
of Floris, the Thomistic orientation towards teleology, or even go back to the "final" triumph of the Heavenly City of St. Augustine of
Hippo). The debate in Western culture over the question of the shape of history, for most of its course, has been pretty evenly waged,
with the advantage perhaps initially even somewhat on the side of the cyclical view. Only with the coming of scientific
progressivism (as predicted and formulated by Bacon in The Advancement of Learning in 1605) was the linear model
able to attain pre-eminence, and then not for some two hundred years. '5 The now suppressed (but
still to be found) regarding of cycles in European culture has always resembled the beliefs that
underlie the religious conceptions of black culture, observing periodic regeneration of biological and agricultural
systems.'6
The government is trying to control blackness by appearing to ‘set it free’.
Hartman, 3. (, professor at Columbia University specializing in African American literature and
history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC IrvineSaidiya and Frank
B, published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought
FW. - That structures institutions. And your work on empathy ¶ shows that; it helps us to understand how
important blackness is to ¶ the libidinal economy of white institutionality. Now, I think I'm fair ¶ in
generally characterizing the reparations debate and those ¶ who've renewed it - Randall Robinson and company ¶ that they got a tiger
by the tail, and then didn't want the tiger to do ¶ its thing.29 The reparations people present the issue to blacks as ¶
though slavery is an essentially historical phenomenon that ended, ¶ but the effects of which put
blacks at what they call, you know, "an ¶ unfair disadvantage" to those in other positions who are
also chas ¶ ing the American dream. Through such a move the reparations folks ¶ literally waste a
political weapon, they dull the knife, they keep the ¶ tiger in the cage, because here is a weapon
which could spew forth ¶ in untold directions: I'm thinking here of Nat Turner's greatest¶ night. Instead, that
weapon is a denuded or, maybe a policed¶ method of conveyance. They're trying to simultaneously mobilize ¶ and
manage black rage. If reparations were thought of not as some ¶ - ¶ by saying ¶ thing to be
achieved, but as a weapon that could precipitate a cri ¶ sis in American institutionality, then it
could be worked out a lot ¶ differently from the way it's presented. One could present a repa ¶
rations agenda in the way in which you present your book, dealing ¶ with the despotism of black
positionality as it moves from genera ¶ tion to generation, from historical moment to historical
moment - ¶ with despotism beirig the almost ahistorical constant. Unleash the ¶ tiger and let it do
its thing.
***Framework***
Framework Solvency Ev.
Music as Method
Music is a metaphor of the repetition of these cycles – rhythm is often sacrificed to
avoid repetition of some fact, the same way some cultures may be considered an
already-extinct stage in Hegel’s philosophy
Snead 81 (James, James Arthur Snead was a professor, fiction writer, and film critic whose
academic work analyzed literary modernism"On Repetition in Black Culture"; Black American
Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 4; published in 1981; p. 152)
In almost conscious opposition to Hegel's idea of "progressive" culture, European music and
literature, perhaps realizing the limitations of innovation, have recently learned to "foreground"
their already present repetitions, "cuts," and cyclical insights. As European music uses rhythm mainly as an
aid in the construction of a sense of progression to a harmonic cadence, repetition has been suppressed in favor of the fulfillment of
the goal of harmonic resolution.39 Despite the clear presence of consistent beat or rhythm in the common
Classical forms of the ostinato or the figured bass or any other continuo instrument, rhythm was
scarcely a goal in itself and repetition seldom pleasurable or beautiful by itself. Although the key role of
"recapitulation" in the ABA or AABBAA sonata form (often within a movement itself, as in the so frequently ignored "second
repeats" in Beethoven's major works) is undisputed in theory, in live performance, these repetitions often are left out
to avoid the undesirability of having "to be told the same thing twice." Repeating the exposition, as
important as it no doubt is for the "classical style," is subsumed within and fulfilled by the general category called "development." By
the time the music does return to the home tonic, in the final recapitulation, the sense is clearly one of repetition with a difference.
The momentum has elevated the initial material to a new level rather than merely re-presenting it unchanged.40 Even though
the works of Wagner and his followers represent a break from this traditional formal model of
development derived from the sonata form, the Wagnerian leitmotif, for instance, is anything but a
celebration of repetition in music. In the Ring, Wagner's consummate vehicle for the leitmotivic style of composition,
the recurrent musical phrases are in fact a Hegelian progression or extended accumulation and
accretion to an ultimate goal or expression that begins somewhere during the early part of the
Gotterdammerung, or even starting late in Siegfried; the leitmotifs are invested in installments throughout Das
Rheingold and Die Walku/re and are then repaid with interest by the end of the Gatterdammerung.
Remembrance
Standing in the shoes of ancestors provides a vessel of remembrance—reminding
those peoples of today’s oppressions—the broken promises of the civil rights
movement, unrealized aspirations and devalued lives
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, (Saidiya V.,
Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4, pp.757777, CLF)
Clearly, the primal scene that explains the origin of the subject is the event of captivity and enslavement, thus the sites returned to
are the dungeons, barracoons, and slave houses of the west coast of Africa. The journey through the dungeons is a kind of time travel
that transports the tourist to the past. Not only do these fantasies have complicated and mixed origins, but their enactment is no less
vexed; for the identification of origins, the drama of return and the staging of recovery are shot through with an awareness of both
the impossibility and the necessity of redressing the irreparable. At the portal that symbolized the finality of departure and the
impossibility of reversion, the tensions that reside in mourning the dead are most intensely experienced. Mourning is both an
expression of loss that tethers us to the dead and severs that connection or overcomes loss by assuming the place of the dead. The
excesses of empathy lead us to mistake our return with the captives’. To the degree that the bereaved attempt to
understand this space of death by placing themselves in the position of the captive, loss is
Attenuated rather than addressed, and the phantom presence of the departed and the dead
eclipsed by our simulated captivity. ‘‘You are back!’’ We are encouraged to see ourselves as the
vessels for the captive’s return; we stand in the ancestor’s shoes.We imaginatively witness the
crimes of the past and cry for those victimized—the enslaved, the ravaged, and the slaughtered.
And the obliterative assimilation of empathy enables us to cry for ourselves, too. As we remember those ancestors held
in the dungeons, we can’t but think of our own dishonored and devalued lives and the unrealized
aspirations and the broken promises of abolition, reconstruction, and the civil rights movement.
The intransigence of our seemingly eternal second-class status propels us to make recourse to
stories of origin, unshakable explanatory narratives, and sites of injury—the land where our blood has been spilt—as if
some essential ingredient of ourselves can be recovered at the castles and forts that dot the
western coast of Africa, as if the location of the wound was itself the cure, or as if the weight of
dead generations could alone ensure our progress.
Remembrance frames the crimes in such a way as to give a vantage point to
contemporary progress, as limited as that is, and turns history into a museum.
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, 02 (Saidiya
V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4,
pp.757-777, CLF)
Given the irreparable nature of this event, which Jamaica Kincaid describes as a wrong that can be assuaged only by the impossible,
that is, by undoing the past, is acting out the past the best approximation of working through
available to us? By suffering the past are we better able to grasp hold of an elusive freedomand
make it substantial? Is pain the guarantee of compensation? Beyond contemplating injury or apportioning
blame, how can this encounter with the past fuel emancipatory efforts ? Is it enough that these acts
of commemoration rescue the unnamed and unaccounted for from obscurity and oblivion,
counter the disavowals constitutive of the U.S. national community, and unveil the complicitous discretion
of the scholarship of the trade? Bluntly put, is there a necessary relation between remembrance and
Redress? Can the creation of a collective memory of past crimes insure the end of injustice?22
Can monumentalizing the past suffice in preventing atrocity? Or does it only succeed in framing
these crimes against humanity from the vantage point of contemporary progress and reason,
turning history into one great museum in which we revel in antiquarian excess? Can we get the merest
hint of ‘‘that event’’ by spending half an hour in the dungeons? I am not trying to make light of these engagements with the past, but
only to shake our confidence in commemoration and the accompanying conceits about world peace and universal history entailed in
the designation of thesemonuments asWorld Heritage sites and, as well, consider whether the imagined and simulated captivity
doesn’t in fact operate to contrary purposes— if it doesn’tminimize the very terror it sets out to represent through these mundane
reenactments.
Remembrance grants us a backwards lenses—too see into the past to help us create
new life and a new future
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, 02(Saidiya
V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4,
pp.757-777, CLF)
The point here is not to condemn tourism, but to rigorously examine the politics of memory and
question whether ‘‘working through’’ is even an appropriate model for our relationship with
history. In Representing the Holocaust, Dominick LaCapra opts for working through as kind of middle road
between redemptive totalization and the impossibility of representation and suggests that a
degree of recovery is possible in the context of a responsible working through of the past. He
asserts that in coming to terms with trauma, there is the possibility of retrieving desirable
aspects of the past that might be used in rebuilding a new life. 23 While LaCapra’s arguments are persuasive,
I wonder to what degree the backward glance can provide us with the vision to build a new life?
To what extent need we rely on the past in transforming the present or, as Marx warned, can we
only draw our poetry from the future and not the past? 24 Here I am not advancing the impossibility of
representation or declaring the end of history, but wondering aloud whether the image of enslaved ancestors
can transform the present. I ask this question in order to discover again the political and ethical relevance of the past. If
the goal is something more than assimilating the terror of the past into our storehouse of
memory, the pressing question is,Why need we remember? Does the emphasis on remembering
and working through the past expose our insatiable desires for curatives, healing, and anything
else that proffers the restoration of some prelapsarian intactness? Or is recollection an avenue for undoing
history? Can remembering potentially enable an escape from the regularity of terror and the
routine of violence constitutive of black life in the United States? Or is it that remembering has become the
only conceivable or viable form of political agency? Usually the injunction to remember insists that memory can
prevent atrocity, redeem the dead, and cultivate an understanding of ourselves as both
individuals and collective subjects. Yet, too often, the injunction to remember assumes the ease of
grappling with terror, representing slavery’s crime, and ably standing in the other’s shoes . I am not
proscribing representations of the Middle Passage, particularly since it is the absence of a public history of slavery rather than the
saturation of representation that engenders these compulsive performances, but instead pointing to the danger of facile invocations
of captivity, sound bites about themillions lost, and simulations of the past that substitute for critical engagement. These
encounters with slavery are conditioned by the repression and erasure of the violent history of
deportation and social death in the national imagination, and the plantation pastorals and epics of ethnicity
that stand in their stead. In this respect, the journey back is as much motivated by the desire to return
to the site of origin and the scene of the fall, as with the invisible landscape of slavery, the
unmarked ports of entry in the United States, and the national imperative to forget slavery,
render it as romance, or relegate it to some prehistory that has little to do with the present. The
restored plantations of the South reek with the false grandeur of the good old days, and the cabins don’t appear horrible enough. Too
easily, onemight conclude,Well, things weren’t all that bad. The starkness of the dungeons seems to permit a certain dignity; their
cavernous emptiness resonates with the unspeakable. These blank spaces hint at the enormity of loss, the millions disappeared, and
what Amiri Baraka describes as ‘‘the X-ed space, the empty space where we live, the space that is left of our history now a mystery.’’
Education Turn
Education Lies at the Route of Liberation for Those Being Persecuted By the
System—Only Through Knowledge of Injustice Can the Slave Other Throw the
System
Farley 5,[ Anthony. Prof. Farley specializes in Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and Legal Theory. Taught at Boston
College Before Teaching at Albany “Perfecting Slavery” Page 248-249]
We are called and our childhood begins. We begin as children. We begin to make choices and those choices are what we become.
Our calling must be preceded by our education in that calling. We are educated or trained and that
training regimen, our specific education, 103 may become our calling, depending upon what we choose to make of
ourselves and our situations. Freedom, then, is the only calling. The slave has no choices. The will of the slave
is not its own. The slave is owned and so cannot own its choices. The slave, being property, cannot own. Property cannot own
property. We are called out of objecthood. Education is a calling into freedom, a calling out of objecthood.
The slave is not called. The slave is not free. The
slave is an object. The slave, however, may come to
understand itself as an object and that makes it the most peculiar object in the world or out of it. The slave is the most
peculiar object in that it senses its own abjection, it understands the abjection it senses as its own abjection, and, furthermore, it
senses that abjection as the only thing that it may rightly be said to own. The slave owns only its abjection. Can
freedom be made from such a call? Anything is possible. And abjection is a calling. Abjection calls the
slave into objecthood. The slave perfects itself as a slave when it follows the call to objecthood. The call to
objecthood, abjection, implies, for the cunning slave, another direction. 104 The slave has no maps for these other territories.
Slavery is death. For the master, education in the slave is a horror. 105 For the master, the educated
slave is uncanny. 106 Education brings the slave, who is death, back from death, back from the undiscovered
country, back to life. This is uncanny for the master because the master has knowing non-knowledge that to return from
death, the slave must end slavery. 107 The master experiences this knowing non-knowledge as uncanny. We fear death
and the slave is the body of the death that we fear: The fear of the dead, who return to take away with them the living, has found an
explanation from the point of view of individual and social psychology in the unconscious death wishes which the survivor harbored
against the dead person while he lived, because of which he now fears that person’s vengeance. 108 The master should be
afraid. The slaves that return from the undiscovered country do indeed plan to “take away with
them the living” 109 and so the fear of death, and of the return of the dead, has a foundation. White-overblack—death—is the foundation. Education undermines the foundation of white-over-black and so
education of the slave is the foundation of the fear of the dead. Education is the way that the slave begins its
return from the undiscovered country. Revolution is the way that the returned slaves complete their return and, through that
completion, manage to “take away with them the living.” 110
Impacts
Foundation of all violence
Objective anti-Black violence is the structural base for all conflicts Wilderson 11 (Frank, Associate Professor, African American Studies Dept., UC Irvine, “The
Vengeance of Vertigo: Aphasia and Abjection in the Political Trials of Black Insurgents”,
InTensions, Vol 5, http://www.yorku.ca/intent/issue5/articles/frankbwildersoniii.php#footxvii,
)
[2] With only small arms and crude explosives at their disposal, with little of nothing in the way of logistical support,iii with no
liberated zone to claim or reclaim, and with no more than a vague knowledge that there were a few hundred other insurgents
scattered throughout the U.S. operating in largely uncoordinated and decentralized units,iv the BLA launched 66 operationsv
against the largest police state in the world. Vertigo must have seized them each time they clashed with agents of a nuclear-weapons
regime with three million troops in uniform, a regime that could put 150,000 new police on the streets in any given year, and whose
ordinary White citizens frequently deputize themselves in the name of law and order. Subjective vertigo, no doubt: a
dizzying sense that one is moving or spinning in an otherwise stationary world, a vertigo brought on by
a clash of grossly asymmetrical forces. There are suitable analogies, for this kind of vertigo must have also seized Native Americans
who launched the AIM’s occupation of Wounded Knee, and FALN insurgents who battled the FBI. [3] Subjective vertigo is
vertigo of the event. But the sensation that one is not simply spinning in an otherwise stable
environment, that one’s environment is perpetually unhinged stems from a relationship to violence that
cannot be analogized. This is called objective vertigo, a life constituted by disorientation rather than a life
interrupted by disorientation. This is structural as opposed to performative violence. Black
subjectivity is a crossroads where vertigoes meet, the intersection of performative and structural
violence. [4] Elsewhere I have argued that the Black is a sentient being though not a Human being. The Black’s and the
Human’s disparate relationship to violence is at the heart of this failure of incorporation and analogy. The Human suffers contingent
violence, violence that kicks in when s/he resists (or is perceived to resist) the disciplinary discourse of capital and/or Oedipus. But
Black peoples’ subsumption by violence is a paradigmatic necessity, not just a performative
contingency. To be constituted by and disciplined by violence, to be gripped simultaneously by
subjective and objective vertigo, is indicative of a political ontology which is radically different
from the political ontology of a sentient being who is constituted by discourse and disciplined by
violence when s/he breaks with the ruling discursive codes.vi When we begin to assess revolutionary armed
struggle in this comparative context, we find that Human revolutionaries (workers, women, gays and lesbians,
post-colonial subjects) suffer subjective vertigo when they meet the state’s disciplinary violence
with the revolutionary violence of the subaltern; but they are spared objective vertigo. This is
because the most disorienting aspects of their lives are induced by the struggles that arise from
intra-Human conflicts over competing conceptual frameworks and disputed cognitive maps,
such as the American Indian Movement’s demand for the return of Turtle Island vs. the U.S.’s
desire to maintain territorial integrity, or the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional’s (FALN)
demand for Puerto Rican independence vs. the U.S.’s desire to maintain Puerto Rico as a
territory. But for the Black, as for the slave, there are no cognitive maps, no conceptual
frameworks of suffering and dispossession which are analogic with the myriad maps and
frameworks which explain the dispossession of Human subalterns. [5] The structural, or
paradigmatic, violence that subsumes Black insurgents’ cognitive maps and conceptual
frameworks, subsumes my scholarly efforts as well. As a Black scholar, I am tasked with making sense of this
violence without being overwhelmed and disoriented by it. In other words, the writing must somehow be indexical of
that which exceeds narration, while being ever mindful of the incomprehension the writing
would foster, the failure, that is, of interpretation were the indices to actually escape the
narrative. The stakes of this dilemma are almost as high for the Black scholar facing his/her reader as they are for the Black
insurgent facing the police and the courts. For the scholarly act of embracing members of the Black Liberation Army as beings
worthy of empathic critique is terrifying. One’s writing proceeds with fits and starts which have little to do with the problems of
building the thesis or finding the methodology to make the case. As I write, I am more aware of the rage and anger of my readerideal (an angry mob as readers) than I am of my own interventions and strategies for assembling my argument. Vertigo seizes me
with a rash of condemnations that emanate from within me and swirl around me. I am speaking to me but not through me, yet there
seems to be no other way to speak. I am speaking through the voice and gaze of a mob of, let’s just say it, White Americans; and my
efforts to marshal a mob of Black people, to conjure the Black Liberation Army smack of compensatory gestures. It is not that the
BLA doesn’t come to my aid, that they don’t push back, but neither I nor my insurgent allies can make the case that we are worthy of
our suffering and justified in our actions and not terrorists and apologists for terror who should be locked away forever. How can we
be worthy of our suffering without being worthy of ourselves? I press on, even though the vertigo that seizes me is so overwhelming
that its precise nature—subjective, stemming from within me, or objective, catalyzed by my context, the raging throng—cannot be
determined. I have no reference points apart from the mob that gives no quarter. If I write “freedom fighter,” from within my ear
they scream “terrorist”! If I say “prisoner of war,” they chant “cop killer”! Their denunciations are sustained only by assertion, but
they ring truer than my painstaking exegesis. No firewall protects me from them; no liberated psychic zone offers me sanctuary. I
want to stop and turn myself in.
Capitalist Exploitation
Blackness is the Basis of Capital
Wilderson, 03 (Frank, “Gramsci's Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society” an
American writer, dramatist, filmmaker and critic. He is a full professor of Drama and African
American studies at the University of California, Irvine. Pp. 6, AF)
Capital was kick-started by the rape of the African continent. This phenomenon is central to neither Gramsci
nor Marx. The theoretical importance of emphasizing this in the early 21st century is two-fold: First, “the
socio-political order of the New World” (Spillers 1987: 67) was kick-started by approaching a
particular body (a Black body) with direct relations of force, not by approaching a White body
with variable capital. Thus, one could say that slavery—the “accumulation” of Black bodies
regardless of their utility as laborers (Hartman; Johnson) through an idiom of despotic power
(Patterson)—is closer to capital's primal desire than is waged oppression—the “exploitation” of
unraced bodies (Marx, Lenin, Gramsci) that labor through an idiom of rational/symbolic (the wage) power: A relation of terror
as opposed to a relation of hegemony.
The use of cycles as a result of cultures leads to an economic collapse under the
guise of capitalist growth
Snead 81 (James, James Arthur Snead was a professor, fiction writer, and film critic whose
academic work analyzed literary modernism "On Repetition in Black Culture"; Black American
Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 4; published in 1981; p. 149)
Black culture highlights the observance of such repetition, often in homage to an original generative instance or act. Cosmogony, the
origins and stability of things, hence prevails because it recurs, not because the world continues to develop from the archetypal
moment. Periodic ceremonies are ways that black culture comes to terms with its perception of
repetition, precisely by highlighting that perception. Dance often accompanies those ritualistic occasions when a
seasonal return is celebrated and the "rounds" of the dance (as of the "Ring Shout" or "Circle Dance") recapitulate the "roundings" of
natural time: Christmas, New Year's, funerals, harvest-time.'7 Weddings especially are a re-enactment of the
initial act of coupling that created mankind and are therefore particularly well-suited as
recognitions of recurrence. Conscious cultural observance of natural repetition no longer characterizes European culture.
The German wedding festival, for example, the Hochzeit, is today fully divested of its original ties to the repeating New Year's festival
Hochgezit, and the sense of an individual marriage as a small-scale image of a larger renewal and repetition is now gone. 8
Outside of the seasonal markings of farmers' almanacs, the sort of precise celebration of time's passage and
return that we see in Spenser's Shepheards Calender or in the cyclical mystery plays has been out of general favor in
recent times (or simply consigned to the realm of the demonic as in the Mephistophelean "I've already buried heaps of them!/And
aways new blood, fresh blood, circulates again/So it goes on . . ."19). Yet the year does still go around: How does European
culture deal with perceived cycles? Recurrent national and sacred holidays are still marked, but with every sense of a
progression having taken place between them. The "New Year's Resolution" and its frequent unfulfillment
precisely recall the attempt and failure to impose a character of progression and improvement
onto an often non-progressing temporal movement. Successive public Christmas celebrations and ornamental
displays vie to show increase in size, splendor, or brightness from previous ones (although, significantly, the realm of sacred ritual,
while immediately co-existing with the commercial culture, still works to bar any inexact repetition of religious liturgy, such as in the
Nativity service). Other contemporary cycles, such as the four-year intervals of the Olympic Games and Presidential Elections,
fervently need to justify their obvious recurrence by some standard of material improvement or progress: a new or larger Olympic
site or new Olympic records, a new or better political party or personality. In European culture, financial and production cycles have
largely supplanted the conscious sort of natural return in black culture. The financial year is the perfect example of
this Hegelian subsumption of development within stasis. For repetition must be exact in all
financial accounting, given that, globally, capital ultimately circulates within closed tautological
systems (i.e., decrease in an asset is either an increase in another asset or a decrease in a liability, both within a corporate firm
and in its relations with other firms). The "annual report" of a business concern, appearing cyclically in
yearly or interim rhythm (always on the same "balance-sheet date"), contains ever the same kinds of
symbols about the concern's health or decrepitude. It is only the properties of difference between year2 and yeari
(as quantified by numerical changes in the symbols-say, in the cash flow matrix) which suggest the means by which the essentially
exact repetitions are to be evaluated and translated into a vocabulary of growth and development. Capital, hence, will not
only necessarily circulate but must consequently also accumulate or diminish, depending on the state of
the firm. Economics
and business, in their term "cyclicality," admit the existence and even the
necessity of repetition of decline, but continually overlay this rupture in the illusion of
continuous growth with a rhetoric of "incremental" or "staged" development, which asserts that
the repetition of decline in a cycle may occur, but occurs only within an overall upward or spiral
tendency.2
Capitalism causes slavery to transition into other forms of forced servitude – there
is the societal belief that since the slaves were freed they are in debt to the
government and should pay for their freedom by doing the same work and acting
the same as they would if they were still slaves.
Hartman, 3. (professor at Columbia University specializing in African American literature and
history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC Irvine, Saidiya and
Frank B, published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought, pg 185-186)
S.V.H. - ¶ Right. And this is where the larger narrative of capitalism comes into play. Because, basically, in
most places in the world, ¶ you have a transition from slavery to other modes of involuntary ¶
servitude. In my work, I critique the received narrative about the ¶ transition from slavery to
freedom in the American context, but we ¶ could also look at that same kind of transformation in relation to ¶ the antislavery rhetoric that comes to legitimize the colonial pro¶ ject in Africa. By the nineteenth century, slavery was the dominant ¶ mode
of production in West Africa. Eventually, the European ¶ nations decided "This is an awful institution and we need to stop ¶ it," so we
get King Leopold masking his atrocities in the Congo in ¶ the discourse of anti-slavery, or British colonial figures in Ghana ¶
effectively saying, "Well, we saved you from the slave raider so you ¶ should be grateful."19 In both cases, it's the same notion:
"We've ¶ given you your freedom, so now you're in our debt ." ¶ F.W - And that brings us to Reconstruction in
your book where ¶ you're talking about post-jubilee: ¶ The
good conduct encouraged by such counsels eased ¶
the transition from slavery to freedom by imploring the ¶ freed to continue in old forms of
subservience, which ¶ primarily entailed remaining on the plantation as faith ¶ ful, hardworking,
and obedient laborers, but also ¶ included manners, styles of comportment in work rela ¶ tions,
objects of consumption, leisure, and domestic ¶ relations. In their emphasis on proper conduct,
these ¶ schoolbooks resuscitated the social roles of slavery, not ¶ unlike the regulation of behavior
in labor contracts or¶ the criminalization of impudence in the Black Codes. ¶ The pedagogical
injunctions to obedience and servility ¶ cast the freed in a world starkly similar to the one in ¶
which they had suffered under slavery. On the one ¶ hand, these texts heralded the natural rights
of all men; ¶ and on the other, they advised blacks to refrain from ¶ enjoying this newly conferred
equality. Despite procla ¶ mations about the whip's demise, emergent forms of ¶ involuntary
servitude, the coercive control of black ¶ labor, the repressive instrumentality of the law, and the
¶ social intercourse of everyday life revealed the entan¶ glements of slavery and freedom. (S, 151) ¶
So. There's this whole army of white people - missionaries, educators, and the like - who go down South to help rehabilitate the ¶
Negro after slavery. And in reading that, a wave of cynicism swept ¶ over me, because all of a sudden I thought of Freedom Summer,¶
and the white students in SNCC, which is a blasphemous thought ¶ to have. ¶ S.V.H. - It's too immediate, but yes. I mean, it's
incredible: these¶ people have been working ¶ suddenly there's this question of whether or not they
can actually ¶ be productive. And here as everywhere else in the world, you need ¶ violence to make a
working class. So what you see are the various ¶ means utilized to do that: forms of state violence,
extra-state vio ¶ lence, and the values propagated by moralizing and religious dis ¶ courses. And
what's interesting is that the black elites become the ¶ purveyors of those very values. Kevin Gaines
has shown in Uplifting ¶ the Race how in many ways the agenda of the black elite is reac¶ tionary and they
are, in effect, the handmaidens of the state.
This position of ownership fosters an economy of control that ensures slavery and
social ineptitude
Farley 8(Anthony , Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Paul Farley, B.A., University of
Virginia, J.D., Harvard Law School, 2008, “The Colorline as Capitalist Accumulation”, p. 953963, Accessed: 7/5/14) //AMM
An owner purchases fixed capital and variable capital and sets in motion the alchemy the result
of which is the production of commodities. The owner, "the capitalist," is said to have "produced"
these commodities. The owner has produced these commodities not for their use value but rather for their exchange
value, a peculiar value that can be realized only if there is a market for their exchange or sale. If all goes
as planned by the owner, then the required fixed and variable capital will be available on the market and the commodities produced
will be sold on the market and the value received for the commodities produced will be in excess of the value expended in their
production. Failure is possible for the individual capitalist because there are competitors in the
market. Failure, repeated often enough, results in the precipitation of the failed, and therefore former, capitalist
down to the black planet of the dispossessed. Individual capitalists fail and fall and then cease to be capitalists. Inaividual capitalist
failures and successes are the expected result of market freedom and competition. The individual capitalist is merely
an avatar of capitalism, not capitalism itself. Capitalism itself is kept aloft by the capitalists as a
class, and not by any particular capitalist or set of capitalists. Only the failure of the owners as a class can bring about the classless
society. Failure of the owners as a class would mean that the dispossession occasioned by the mark—the original accumulation—has
been undone. Failure or success of the individual capitahst is the way that capital is said to move from less to more productive (of
capital) enterprises. An invisible hand—Is it the hand of God?—is said to make certain that capital moves in ways that make the
market the best of all possible worlds. The market must become the entire world or capitalism falls apart.
If there is an escape from the market, that is to say, if there is a remainder of the commons, then those with
only their skins to alienate will remove themselves from the market to the commons. If escape is
possible, then the offer made by the capitalists to the dispossessed will be refused and the
dispossession that is the soulless soul of the system of capital will be undone. The offer made by the capitalist is the
offer of employment or death. The commons were divided into properties of the owners in the initial dispossession. The
dispossessed own only the skins they are in and all else belongs to the inheritors of the initial dispossession. The owners make
an offer, "Work for us." Or, rather, "Work for me." In "exchange" for a certain amount of labor in
accordance with certain directions and at certain level of intensity and under certain conditions, the owner promises to
give the laborer a certain sum of money. The sum given to the laborer must represent a value that is
smaller than that realized by the owner as a result of the laborer's labor in order for the system
of capital to work. Individual owners may fail, but capitalism remains unless the owners fail as a class. The owners, as a class,
succeed so long as they collectively manage to obtain free labor (surplus value), and this they cannot obtain from free laborers. What
is surplus value? Surplus value is the free work that the dispossessed perform for their masters. The
dispossessed work for free because they are not free. The dispossessed are not free to do anything
other than work for free or die. Slavery-or-death is not a choice, each is the other but the dispossessed
repress that fact. In non- revolutionary situations, that is, in law-governed situations, this repression is such that the
dispossessed experience their dispossession as freedom and their social death as life. In
psychoanalytic terms, the dispossessed repress and then screen their repressed experience of
dispossession with a feeling of freedom. The dispossessed experience themselves as free to choose to accept the offers
of this-that-or-the-other representative of the owners of the means of production. They seem free to choose but they
are not free to choose because they are not free to refuse. Capital's legion of representatives produce, by their
numbers, an illusion of choice, and this illusory choice seems like freedom to those who know of nothing to which it might be
compared. One seems free to work for owner-X or owner-Y or owner-Z. The contract between the owners and their
slaves is always the same. The slaves must work for free for their masters. Wages, hours and conditions
may vary between X or Y or Z but the fact of surplus value's extraction is not and cannot be forgotten by any individual capitalist who
cares to remain a capitalist for long. The master's mastery is only the master's ability to dispossess his slaves of the hours and days of
their lives. The slave works for the master and some part of the value of the slave's labor beyond that needed to pay for the materials
of production and labor is retained by the master. Without that retention of surplus value, the master
eventually falls out of the capitalist class. Without the extraction of unpaid labor, there are no
owners. None of the dispossessed would agree to such an exchange without first believing
escape to be impossible. Escape seems a physical impossibility if the market is the entire world.
Escape seems a logical impossibility if there is no alternative. Escape seems unethical and antisocial if this is the best
of all possible worlds. Thus, the entirely of the law and the prophets for the owners is reducible to one sentence; "Resistance is
futile." Slaves educated by the masters* gospel look for happiness in slavery. Where there is oppression, there is
resistance. The resistance of the slave is of the futile sort, as will be demonstrated.
Blackness forces everything about that person – even their enjoyment – to belong
to white people.
Hartman 03. (Saidiya and Frank B, professor at Columbia University specializing in African
American literature and history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC
Irvine published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought , pg 188)
F.W. - And he's suggesting that what it means to be a slave is to¶ be subject to a kind of complete
appropriation, what you call ¶ "property of enjoyment." Your book illustrates the "myriad and ¶ nefarious uses of
slave property" and then demonstrates how "there ¶ was no relation to blackness outside the terms of this use
of, entitlement to, and occupation of the captive body, for even the status ¶ of free blacks was
shaped and compromised by the existence of ¶ slavery" (S, 24). So. Not only are formally enslaved
blacks proper ¶ ty, but so are formally free blacks. One could say that the possibil ¶ ity of
becoming property is one of the essential elements that draws ¶ the line between blackness and
whiteness. But what's most intrigu ¶ ing about your argument is the way in which you demonstrate how ¶ not
only is the slave's performance (dance, music, etc.) the proper ¶ ty of white enjoyment, but so is and this is really key - the¶ slave's own enjoyment of his/her performance: that too belongs to ¶
white people.13
Gratuitous violence
The objectification of blackness means that we are ontologically murdered over
and over again. Black flesh becomes the enslaved profit—the whites make us
disposable and distanced from humanity.
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, 1987,Professor at Vanderbilt University The John Hopkins University
Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book”,
http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/6/14, KM)
Among the myriad uses to which the enslaved community was put, Goodell identifies its value
for medical research: “Assortments of diseased, damaged, and disabled Negroes, deemed
incurable and otherwise worthless are bought up, it seems … by medical institutions, to be
experimented and operated upon, for purposes of ‘medical education’ and the interest of
medical science” [86-87; Goodell’s emphasis ]. From the Charleston Mercury for October 12, 1838, Goodell notes this
advertisement: ¶ ‘To planters and others. – Wanted, fifty Negroes, any person, having sick Negroes, considered
incurable by their respective physicians, and wishing to dispose of them, Dr. S. will pay cash for Negroes affected with
scrofula, or king’s evil, confirmed hypochrondriasm, apoplexy, diseases of the liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach and intestines, bladder
and its appendages, diarrhea, dystentery, etc. The highest cash price will be paid, on application as above.’ At No. 110
Church Street, Charleston. [87; Goodell’s emphasis] ¶ This
profitable “atomizing” of the captive body provides
another angle on the divided flesh: we lose any hint or suggestion of a dimension of ethics, of
relatedness between human personality and cultural institutions. To that extent, the procedures
adopted for the captive flesh demarcate a total objectification, as the entire captive community
becomes a living laboratory. ¶ The captive body, then, brings into focus a gathering of social
realities as well as a metaphor for value so thoroughly interwoven in their literal and figurative
emphases that distinctions between them are virtually useless. Even though the captive flesh/body has been
“liberated,” and no one need pretend that even the quotation marks do not matter, dominant symbolic activity, the ruling
episteme that releases the dynamics of naming and valuation remains grounded in the originating metaphors of captivity and
mutilation so that it is as if neither time nor history, nor historiography and its topics, shows movement, as the human
subject is “murdered” over and over again by the passions of a bloodless and anonymous
archaism, showing itself in endless disguise. Faulkner’s young Chick Mallison in The Mansion calls “it” by other
names – “the ancient subterrene atavistic fear…” [227]. And I would call it the Great Long National Shame. But
people do not talk like that anymore – it is “embarrassing,” just as the retrieval of mutilated
female bodies will likely be “backward” for some people. Neither the shameface of the
embarrassed, nor the not-looking-back of the self-assured is of much interest to us, and will not
help at all if rigor is our dream. We might concede, at the very least, that sticks and bricks might break our bones, but
words will most certainly kill us.
The state of motherhood is reproduced through ideological and legal acts of
naming that dehumanize black women and transform their bodies into flesh and
offspring into slaves.
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, 1987, Professor at Vanderbilt University The John Hopkins University
Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book”,
http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/6/14, KM)
“Ethnicity” perceived as mythical time enables a writer to perform a variety of conceptual moves all at once. Under
[ethnicity’s] its hegemony, the human body becomes a defenseless target for rape and veneration,
and the body, in its material and abstract phase, a resource for metaphor. For example, Moynihan’s “tangle for
pathology” provides the descriptive strategy for the work’s fourth chapter, which suggests that “underachievement”
in black males of the lower classes is primarily the fault of black females, who achieve out of all
proportion, both to their numbers in the community and to the paradigmatic example before the notion: “Ours is a society
which presumes male leadership in private and public affairs…A sub-culture, such as that of the
Negro American, in which this is not the pattern, is placed at a distinct disadvantage” [75]. Between
charts and diagrams, we are asked to consider the impact of qualitative measure on the black male’s performance on standardized
examinations, pact of qualitative measure on the black male’s performance on standardized examinations, matriculation in schools
of higher and professional training, etc. Even though Moynihan sounds a critique on his own argument here, he quickly withdraws
from its possibilities, suggesting that black males should reign because that is the way the majority culture carries things out: “It is
clearly a disadvantage for a minority group to be operating under one principle, while the great majority of the population…is
operating on another” [75]. Those persons living according to the perceived “matriarchal” pattern are, therefore, caught in a state of
social “pathology.” ¶ Even though Daughters have their own agenda with reference to this order of Fathers (imagining for the
moment that Moynihan’s fiction – and others like it – does not represent an adequate one and that there is, once we dis-cover him, a
Father here), my contention that these social and cultural subjects make doubles, unstable in their respective identities,
in effect transports
us to a common historical ground, the socio-political order of the New World.
That order, with its human sequence written in blood, represents for its African and indigenous
peoples a scene of actual mutilation, dismemberment, and exile. First of all, their New-World,
diasporic plight marked a theft of the body – a willful and violent (and unimaginable from this distance)
severing of the captive body from its motive will, its active desire. Under these conditions, we lose at least gender
difference in the outcome, and the female body and the male body become a territory of cultural and political maneuver, not at all
gender-related, gender-specific. But this body, at least from the point of view of the captive community, focuses a private and
particular space, at which point of convergence biological, sexual, social, cultural, linguistic, ritualistic, and psychological fortunes
join. This profound intimacy of interlocking detail is disrupted, however, by externally imposed meanings and uses: 1) the
captive body becomes the source of an irresistible, destructive sensuality; 2) at the same time –
in stunning contradiction – the captive body reduces to a thing, becoming being for the captor; 3)
in this absence from a subject position, the captured sexualities provide a physical and biological
expression of “otherness”; 4) as a category of physical powerlessness that slides in to a more general
“powerlessness,” resonating through various centers of human and social meaning. ¶ But I would make a distinction in
this case between “body” and “flesh” and impose that distinction as the central one between
captive and liberated subject-positions. In that sense, before the “body” there is the “flesh,” that zero
degree of social conceptualization that does not escape concealment under the brush of discourse, or the reflexes of
iconography. Even though the European hegemonies stole bodes – some of them female – out of West African communities in
concert with the African “middleman,” we regard this human and social irreparability as high crimes against the flesh, as the person
of African females and African males registered the wounding. If we think of the “flesh” as a primary narrative, then we mean its
seared, divided, ripped-apartness, riveted to the ship’s hole, fallen, or “escaped” overboard. ¶ One of the most poignant aspects of
William Goodell’s contemporaneous study of the North American slave codes gives precise expression to the tortures and
instruments of captivity. Reporting an instance of Jonathan Edwards’s observations on the tortures of enslavement, Goodell
narrates; “The smack of the whip is all day long in the ears of those who are on the plantation, or in
the vicinity; and it is used with such dexterity and severity as not
only to lacerate the skin, but to tear out small
portions of the flesh at almost every stake” [221]. The anatomical specifications of rupture, of altered human tissue,
take on the objective description of laboratory prose – eyes beaten out, arms backs, skulls branded, a left jaw, a right ankle,
punctured; teeth missing, as the calculated work of iron, whips, chains, knives, the canine patrol, the bullet. ¶ These
undecipherable markings on the captive body render a kind of hieroglyphics of the flesh whose
severe disjunctures come to be hidden to the cultural seeing by skin color. We might well ask if this
phenomenon of marking and branding actually “transfers” from one generation to another , finding
its various symbolic substitutions in an efficacy of meanings that repeat the initiating moments? As Elaine Scarry describes the
mechanisms of torture [Scarry 27-59], these lacerations, woundings, fissures, tears, scars, openings, ruptures, lesions, rendings,
punctures of the flesh create the distance between what I would designate a cultural vestibularity and the culture, whose state
apparatus, including judges, attorneys, “owners,” “soul drivers,” “overseers,” and “men of God,” apparently colludes with a protocol
of “search and destroy.” This body whose flesh carries the female and the male to the frontiers of survival bears in person the marks
of a cultural text whose inside has been turned outside. ¶ The flesh is the concentration of “ethnicity” that
contemporary critical discourses neither acknowledge nor discourse away. It is this “flesh and blood”
entity, in the vestibule (or “pre-view”) of a colonized North America, that is essentially ejected from “The Female Body in Western
Culture” [see Suleiman, ed.], but it makes good theory, or commemorative “herstory” to want to “forget,” or to have failed to realize,
that the African female subject, under these historic conditions, is not only the target of rape – in
one sense, an interiorized violation of body and mind – but also the topic of specifically externalized
acts of torture and prostration that we imagine as the peculiar province of male brutality and torture inflicted by other
males. A female body strung from a tree limb, or bleeding from the breast on any given day of field work because the “overseer,”
standing the length of a whip, has popped her flesh open, adds a lexical and living dimension to the narratives of women in culture
and society [Davis 9]. This materialized scene of unprotected female flesh – of female flesh “ungendered” – offers a praxis and a
theory, a text for living and for dying, and a method for reading both through their diverse mediations.
Since blacks are view as non-persons, it creates a view that any crime against a
black person is allowed because they are seen as never having any opposition to
the crimes committed against them.
Hartman, 3. (professor at Columbia University specializing in African American literature and
history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC Irvine, Saidiya and
Frank B, published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought, pg 185-186)
FW. -And in those terms we might think about how Rodney King ¶ was accused of inviting his own beating;
you know, he shook his ¶ ass in an aggressive manner at a white woman. So maybe you ¶ could sketch out
the way in which the black woman functions sim ¶ ilarly in slavery, as somehow outside the statutory,
or inside it: she ¶ cannot be raped because she's a non-person yet she is presumed to ¶ invite the
rapist.¶ S. VH. - Yes. No crime can occur because the slave statutes rec ¶ ognize no such crime. Often
when I'm looking through the crimi ¶ nal record of the nineteenth century, I'm seeing the text of
black ¶ agency. The people who are resisting their masters and overseers ¶ appear in the records
as they're prosecuted for their crime, creating ¶ this displacement of culpability that enables
white innocence. In ¶ the case of State of Missouri v. Celia (1855), Celia is raped repeat ¶ edly by
her owner from the moment she's purchased. She begs him ¶ to stop; he doesn't, so she kills him.
Her crime is the crime on ¶ record: she is the culpable agent.18 So in this formulation of law ¶ and its
punishment, blackness is on the side of culpability, which ¶ makes the crimes of property
transparent and affirms the rights to ¶ property in captives. ¶ And you're right, that displacement functions
more generally. ¶ Who is the responsible and culpable agent? For the most part, it's ¶ always the slave,
the native, the black.
Blackness constitutes an ontological marking that sets the basis for mastery and
exploitation
Farley, 8 (Anthony Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Paul Farley, B.A., University of
Virginia, J.D., Harvard Law School, 2008, “The Colorline as Capitalist Accumulation”, p. 953963, Accessed: 7/5/14) //AMM
We are all flesh and all flesh is common until it is marked. The marking of flesh is accomplished by
violence. Some are to have and others are to have not. Those who want to possess must mark the others for
dispossession. The haves must come together as one, as Leviathan, because no one can rule another
alone. The one must sleep sometime, and the sleep of the master is the emancipation of the slave. Leviathan, the state, with its
many eyes and rules, murders sleep. Law begins as the masters come together as one, as Leviathan. The masters come
together as one through the mark. Before the mark of dispossession, all we have is the skin that holds
us. Before the mark, the skin we are in holds all of us in common and all is common. The mark must
therefore be made or found ready-made on the skin. The mark, written or found already-written on the skin,
separates those who are to have from those who are to have not. The mark splits the first commons. The first
commons is the skin that we are all in. Before the mark, we are. After the mark, we are white-over-black.
Ownership of things is first and last and always ownership of people. The would-be owners must
mark those whom they would own for dispossession. The mark, white- over-black, is made on the flesh. The mark is
made with violence. The mark is a fatal wound. White-over-black is slavery and slavery is death, death only,
and that continually. The monopolization of things needed to live—fields, factories, forests and so on—is
instituted by the violence of the mark. The mark shows who is to own and who is to be owned. The
mark is the first and last and enduring moment in the history of ownership because ownership of things
is first and last and always ownership of people. The flesh is marked and the would-be owners direct the violence of dispossession
against those marked for violent dispossession (Middle Passage, Manifest Destiny, Infinite Justice and so on). What was
common to all flesh—fields, factories, forests and so on—is violently enclosed within the horizon of the
mark. The owner's ownership of a field or a factory or a forest is treated as a right over non-owners. Ownership means ownership
by some and not by all. And ownership means that the entire world must come to be owned , otherwise
there would an exodus of the dispossessed from the spaces of their dispossession. Those who own are
owners. Those who do not own are themselves owned. The non-owners are owned, like things, by the owners. The owners' will
governs the owner's objects—fields, factories, forests and so on—and the owned must surrender themselves to the class or
collective will of the owners or die. This
surrender or abdication of will is impossible for the living, for
living is nothing other than the choices by presented with a choice that is not a life choice:
Surrender to the will of the owner and die or surrender to the elements and die. The
dispossessed, marked as not-owning the fields, factories, forests or any of the other things needed to keep the furies and fates,
like hunger and exposure, at bay, are destroyed. The destruction, however, is not all at once, it is endless.
And the endlessness of this destruction requires that they, the dispossessed, are first made mad.
Libidinal economy
Anti-Black terror sustains Human community and fragments the Black psyche –
only the incomprehensible end of the world solves Wilderson 11 (Frank, PhD, Associate Professor, African American Studies Dept., UC Irvine,
“The Vengeance of Vertigo: Aphasia and Abjection in the Political Trials of Black Insurgents”,
InTensions, Vol 5, Acc: 02/03/12, )
Ritual murders which purge White aggressivity subtend Bukhari’s impeded mourning and my dissembling
scholarship, despite the fact that the filial cleansing and affilial stability proffered by the Black
imago’s intrusion as a phobic object does not cut both ways. The Black psyche emerges within a
context of force, or structural violence, which is not analogous to the emergence of White or
non-Black psyches. The upshot of this emergence is that the Black psyche is in a perpetual war with itself
because it is usurped by a White gaze that hates the Black imago and wants to destroy it. The
Black self is a divided self or, better, it is a juxtaposition of hatred projected toward a Black
imago and love for a White ideal: hence the state of war (Marriott, “Fanon’s War”). This state of being at war
forecloses upon the possession of elements constitutive of psychic integration: bearing witness
(to suffering), atonement, naming and recognition, representation. As such, one cannot
represent oneself, even to oneself as a bona fide political subject, as a subject of redress. Black
political ontology is foreclosed in the unconscious just as it is foreclosed in the court. “[I]t may not be
too fanciful to suggest,” Marriott writes, “that the black ego, far from being too immature or weak to
integrate, is an absence haunted by its and others’ negativity. In this respect the memory of loss
is its only possible communication” (425). It is important to note that loss is an effect of temporality; it
implies a syntagmatic chain that absence cannot apprehend. Marriott’s psychoanalytic inquiries work through
the word “loss” in order to demonstrate the paucity of its explanatory power. Again, loss indicates a prior plenitude,
absence does not. [29] Marriott explains how we all work together, how we all bond over the Black imago as
phobic object, that we might form a psychic community even though we cannot form political
community. He does so by recalling that exemplary moment in Black Skin, White Masks, when Fanon sees himself through the
eyes of a White boy who cries in terror, “Look a Negro!” Symbolically, Fanon knows that any black man could have triggered the
child’s fantasy of being devoured that attaches itself to a fear of blackness, for this fear signifies the “racial epidermal schema” of
Western culture—the unconscious fear of being literally consumed by the black other. Neither the boy nor Fanon seems able to avoid
this schema, moreover, for culture determines and maintains the imago associated with blackness; cultural fantasy allows Fanon
and the boy to form a bond through racial antagonism (“Bonding over Phobia” 420). [30] This phobia is comprised of
affective responses, sensory reactions or presubjective constellations of intensities, as well as
representational responses, such as the threatening imago of a fecal body which portends
contamination. And this affective/representational performance is underwritten by
paradigmatic violence; which is to say the fantasy secures what Marriott calls “its objective
value” because it lives within violence too pervasive to describe.xvi “The picture of the black psyche that
emerges from” this intrusion “is one that is always late, never on time, violently presented and fractured by these moments of
specular intrusion” (“Bonding over Phobia” 420). The overwhelming psychic alienation that emerges from
literal fear and trembling of the White boy when Fanon appears, accompanied by “the foul
language that despoils…is traumatic for” the Black psyche. One comes to learn that when one
appears, one brings with one the threat of cannibalism. “What a thing,” writes Fanon, “to have eaten one’s
the
father!” (Black Skin, White Masks)And the Black psyche retains the memory of that eternal White “fear of being eaten … [and]
turned into shit by an organic communion with the black body … [This] is one of the most depressing and melancholic fantasies
ensuing from the psychodynamics of intrusion” (“Bonding over Phobia” 421). [31] Again, though this is a bond between Blacks and
Whites, it is produced by a violent intrusion that does not cut both ways. Whereas the phobic bond is an injunction against Black
psychic integration and Black filial and affilial relations, it is the life blood of White psychic integration and filial (which is to say
domestic) and affilial (or institutional) relations. [32] To add to this horror, when we scale up from the cartography of the mind to
the terrain of armed struggle and the political trials, we may be faced with a situation in which the eradication of the generative
mechanism of Black suffering is something that is not in anyone’s interest. Eradication of the generative mechanisms of Black
suffering explored in this article, is not in the interest of the court, as Justice Taney demonstrates as his ruling mobilizes the fantasy
of immigration to situate the Native American within political community and to insure the African’s standing as a genealogical
isolate. Taney’s majority decision suggests that juridical and political standing, like subjectivity itself, are not constituted by positive
attributes but by their capacity to sidestep niggerization. Nor is the eradication of the generative mechanisms of Black suffering in
the interests of the White political prisoners such a David Gilbert and Judith Clark, Kuwasi Balagoon’s codefendants—their
ideological opposition to the court, capitalism, and imperialism notwithstanding, because such ideological oppositions mark
conflicts within the world rather than an antagonism to the world. Eradication
of the generative mechanisms of
Black suffering would mean the end of the world and they would find themselves peering into an
abyss (or incomprehensible transition) between epistemes; between, that is, the body of ideas
that determine that knowledge that is intellectually certain at any particular time. In other words, they
would find themselves suspended between worlds. This trajectory is too iconoclastic for working class, postcolonial, and/or radical feminist conceptual frameworks. The Human need to be liberated in the
world is not the same as the Black need to be liberated from the world; which is why even their
most radical cognitive maps draw borders between the living and the dead. Finally, if we push Marriott’s
findings to the wall, it becomes clear that eradication of the generative mechanisms of Black suffering is also not in the interests of
Black revolutionaries. For how can we disimbricate Black juridical and political desire from the Black psyche’s desire to destroy the
Black imago, a desire which constitutes the psyche? In short, bonding with Whites and non-Blacks over phobic reactions to the Black
imago provides the Black psyche with the only semblance of psychic integration it is likely to have: the need to destroy a Black imago
and love a White ideal. “In these circumstances, having a ‘white’ unconscious may be the only way to connect with—or even
contain—the overwhelming and irreparable sense of loss. The intruding fantasy offers the medium to connect with the lost internal
object, the ego, but there is also no ‘outside’ to this ‘real fantasy’ and the effects of intrusion are irreparable” (“Bonding over Phobia”
426). This raises the question, who is the speaking subject of Black insurgent testimony? Who bears witness when the Black
insurgent takes the stand? Black political horizons are singularly constrained, because the process through which the Black
unconscious emerges and through which Black people form psychic community with Humans is the very process which bars Black
people from political community.
Racism
The history of blacks and whites are inherently intertwined. The Other and the
Oppressor are equally intertwined, the link created by movements of the Other to
be equal to the Oppressor. We need to look at the colorlined space in the sense of
the body to find a way to break free.
Farley 2002, Prof @ Albany Law School, (Anthony P., 2002, “The Poetics of Colorlined Space,”
p.98)
We have not Overcome. We have been Overcome. We have been Overcome by our own belief in the “green
light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster.”
Gatsby believed in the American Dream, “the orgastic future” represented by his belief. Gatsby had to be excluded
for the green light to keep shining. The marchets believed in the orgastic future and the green light. The word
“orgastic” captures perfectly the erotic tangle of dreams and desires that causes masters and
their slaves, owning classes and their working classes, and whites and their blacks to cleave to one another. This union of
oppressor and oppressed begets the non-revolutionary situation. Power is seductive. Put
another way: Seduction is a strategy of power.The green light is a way of organizing, of understanding, the space
between “East Egg” and “West Egg.” It is the space of longing and the space of refusal. It is the space that begets the elite and,
necessarily, those Others whose exclusion renders elitism possible. It is a way of seducing us into
the space of white-over-black. That space, the colorline, is a space of longing and refusal. In it the
excluded long for inclusion, the included enjoy their exclusivity, and each party pretends that it
does not find in the other the necessary condition of its own possibility. Put another way, each is the other’s
bastard child. Domination and submission—each finds itself, its history and its genealogy, in the
other. There are no whites without blacks, men without women, straights without lesbians and gays, rich without
poor, or high caste without low. There is no hierarchy without pretense. We pretend that the space
marked by the line is not filled with poetic significance. Strangely, even as we pretend, we become adept at
navigating the emotional, the sensual, terrain of colorlined space. We become masters of submission—
white and black. We pretend because it is easier to dream of the green light and the orgastic future than to face the cruel
inevitability of the current situation. Again, Fitzgerald is instructive: “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the
tired.” The green light, the orgastic future, is the form of pleasure that links the pursued with their
pursuers and the busy with the tired. Both parties to the pseudo-conflict are linked by an erotic of
mastery and slavery. Race is a form of pleasure. For whites, it is a sadistic pleasure in decorating
black bodies with disdain. For blacks—in today’s non-revolutionary situation—it has become a
masochistic pleasure in being so decorated. Oppressors require an Other in order to imagine
themselves as elite. The system acquires its stability from the desires it cultivates in its
perpetually excluded Others. The green light over the bay, like the Civil Rights Movement
longing for equal rights and inclusion (“diversity”) within this oppressive order of things, is a
form of longing that links oppressed to oppressor at levels too deep for the mind to touch. This
chapter is a postmodern reply to Critical Race Theory and critical legal studies. Both movements
have traced, with breathtaking creativity, the myriad ways in which segregation has adapted
itself to its post-civil-rights institutional environment. Both movements have relied on maps of
the political economy of colorlined space to reach their powerful conclusions. I am following a
new map, a map of the senses. The sensual contours of colorlined space must be heeded if we
are to understand how the colorline operates and, more important, break free of its confines . CRT
presents racism as permanent, but it does not explain why. CLS presents law as politics that finds itself expressed as law is inevitably
the politics of the colorline. CRT and CLS have failed to map an important aspect of colorlined space because
they have both privileged the mind over the body. This article may be used as a map of
colorlined space from the perspective of the body. It is a map of colorlined space—the pleasurescape—that reveals the S/M nature of the current order of things.
Slavery
Slavery can never be forgiven—racial subjection, incarceration, impoverishment
and second class citizen ship are all echoes of the legacy of slavery
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, (Saidiya V.,
Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4, pp.757777, CLF)
What becomes apparent, despite the proclaimed unanimity of the ancestors and their
descendants in the commonplace pronouncement ‘‘You are back’’ is the ambivalence of the
identification with Africa forged in these encounters. After all, the origin identified is the site of rupture and,
ironically, the forts and castles built by Europeans come to approximate home. Loss predominates at this imagined site of origin,
since the genesis of the diaspora is located in this commercial deportation. This unhomely home hints that this state
of exile and estrangement might well be inescapable.14 Nor is an African identity easily reclaimed, since one is as
likely to be called obroni, which means ‘‘foreigner’’ or ‘‘white,’’ as ‘‘sister’’ and these salutations actually achieve a strange equality as
designations of exchange relations, markers of foreignness, and inducements to buy.While remembering the ‘‘anguish
of the ancestors’’ is a central aspect of the pilgrimage to these monuments of the transatlantic
trade, recursion is also informed by the imperatives and longings of the present.That is,
dispossession is itself an inheritance that tethers us to ‘‘that event.’’ Racial subjection,
incarceration, impoverishment and second-class citizenship: this is the legacy of slavery that still
haunts us.15 The duration of injury and the seemingly intractable character of our defeat account for the living presence of
slavery, and as well for the redress proffered by tourism.
Black people are doing the work of society only to die – the state can do nothing to
solve for these harms because racial inequality is continuous throughout the
government and society as a whole.
Hartman, 3. (Saidiya and Frank B, , professor at Columbia University specializing in African
American literature and history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC
Irvine published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought pg 197-198)
F.W - And living in this order, black people are still doing the ¶ work in those innocent scenes. They're
doing the work of dying; ¶ black women are doing the work of recognizing white women in ¶ their
quests as in Mildred Pierce;28 and black men are performing ¶ the work of recognizing the sexual
virility of white men. That's real ¶ ly important work that we're called upon to do and still live
under ¶ the specter of despotism. ¶ So maybe we're still - and this is very tragic ¶ B. Wells club was. We're trying to
make ourselves over so that they ¶ don't kill us. ¶ S. VH. - And I think the underlying question is, "Where do we go ¶
from here?"¶ F. W - Is that leading us to reparations?¶ S.VH. - Yes. I've been thinking about the notion of focusing one's¶
appeal to the very state that has inflicted the injury. The reparations¶ movement puts itself in
this contradictory or impossible position, ¶ because reparations are not going to solve the
systemic ongoing ¶ production of racial inequality, in material or any other terms. And ¶ like
inequality, racial domination and racial abjection are pro ¶ duced across generations. In that sense,
reparations seem like a ¶ very limited reform: a liberal scheme based upon certain notions of ¶
commensurability that reinscribe the power of the law and of the¶ state to make right a certain
situation, when, clearly, it cannot. ¶ I think too that such thinking reveals an idealist trap; it's as if ¶ once
Americans know how the wealth of the country was ¶ acquired, they'll decide that black people
are owed something. My ¶ God! Why would you assume that? Like housing segregation is an ¶ accident! I
think that logic of "if they only knew otherwise" is ¶ about the disavowal of political will. Why is the welfare state dis ¶ mantled, even
though it's actually going to affect more white ¶ women and children than black people? Because it has to do with¶ that political will
and an antipathy to blackness that structures .. .
State of Exception
The state of exception is premised on blackness as object – this legitimizes
colonialized violence that is in-seperable from the institutions founded on the
juridical structure of slavery
Sexton 10 (Jared, Director, African American Studies School of Humanities. Associate Professor,
African American Studies School of Humanities People of Color Blindness; published in 1998; p.
32-33-BRW)
In Means without End, the theoretical précis of his Homo Sacer tetralogy,1 Giorgio Agamben suggests that under
present conditions “we will have to abandon decidedly, without reservation, the fundamental
concepts through which we have so far represented the subjects of the political (Man, the Citizen and its
rights, but also the sovereign people, the worker, and so forth) and build our political philosophy anew starting from the one and
only figure of the refugee.”2 The proposal derives from a paramount concern to counteract the increasing
institutionalization of the state of exception throughout the political-juridical order of the modern nation-states,
and it is premised on an understanding of the refugee as a limit-concept, a figure that “at once brings a radical crisis
to the principles of the nation-state and clears the way for a renewal of categories that can no longer be delayed.”3 This urgent
renewal of categories is made possible by the conceptual crisis of the nation-state represented by the refugee insofar as she
disarticulates “the trinity of state-nation-territory” and “the very principle of the inscription of nativity” upon which it is based.4 The
refugee is the contemporary political subject par excellence because she exposes to view “the originary fiction of sovereignty” and
thereby renders it available to thought.What is this fiction? It is not only the presumed identity between the human
(zoe¯ ) and the citizen (bios) — the conceptual fissure that makes possible the modern production of
bare life — and that between nativity and nationality — the conceptual distinction that makes possible
the reciprocal naturalization of propagation and property in the name of race. It is
also the conflation of the ruler (or ruling class) with sovereignty itself, the tautological claim that the law (logos) is
ontologically prior to the establishment of its jurisdictional field, a space defined by relations of purely
formal obedience. The state of exception would seem to betray the mystical foundation of authority because the sovereign power
operates in suspension of positive law, enforcing the law paradoxically insofar as it is inapplicable at the time and place of its
enforcement. However, the dynamic stability of that foundation — the space of obedience — is demonstrated by the terrible fact that
the state of exception has been materialized repeatedly within a whole array of political formations across the preceding century and
in the particular form of the camp. With the birth of the camp, the exception becomes the rule, consolidating a field of obedience in
extremis — in place of rule by law, a paradigm of governance by the administration of the absence of order.5 However, if for
Agamben the camp is “the new biopolitical nomos of the planet,” its novelty does not escape a certain conceptual belatedness with
respect to those “repressed topographies of cruelty” that Achille Mbembe has identified in the formulation of “necropolitics.”6 On
my reading, the formulation of necropolitics is enabled by attending to the political and economic
conditions of the African diaspora in the historic instance — both acknowledging the form and function of
racial slavery for “any historical account of the rise of modern terror” and addressing the ways that “the
political economy of statehood [particularly in Africa] has dramatically changed over the last
quarter of the twentieth century” in connection with “the wars of the globalization era.”7 Necropolitics is important for the
historicist project of provincializing Agamben’s paradigmatic analysis, especially as it articulates the logic of race as
something far more global than a conflict internal to Europe (or even Eurasia). Indeed, Mbembe initially
describes racial slavery in the Atlantic world as “one of the first instances of biopolitical
experimentation” and goes on to discuss it, following the work of Saidiya Hartman, as an exemplary manifestation
of the state of exception in “the very structure of the plantation system and its aftermath.”8
Mbembe abandons too quickly this meditation on the peculiar institution in pursuit of the proper focus of his theoretical project: the
formation of colonial sovereignty. In the process, he loses track of the fact, set forth in the opening pages of Hartman’s study, that
the crucial aspects of “the peculiar terror formation” that Mbembe attributes to the emergence colonial rule are
already institutionalized, perhaps more fundamentally, in and as the political-juridical structure
of slavery.9 More specifically, it is the legal and political status of the captive female that is
paradigmatic for the “(re)production of enslavement,” in which “the normativity of sexual violence
[i.e., the virtual absence of prohibitions or limitations in the determination of socially tolerable and necessary violence]
establishes an inextricable link between racial formation and sexual subjection.”10
This is why for Hartman resistance is figured through the black female’s sexual self-defense, as exemplified by the 1855 circuit court
case State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave, in which the defendant was sentenced to death by hanging on the charge of murder for
responding with deadly force to the sexual assault and attempted rape by a white male slaveholder. Having engaged Hartman,
Mbembe must write the following under the terms of a certain disavowal: “The most original feature of this terror formation [the
colony] is its concatenation of biopower, the state of exception, and the state of siege. . . . the colony represents the site
where sovereignty consists fundamentally in the exercise of power outside the law (ab legibus solutus)
and where ‘peace’ is more likely to take on the face of a ‘war without end.’ ”11 In the earlier text, Hartman
describes “the particular mechanisms of tyrannical power that converge on the black body,”
highlighting both “the absoluteness of power” under slavery in general and the particular ways that
its gendered dimensions reveal that generality at its extreme: In this instance, tyranny is not a rhetorical inflation, but a designation
of the absoluteness of power. Gender, if at all appropriate in this scenario, must be understood as indissociable
from violence, the vicious refiguration of rape as mutual and shared desire, the wanton exploitation of the captive body tacitly
sanctioned as a legitimate use of property, the disavowal of injury, and the absolute possession of the body and its “issue.” In short,
black and female difference is registered by virtue of the extremity of power operating on captive
bodies and licensed within the scope of the humane and the tolerable.12 Mbembe’s formulation can
suggest the originality of colonial sovereignty only insofar as it bypasses Hartman’s evidence and argument.13 In fact, it does so by
artfully recuperating the very sources that Hartman brings in for critique. In note 30 of “Necropolitics,” Mbembe cites affirmatively
Hartman’s Scenes of Subjection (alongside Manuel Moreno Fraginal’s 1964 Marxist history of Cuban slavery, The Sugar Mill, and
Susan Buck-Morss’s 2000 Critical Inquiry article, “Hegel and Haiti”) in support of his claim that “the very structure of the plantation
system and its aftermath manifests the emblematic and paradoxical figure of the state of exception.”14 In notes 34 and 36 of the
same article, however, Mbembe cites affirmatively two sources in contradiction of Hartman’s position: the well-known passage from
the 1845 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave in which the narrator describes the “terrible spectacle” of the
torture of his Aunt Hester by the overseer, Mr. Plumber; and the work of folklorist Roger Abrahams on the form and function of
“corn shucking” as slave performance in the antebellum United States.
Society’s structure prevents whites from assisting blacks – the idea of giving up
“white skin privilege” does not allow whites to become objects like blacks are when
the relationship between the two races will always be one of domination and
submission.
Hartman 03. (Saidiya and Frank B, , professor at Columbia University specializing in African
American literature and history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC
Irvine, published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought pg 189-190)
F.W - You've just thrown something into crisis, which is very¶ much on the table today: the notion of allies. What you've said ¶ (and
I'm so happy that someone has come along to say it!) is that¶ the ally is not a stable category. There's a structural
prohibition ¶ (rather than merely a willful refusal) against whites being the allies of blacks, due to this - to
borrow from Fanon's The Wretched of ¶ the Earth again - "species" division between what it means to be ¶ a subject and what it
means to be an object: a structural antago ¶ nism. But everything in the academy on race works off of
the
ques ¶ tion, "How do we help white allies?" Black academics assume that ¶ there is enough of a
structural commonality between the black and ¶ the white (working class) position - their mantra
being: "We are ¶ regardless of its historical or geographic specificity.¶ both exploited subjects" - for one to embark
upon a political ped ¶ agogy that will somehow help whites become aware of this "com ¶
monality." White writers posit the presence of something they call ¶ "white skin privilege," and
the possibility of "giving that up," as ¶ their gesture of being in solidarity with blacks. But what
both ges ¶ tures disavow is that subjects just can't make common cause with ¶ objects. They can
only become objects, say in the case of John ¶ Brown or Marilyn Buck, or further instantiate their subjectivity ¶
through modalities of violence (lynching and the prison industrial ¶ complex), or through
modalities of empathy. In other words, the ¶ essential essence of the white/black relation is that of
the ¶ master/slave - ¶ And masters and slaves, even today, are never allies
***Alts***
Analysis of the Past
An analysis of the past is a pre-requisite to creating the future – before we ask the
question of what to do, we must realize what society did to bring itself to the
question
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, 02(Saidiya
V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4,
pp.757-777, CLF)
What is at stake here ismore than exposing the artifice of historical barricades or the
tenuousness of temporal markers like the past and the present. By seizing hold of the past, one
illuminates the broken promises and violated contracts of the present. The disjuncture between what
David Scott has described as ‘‘that event’’ and ‘‘this memory,’’ beyond comprising an essential dimension
of belatedness, raises a host of questions about the use and relevance of the past, the political
and ethical valence of collective memory, and the relation between historical responsibility and
the contemporary crisis, whether understood in terms of amasochistic attachment to the past, the intransigence of racism,
or the intractable and enduring legacy of slavery.8 In other words, Africa as an atavistic land as well as the
character and consequences of an identification with Africa are mediated by way of the
experience of enslavement, and perhaps, even more important, by way of a backward glance at
U.S. history as well. That is, the identification with Africa is always already after the break. Added to this is the question
of whether Africa serves merely as a mirror that refracts the image of the United States, thereby
enabling the ‘‘returnee’’ to explore issues of home and identity with a measure of contemplative distance. Certainly, this is not
surprising when we take into account the way I which slavery and Africa function as ‘‘the
generative and constitutive points of reference’’ in continuist narratives of African-American history and cultural
survival.9 For this reason, it is important to disaggregate Africa and slavery in order to apprehend the
ways in which they come together. The journey to Elmina Castle, Ouidah, or Goree Island is first and foremost a way of
commemorating slavery at its purported site of origin, although one could just as easily travel to Portugal or visit the Vatican. The
paradox here is that the title to home and kin emerges only in the aftermath of the dislocation and death of the Middle Passage and
the social death of enslavement; in short, it is a response to the breach of separation. Kinship is precious by virtue of its dissolution,
and ‘‘wounded kinship’’ defines the diaspora.10 The pristine and idealized vision of home and kin is even more esteemed as a
consequence of its defilement. It is, in this way, not unlike virginity, which Faulkner observed ‘‘must depend upon its loss, its
absence to have existed at all.’’
The way we talk about and represent the past affects the way we perceive the
present
Hartman 02 Columbia University African American literature and history professor(Saidiya V.,
Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4, pp.757777, CLF)
The dissolution of the self or estrangement from ancestral land necessarily precedes ‘‘the achievement of a full, restored, and
authentic identity’’ held out by return. That is, enslavement fundamentally mediates this diasporic
identification with Africa and accentuates what Kobena Mercer has described as the essential constituent
of diasporic identity—‘‘the rupture between me and my origins.’’ Yet if this rupture engenders diasporic
identity, then the search for roots can only exacerbate one’s sense of being Estranged, intensify the
exilic consciousness, and confirm the impossibility of reversion.11 The want of an authentic identity and
long-awaited reunion with Africa exacerbates the crisis of homelessness. The complex and ambivalent forms of
identification and disidentification with Africa and the United States facilitated in these
excursions hint at an anxiety about home, that is, a fear that being a stranger in a strange land might be an inveterate
condition on native soil and ancestral land. In the end, these peregrinations might be less about the search or reclamation of The
Time of Slavery 765 home, than expressions of the contrarieties of home. Let me make clear that my intention here is not
to reinscribe a racialist account of diaspora, position Africa as primordial land, suggest that
diasporic identity is best explained along the singular axis of reclamation, or fall prey to what Gerald
Early describes as the ‘‘confused wonder’’ of black Americans in the face of things African, but rather to interrogate the dominant
framing of this encounter with the past and elucidate its vexed character.12 As David Scott suggests, the kinds of questions
that need to be asked about the place of Africa in the cultural and political discourse of the
diaspora need not make any claims regarding ‘‘the ultimate ontological status of Africa and
slavery in the present of the cultures of the NewWorld.’’ Thus the important task here is not asserting the
genuineness or falsity of these assertions, establishing the verifiable presence of Africa in the diaspora, or refuting this
connection by insisting that no essential relation exists, either because Africa is an empty
signifier or race is a spurious ground for identity. Instead Scott encourages us to consider ‘‘the ways in which
Africa and slavery are employed . . . in the narrative construction of relations among pasts, presents, and futures [and] the rhetorical
or ideological work that they are made to perform.’’ The bridge between Africa and the Americas is articulated
negatively in terms of separation, the unremembered dead, and the second-class status of African Americans in the
United States. Or, as Toni Morrison remarks, ‘‘it is bridged for us by our assuming responsibility for people no one ever assumed
responsibility for.’’ The place Africa holds in the political and historical imagination is complicated since origin is figured as loss and
the tale of one’s becoming is a death foretold.More important, fabulating narratives of continuity is entangled with a critique of the
present, since these encounters reframe the history of the trade from the vantage point of the North American diaspora and critically
reflect on the meaning of U.S. national identity. That is, the ideological construction of the past is guided by the
current political interests of the diaspora; in fact, the unavoidable disfigurements of the present
articulate the meaning of a diasporic and U.S. national identity. The past called Africa in these
narratives is very much a history of the present. The past interrupts the present not by virtue of
cultural affinity or the status of Africa as ‘‘authentic cultural origin of the diaspora’’ but because of the
extant legacy of this captivity and displacement.13
Anti-State
The alt is that we must tactically translate the anti-state sentiments of the black
community and use them to reunite said community
Sexton 10 (Jared, Associate professor at UC Irvine People of Color Blindness; published in
1998; p. 46-47)
Though it is not difficult to itemize the atrocities Dorothy suffers, both directly and indirectly, and to theorize their relations and
sources, I suggest that her position — and Luann’s as well — is not comprehensible by way of the analogical gestures of
anticolonialism that animate the freedom dreams of the prison letters between Dorothy and her imprisoned lover, Ben (Ben Collins),
that close the film. Reading from this angle (a reading that should not necessarily be avoided) may yield a compelling narrative of
oppression, but what the film indexes, even when the diegesis cannot sustain it, is an ontological condition of
gratuitous violence exterior to the interlarded rationales of the colonial enterprise (including its
systems of patriarchy and class warfare). It is the exteriority of this violence subtending the various systems
of oppression that signals the sine qua non of racial slavery. As such, the superimposed images
of Dorothy, the titular “bush mama,” and that distant “bush mama” of the Movimento Popular
de Libertacao de Angola (MPLA), whose prominently displayed agitprop portrait raises the specter of national liberation
within the internal colonies of the United States, are held together by dint of an occlusion: “The vulnerability
of the postcolonial is open, but not absolute [as is the slave’s]: materially speaking s/he carves
out zones of respite by pushing the Settler, whether back to the European zone or into the sea.
This also means that the postcolonial’s psychic vulnerability is not absolute — one can dream of land lost and land restored. In this
respect, Haile Gerima’s Dorothy is not exactly the Bush Mama in the MPLA poster.”67 That is to say, what qualifies the
condition of the slave is a suffering that not only wrecks the coordinates of any humanism but
also, for the same reason, precludes the generation of a proper political demand directed at a
definable object or Social Text 103 • Summer 2010 47 objective. What is produced instead is an abstract
political insistence — a politics of the (death) drive.68 One can perhaps forgive Gerima for not enlarging upon
this complication while subscribing to more likely frames of political intelligibility. Indeed, this gesture of strained political
identification replicates the conceptual trouble endemic to his contemporaries in their formulation of Black Power and eventually
Black Liberation, insofar as they were envisioned and articulated as a politics of third-world solidarity.69 As Wilderson persuasively
claims, as an instance of the “shift in the politics of cinematic thought and the cinematic unrest which it catalyzed,” Bush Mama
is made possible not so much by the good judgment and artistic genius of Gerima and his
counterparts in the movement of black independent filmmakers (though these are undeniable factors) as by
the activity of radical black political formations and the urban rebellion of significant segments of black communities across the
country: “Black folks on the move.”70 The problem is not so much the principled or strategic interest in
a
global solidarity but rather the tactical translation of such sentiments into arrangements of
alliance and the guiding assumptions on which the alliance is based. Wacquant would call this solidarity in
“the form of an emotive amalgamation rather than of a reasoned comparison.”71 How, then, to think about “the position of the
unthought” in a world for which (the afterlife of) slavery continues to provide the grounding metaphor of social misery?
Burn it Down
The alternative is to revolt against the whites—only revolution can destroy the
spectacle.
Farley, 99 (Anthony Paul, Boston College Law School professor, 7/1/99, “Black Men on Race,
Gender, and Sexuality”, New York University Press, 7/6/14, AX)
Resistance is futile. It is futile so long as it takes place in a context that renders it intelligible to the
system. That which makes sense, that which is not a Zen slap in the face, is already defeated by the terrible anticipatory logic of
hierarchy. Hierarchy begets the very struggles that are raised up against it. Are you oppressed
because you are low caste? Gather together your brethren in caste and demand caste rights.
Demand equal rights. Negotiate for a new era of understanding. Fine, and when you have changed the hearts
and minds of your masters, look up at the banner of caste under which you have fought. Are you still a creature of caste?
Frankenstein’s monster, enslaved to the apostrophe long after the death of the physician who stitched him together. Who
made
you this creature of caste? The system against which one fights is within and without.
Revolution must involve a destruction of one’s self and one’s context. Revolution is total.
Revolution is a break with reality: ¶ When you started in January, did you ever think this movement would become so
great and would capture all of Mexico? ¶ What would you have thought if I had said to you on December 31, “Tomorrow morning
we’re going to launch an attack on eight municipalities. We’re going to start a war with the objective of overthrowing the Mexican
government and installing a transition government that ___. ¶ The outcome of a revolution cannot be predicted or charted because
revolution requires the destruction of the very basis of predictions and charts: revolution requires the destruction of the very basis of
predictions and charts: revolution requires the destruction of the spectacle. And it is only within the spectacle
that the weary drama of the status quo becomes real. Any
strike against a spectacle, armed or otherwise, is a strike
against reality as it is experienced by our masters.
We cannot work within the confines of civil society – this binary is too engrained,
only an escape can give us any hope
Farley, 8(Anthony Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Paul Farley, B.A., University of
Virginia, J.D., Harvard Law School, 2008, “The Colorline as Capitalist Accumulation”, p. 953963, Accessed: 7/5/14) //AMM
The colorline marks the space of white-over-black. It has seemed to us that there is no physical escape,
no land of Canaan, because the colorline belts the world and because the market has become the
world and because the market is always and only a slave market and because that means that
this entire flat earth is an auction block. Indeed, in the case of white-over-black, the map has indeed become the
territory. But the map is wrinkled in time, and that is what we have failed to understand. In fact, the map is endlessly
wrinkled in time. The map is a portrait of the original accumulation. Every movement across its territories is a
movement toward the original accumulation. The original accumulation is the primal scene of
white-over-black. There is no time outside of the original accumulation. We live within the horizon of the
original accumulation and that is why our time is always already their time. When the slave prays for legal relief, it
authorizes its master to rule over its future. The slave gives the portrait it has painted of tomorrow's equality to its
master today. The slave is consciously aware of its desire for equality as it paints. The future appears to us, if
it appears at all, as through a glass, darkly. What the slave has painted is the past, the past into which it flees, the past that contains
slavery, slavery only, and that continually. The slave gives the portrait to its master. The master is colorblind and sees in the slave's
artistic production white-over-black, white- over-black only, and that continually. That is why the master's interpretation of the rule
for equality is white- over-black, white-over-black only, and that continually. The slave paints with knowing non-knowledge of what
it is doing and every ruling, every legislative, administrative, judicial victory brings the slave back to the past that it has in fact
painted all the while dreaming that it was in fact painting the future. The gift is accepted only during moments of
crisis. There are many crises. The owners, desperate in their need for surplus value, capture and
consume the entirety of space. The owners include each other in their accumulations. Groups of owners, groups of
groups, combine and throw the dispossessed at each other as they wage their endless wars of
accumulation. The dispossessed have no country, but they are trained to feel as if they do and thus trained they
often willingly go to fight each other in order to increase their master's mastery. Few recall the Wobblies' peace plan. Our bullets are
reserved for our own generals, and so there are always wars and rumors of war. Owners must accumulate surplus
value or they perish as owners. The owners, then, are always desperate and happy to leave the
human condition behind in their quest for die eternity of capitalist accumulation. Crises are the fruit
of this desperate push beyond the limits of reproduction. Beyond the limit, things fall apart. Limits
can be exceeded in
many ways and the desperate owners always find new ways of breaking their own system. One type
of crisis occurs when the owners go beyond that which they have trained their slaves to think of as 'fair' in terms of wages, hours and
conditions. Another type occurs when the owners go beyond that which they have trained their slaves to think of as 'fair' in terms of
housing, education and welfare. Sometimes, as with the flooding of New Orleans, the totality of oppression is unveiled. Masters,
having successfully confined their slaves' ambition for bread and roses within the horizon of the juridical sometimes, in capitalist
desperation, get out ahead of their slaves. In such moments the system of white-over-black experiences a crisis because the slaves
see the owners for what the owners are and they also see themselves and what it is they have been doing to themselves. The slave is
then welcomed into the master's house for negotiations. Negotiation requires the slave to pretend that it has something in common
with its master. Slaves and masters have nothing in common and there is therefore nothing to negotiate. Negotiation is always
already at its beginning the almost-escaped slave's surrender to its almost-former master. There are many mansions in the master's
house, each filled with the beauty of yesteryear's dreams of legal emancipation. These legal dreams of equality are the endless
prayers offered up by the slaves during the endless crises of capital. These surrenders are the secret of capital time. The slaves have
knowing non-knowledge of their own breaking point, the point at which their refusal becomes a Great Refusal and their strike
becomes a General Strike and the time becomes a new time, their time, our time, the Commune. The slave knows what will keep it
unconscious of its situation and its inalienable freedom. The slave knows and yet does not know. Law is its way of not knowing. The
Commune is goodbye to all that. We live inside the accumulations. We are lived by the accumulations. We are lived
by the accumulations until and unless we seize the time. The General Strike of the slave power defeated the
Union and the Confederacy. The slaves streamed away from their plantations and seized the time. Time
and tide wait for no one. The stream became a flood and the entire Confederacy might have drowned but for the capture of
all that wide water within the Thirteenth and Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
Reconstruction swiftly became Redemption, the Confederacy joined the Union, and the self-emancipated proletariat became, once
again, slaves, this time for wages, to the whites.
Mourning
Mourning reveals that the memory of slavery persists and makes the lost objects of
African culture to light
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, 02(Saidiya
V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4,
pp.757-777, CLF)
Tears reveal that the time of slavery persists in this interminable awaiting— that is, awaiting freedom and
longing for a way of undoing the past. The abrasive and incommensurate temporalities of the
‘‘no longer’’ and the ‘‘not yet’’ can be glimpsed in these tears. Mourning makes visible the lost
object, variously defined as the homeland, authentic identity, and/or the possibility of
belonging. It also addresses itself to the dismissal of grief as whining and the repression of slavery
from nationalmemory. Certainly, the use of the word loss strains at the complexity of the event and its aftermath and risks
imposing a too-neat narrative of continuity between that event and this condition. Yet the work of mourning, if it is not
dedicated to establishing such connections, at the very least, succeeds in making them. At theDoor
of No Return, the litany of captives taken to the United States, Haiti, Brazil, Surinam, Jamaica, and so forth, maps the lines of
affiliation between various parts of the Americas. In recounting the saga of captivity and enslavement a
particular axis of identification emerges—the chronicle of slavery yields to the everyday terror of
racism, the civil rights movements, and praises issue forth to a pantheon of African Americans including W. E. B. Du
Bois, the Nicholas Brothers, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, and Angela Davis. In this regard, the history of the slave
trade and the narrative of the diaspora recounted at these sites privilege the social location and
historical experience of blacks in the United States. Captivity, deportment, slavery, Jim Crow,
and a long-awaited integration and equality—this narrative is reinforced by the development strategies of African
states, the incentives of the Ministry of Tourism, the directives of USAID, and the acuity of petty traders. Ironically, as a result of
these combined efforts, slavery once again becomes a distinctly American story, with brief mention of African ‘‘traitors,’’ butwith
little reference to the impact of slavery onAfrica or the regions now known as Ghana and Senegal.
Self Destruction
The suicide bomber is a metaphor for the slave, whose body is made into a weapon
by two irreconcilable logics of survival and of martyrdom
Sexton 10 (Jared, Associate professor at UC Irvine People of Color Blindness; published in 1998;
p. 38-39)
The final object of contemplation in Mbembe’s rewriting of Agamben’s rewriting of Foucault’s biopolitics is the fin
de siècle figure of resistance to the colonial occupation of Palestine: the (presumptively male)
suicide bomber. The slave, “able to demonstrate the protean capabilities of the human bond through music and the very
body that was supposedly possessed by another,” is thus contrasted subtly with the colonized native, whose
“body is transformed into a weapon, not in a metaphorical sense but in a truly ballistic sense” — a
cultural politics in lieu of an armed struggle in which “to large extent, resistance and self-destruction are synonymous.”35
Resistance to slavery in this account is self-preservative and forged by way of a demonstration of
the capabilities of the human bond, whereas resistance to colonial occupation is self-destructive
and consists in a demonstration of the failure of the human bond, the limits of its protean
capabilities. One could object, in an empiricist vein, that the slave too resists in ways that are quite nearly as self-destructive as
an improvised explosive device and that the colonial subject too resists through the creation and performance of music and the
stylization of the body, but that would be to miss the symptomatic value of Mbembe’s theorization. Mbembe describes
suicide bombing as being organized by “two apparently irreconcilable logics,” “the logic of
martyrdom and the logic of* survival,” and it is the express purpose of the rubric of necropolitics to meditate upon this
unlikely logical convergence.36 However, there is a discrepancy at the heart of the enterprise. Rightly so, the theorization of
necropolitics as a friendly critique of Agamben’s notion of bare life involves an excursus on
certain “repressed topographies of cruelty,” including, first of all, slavery, in which “the lines
between resistance and suicide, sacrifice and redemption, martyrdom and freedom become
blurred.”37 Yet, as noted, the logic of resistance-as-suicide-as-sacrifice-as-martyrdom is for Mbembe
epitomized by the presumptively male suicide bomber at war with colonial occupation, “the most
accomplished form of necropower” in the contemporary world, rather than Hartman’s resistant female slave, Celia, engaged in closequarters combat with the sexual economy of slave society, Social Text 103 • Summer 2010 3 9 “the emblematic and paradoxical
figure of the state of exception.”38 Why the unannounced transposition? Because the restricted notion of
homo sacer — alongside the related notions of bare life and the state of exception— is being used in confusion to
account for the effects of the biopolitics of race too generally. The homo sacer, “divested of
political status and reduced to bare life,” is distinguished not by her vulnerability to a specific
form or degree of state-sanctioned violence but by her social proscription from the honor of
sacrifice.39 The homo sacer is banned from the witness-bearing function of martyrdom (from the
ancient Greek martys, “witness”). Her suffering is therefore imperceptible or illegible as a rule. It is against the law to
recognize her sovereignty or self-possession. This sort of conceptual conflation is pronounced in recent discussions
of racial inequality within the United States as well, where postcolonial immigration has become the political watchword. Two
figures are held up as exemplary: the immigrant worker from Mexico or Central America profiled and harassed by the Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement and terrorized by a militarized U.S. Border Patrol (and various vigilante efforts) as her
unskilled and semiskilled labor is exploited for the productive and service sectors of the national economy; and the immigrant
worker from the Middle East or South Asia profiled and harassed by the Special Registration Program of the National Security
Entry-Exit Registry System (now US-VISIT) and terrorized by a militarized Transportation Security Administration (and various
vigilante efforts) as her unskilled and semiskilled labor is exploited for the productive and service sectors of the national economy.
The various state agencies of this systematic discrimination are consolidated within the
Department of Homeland Security, and that institution serves as the grand target of much
immigrant rights activism.40 Indeed, Agamben himself is not far from this position, given that the ethical elevation of the
figure of the refugee is motivated by his analysis of the dynamics of xenophobia in contemporary Europe (given too that the
Eurocentric political exile of the refugee remains a species of immigration that “persists in the hope of justice under capitalism”).41
***Neg Answers***
AT: Perm do both
Perm answers
Any political strategy that does not center blackness is doomed to increase the
alliance with an antiblack civil society and increasing state power.
Sexton 2010 [Jared, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Associate Professor of
Film and Media Studies and one third of The Trifecta of Tough, “People-of-Color-Blindness:
Notes on the Afterlife of Slavery,” Social Text, Vol. 28, No. 2]
The upshot of this predicament is that obscuring the structural position of the category of blackness will inevitably undermine
multiracial coalition building as a politics of radical opposition and, to that extent, force the question of black liberation back to the
center of discussion. Every analysis that attempts to understand the complexities of racial rule and the
machinations of the racial state without accounting for black existence within its framework —
which does not mean simply listing it among a chain of equivalents or returning to it as an
afterthought — is doomed to miss what is essential about the situation. Black existence does not
represent the total reality of the racial formation — it is not the beginning and the end of the story — but it
does relate to the totality; it indicates the (repressed) truth of the political and economic system .
That is to say, the whole range of positions within the racial formation is most fully understood from this vantage point, not unlike
the way in which the range of gender and sexual variance under patriarchal and heteronormative regimes is most fully understood
through lenses that are feminist and queer.75 What is lost for the study of black existence in the proposal for a decentered,
“postblack” paradigm is a proper analysis of the true scale and nature of black suffering and of the struggles — political, aesthetic,
intellectual, and so on — that have sought to transform and undo it. What is lost for the study of nonblack nonwhite existence is a
proper analysis of the true scale and nature of its material and symbolic power relative to the category of blackness.76 This is why
every attempt to defend the rights and liberties of the latest victims of state repression will fail to
make substantial gains insofar as it forfeits or sidelines the fate of blacks, the prototypical
targets of the panoply of police practices and the juridical infrastructure built up around them.
Without blacks on board, the only viable political option and the only effective defense against
the intensifying cross fire will involve greater alliance with an antiblack civil society and further
capitulation to the magnification of state power. At the apex of the midcentury social movements, Kwame Ture and
Charles Hamilton wrote in their 1968 classic, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation, that black freedom entails “the
necessarily total revamping of the society.”77 For Hartman, thinking of the entanglements of the African diaspora in
this context, the necessarily total revamping of the society is more appropriately envisioned as the creation of an entirely new world:
Black Subject key to Antagonistic Identity
Wilderson, 03 (Frank, “Gramsci's Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society” an
American writer, dramatist, filmmaker and critic. He is a full professor of Drama and African
American studies at the University of California, Irvine. Pp. 1, AF)
Any serious consideration of the question of antagonistic identity formation—a formation, the
mass mobilization of which can precipitate a crisis in the institutions and assumptive logic
which undergird the United States of America—must come to grips with the limitations of marxist
discourse in the face of the Black subject. This is because the United States is constructed at the
intersection of both a capitalist and white supremacist matrix. And the privileged subject of marxist
discourse is a subaltern who is approached by variable capital—a wage. In other words, marxism assumes
a subaltern structured by capital, not by white supremacy. In this scenario, racism is read off the base,
as it were, as being derivative of political economy. This is not an adequate subalternity from which to
think the elaboration of antagonistic identity formation; not if we are truly committed to
elaborating a theory of crisis—crisis at the crux of America's institutional and discursive strategies.
The perm doesn’t solve, because any presence of the aff won’t allow the alt’s action
to take effect – this is important to solve social death of the black community
Sexton 10 (Jared, Associate professor at UC Irvine People of Color Blindness; published in 1998;
p. 43-44)
In this light, we might augment the post-9/11 critique of the racial state regarding the Bush
administration’s initiation of the ongoing war on terror, the passage of the PATRIOT Acts, the formation of the
Department of Homeland Security, the “anti-terrorist” roundups of 2001, the torture of “enemy combatants” at U.S. military
prisons, and so on.58 This
redacted commentary might productively shift the prevailing
conceptualization of American empire and especially the use of imprisonment and police
profiling as tropes of the racialized political oppression it engenders, both nationally and internationally.
We are in a position now to see how the deployment of this rhetorical device (for example, “Flying While
Brown” is like “Driving While Black”; the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride “builds on the history of the noble US civil rights
movement”; the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib is reminiscent of the lynching of blacks)59 is made possible by a
misrecognition of the lived experience of the black. This point is developed by Wilderson with
reference to the distinction between political conflict (involving a demand that can be satisfied by the end of
exploitation or the restoration of sovereignty) and political antagonism (involving a demand that cannot be satisfied
through a transfer of ownership or organization of land and labor) or, in related fashion, between contingent forms of
suffering (state violence incurred by breaching the modality of hegemony) and structural forms of suffering (state
violence experienced as gratuitous, a direct relation of force).60 The former designation in each case encompasses
a wide range of exploitation and exclusion, including colonization, occupation, and even extermination, while the
latter indicates the singularity of racial slavery and its afterlife, the lasting paradox of a sentient
and sapient being “sealed into crushing objecthood.”61
The normative character of terror insures its invisibility— the permutations
attempt to make whiteness fluid is the link
Hartman 02, Columbia University African American literature and history professor, 02(Saidiya
V., Fall 2002, “The time of Slavery”, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 4,
pp.757-777, CLF)
History that hurts. The dungeon provides no redemption. Reckoning with our responsibility to the dead cannot
save them. The victor has already won. It is not possible to undo the past. So, to what end do we conjure up
the ghost? Of what use is an itinerary of terror? Does it provide little more than evidence of what we
cannot change, or quell the uncertainty and doubt regardingmillions lost and unknown? The debate still rages as to
howmany were transported to the Americas, killed in the raids and wars that supplied the trade, perished on the
long journey to the coast, committed suicide, died of dehydration during the Middle Passage, or were beaten or worked to death—
Isn’t it enough to know that for each captive who survived
the ordeal of captivity and seasoning, at least one did not? At best, the backdrop of this defeat
makes visible the diffuse violence and the everyday routines of domination, which continue to
characterize black life but are obscured by their everydayness. The normative character of terror
insures its invisibility; it defies detection behind rational categories like crime, poverty, and
pathology. In other words, the necessity to underscore the centrality of the event, defined here in terms of
captivity, deportation, and social death, is a symptom of the difficulty of representing ‘‘terror as usual.’’ The oscillation between then
and now distills the past four hundred years into one definitive moment. And, at the same time, the still-unfolding narrative of
captivity and dispossession exceeds the discrete parameters of the event. In itemizing the long list of violations, are
we any closer to freedom, or do such litanies only confirm what is feared—history is an injury
that has yet to cease happening?
AT: Reformism
The affirmative’s reformist project will never succeed – it will be twisted in ways
that benefit the state and feed back into the system
Sexton, 8[Jared, associate professor of African American studies and film and media studies
“Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism,” page 45-47]
However, the dispute was never as straightforward as both the multiracial contingent and a largely sympathetic mass media
reported it to be. That is to say, the five-year federal review of official racial classification did not symbolize an enlightened turning point in
the short and beleaguered history of postwar civil rights legislation but rather was enabled by and contributed to a rightward
shift in the discourse of racial equality that had been underway throughout the preceding two
decades. This political faux pas relied on a fundamental misunderstanding of—or a refusal to
understand— the nature of civil rights compliance monitoring, the purpose and function of federal racial
classification (as redacted per the 1964 Civil Rights Act), and the various methods available for the collection and tabulation of data on race (and
ethnicity). To that end, it is telling that the multiracial movement refrained from putting forth any substantive arguments regarding either a history of
discrimination or a violation of the civil rights of multiracial people per se. Instead, the
demand to alter the existing
classification scheme was grounded in a nebulous “right to recognition,” a pseudolegal claim
buttressed by the specious contention that the physical, mental, and emotional health of the
multiracial community, and the self-esteem of multiracial children most especially, hinged on
this form of official acknowledgment.3 Rainier Spencer (1999), in a definitive treatment of the census debates of the 1990s, makes
clear the distortion of historical mission sought by the multiracial lobby.4 Although various segments of the national population have sought social
validation by way of the decennial survey, there
is no such thing as a right to representation under its auspices,
and the census clearly has never responded in any direct way to the self-perceptions of the
demographic units it constructs. In other words, the census is an unfaithful mirror. Its historical
origins lie in the dual interests of the state to apportion congressional representation and to levy
taxes, and its recent transformation, an institutional legacy of the modern civil rights movement,
has added to these tasks assistance in the enforcement of civil rights legislation dating back to
the federal interventions of the Reconstruction era (Skerry 2000). The current racial classification scheme was developed
in the decade following the apex of the civil rights era (from the mid- 1960s to the mid-1970s) in accordance with the latter objective—statistically
tracking “progress toward racial equality” or the lack thereof—and any changes to its configuration must be based in such criteria. The
multiracial intervention was thus fatally flawed on at least two counts. First, it failed not only to
meet the criteria of relevance to civil rights enforcement but also even to present arguments to
that end. Second, it demanded a change to the standards of federal racial classification when its
overriding concern to create some statistical indices of race mixture was easily addressed by
minor augmentation of the questions asked on the census schedule. Whatever data is gathered by the census
must be filtered through the existing federal classification scheme in order for compliance to be measured. However, once this mandatory
reporting is completed, the data can be retabulated in myriad ways, including approaches that
would directly address the concerns of the multiracial movement to generate a revised racial
profile of the national population. Given, then, that the error of the multiracial challenge to federal racial classification was glaring
upon the most cursory review, the question remains as to why this coalition of advocacy groups would persist in a fundamentally misguided campaign
over the better part of a decade. The
answer is found partly in the learning curve of its different players,
none of whom could be considered politically savvy, much less expert, on the often arcane
policies of the federal bureaucracy. Another portion is accounted for by the sheer zeal of the campaign’s more vociferous
personalities. The fervor that drove a small group of mostly white and middleclass professionals from
a loosely affiliated band of support groups and fledgling student organizations into a highly
visible media presence and, at least momentarily, an influential voice in the halls of Congress was
characterized by considerable blindness to the broader implications of not only the various
policy proposals under consideration but also the public commentary surrounding the
controversy (Njeri 1997). This blindness was a major catalyst to the hostilities that arose immediately
between multiracial groups and traditional civil rights organizations, such as the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League, seeking to defend the existing system of civil rights
compliance monitoring. It provided, as well, the basis of a schism between the liberal and
conservative tendencies within the multiracial movement that eventually fractured the strategic
alliance that had garnered attention in the first place. As those with greater sympathies for the wide-ranging goals of the civil rights
establishment like the Association for Multiethnic Americans (AMEA) and the Hapa Issues Forum (HIF)5 gained clarity about the potential
obstruction involved in the desired modification of federal racial classification, they rescinded their support for the original
joint proposal of the multiracial lobby—the formation of a separate “multiracial” category in
place of or in addition to the “other” designation— and revised their position toward the
multiple-check option that eventually prevailed, leaving the extant classification scheme intact.
By attempting to talk about the slave it causes the death of the slave – forces desire
for inclusion in society which leads to the exploitation and eventual obliteration.
Hartman, , 3. (Saidiya and Frank B, professor at Columbia University specializing in African
American literature and history, and Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies @ UC
Irvine published Spring/Summer 2003, The Position of the Unthought page 184)
Saidiya V Hartman - Well! That's a lot, and a number of things ¶ come to mind. I think for me the book is about the problem of
crafting a narrative for the slave as subject, and in terms of positionality, asking, "Who does that
narrative enable?" That's where the whole issue of empathic identification is central for me. Because it ¶
just seems that every attempt to employ the slave in a narrative ultimately resulted in his or her
obliteration, regardless of whether it ¶ was a leftist narrative of political agency someone else's
shoes and then becoming a political agent whether it was about being able to unveil the slave's
humanity by ¶ actually finding oneself in that position. ¶ In many ways, what I was trying to do as a cultural
historian was to narrate a certain impossibility, to illuminate those practices¶ that speak to the limits of most available narratives to
explain the ¶ position of the enslaved. On one hand, the slave is the foundation of the national order, and, on
the other, the slave occupies the position of the unthought. So what does it mean to try to bring that ¶ position
into view without making it a locus of positive value, or ¶ without trying to fill in the void? So much of our political
vocabulary/imaginary/desires have been implicitly integrationist even ¶ when we imagine our
claims are more radical. This goes to the sec ¶ ond part of the book - that ultimately the metanarrative thrust is ¶
always towards an integration into the national project, and particularly when that project is in
crisis, black people are called upon to affirm it. ¶ So certainly it's about more than the desire for
inclusion with in the limited set of possibilities that the national project provides. ¶ What then does
this language - the given language of freedom -¶ enable? And once you realize its limits and begin to see its inex ¶ orable investment
in certain notions of the subject and subjection,¶ then that language of freedom no longer becomes that which
res¶ cues the slave from his or her former condition, but the site of the ¶ re-elaboration of that
condition, rather than its transformation.
AT: No alt solvency
Black Subject Creates a Void of Revolution
Wilderson, 03 (Frank, “Gramsci's Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society” an
American writer, dramatist, filmmaker and critic. He is a full professor of Drama and African
American studies at the University of California, Irvine. Pp. 1, AF)
First, the Black American subject imposes a radical incoherence upon the assumptive logic of
Gramscian discourse. In other words, s/he implies a scandal. Secondly, the Black subject reveals marxism's
inability to think White supremacy as the base and, in so doing, calls into question marxism's claim to
elaborate a comprehensive, or in the words of Antonio Gramsci, “decisive” antagonism. Stated another way:
Gramscian marxism is able to imagine the subject which transforms her/himself into a mass of
antagonistic identity formations, formations which can precipitate a crisis in wage slavery, exploitation,
and/or hegemony, but it is asleep at the wheel when asked to provide enabling antagonisms toward
unwaged slavery, despotism, and/or terror. Finally, we begin to see how marxism suffers from a kind of conceptual anxiety:
a desire for socialism on the other side of crisis -- a society which does away not with the category of worker,
but with the imposition workers suffer under the approach of variable capital: in other words, the mark
of its conceptual anxiety is in its desire to democratize work and thus help keep in place, insure the coherence of, Reformation and
Enlightenment “foundational” values of productivity and progress. This is a crowding-out scenario for other post
revolutionary possibilities, i.e. idleness.
AT: State good/reformism
the struggle of the black community against the state essentially separates and
demonizes the black community – the aff’s attempt to reform institutions that
predicate their rule on slavery is impossible
Sexton 10 (Jared, Associate professor at UC Irvine People of Color Blindness; published in
1998; p. 43-44)
By way of illustration, let us consider briefly Haile Gerima’s powerful 1976 film, Bush Mama, one of the
signal contributions to the black independent film movement of the early post–civil rights era.62 The most striking aspect
of Bush Mama is not, as might be expected, the motif of disorientation: its ceaseless, frenetic action and
escalating turmoil. Surely, the crowded and unforgiving urban ghetto is the referent and context of Gerima’s work and, in a sense,
serves to constitute the projection of a besieged black interiority, the production of a lived space without reprieve and a juridical
existence without recourse.63 One gets the sense that to be black in an antiblack world, a world captured
brilliantly by Charles Burnett’s tense and jagged cinematography, is
to be inundated and under assault at every
turn, pushed into an endlessly kinetic movement; which is to say subjected to an open and absolute vulnerability — not so much
controlled by the transnational channels of “disciplined mobility” as pressed by the forces of a merciless routing.64 Nor is it the
explicit and nearly overwhelming thematic of conversion: from quotidian urgency and the pressurized hustle of
everyday ghetto life to political insurgency and the principled rupture of historic change. There is a seductive, perhaps anodyne
political reading of the film as a threat of riot or, more generously, a call to arms or, at least, an intuition of political
opposition, even if it has not yet attained the language or the power to articulate platform and
program. Yet it cannot escape our attention that this deservedly well-known production takes shape in the twilight of the black
movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s; in the wake of an unparalleled, though not unprecedented, domestic state repression;
amid the dimming cinders of the hundreds of scenes of urban uprising unfolding across the United States in the preceding decade;
in the denouement of the great anticolonial revolts throughout Africa and the third world that would supply profound inspiration as
points of identification and solidarity. Bush Mama is produced in the aftermath of rebellion, its
containment and incorporation by adjustments of public policy and military strategy, the return
or mutation of a mood that exercises even the conceptual limits of melancholia. The most
stunning aspect of the film is, then, its recurrent torpor and heaviness, its palpably depressive
atmosphere, its leitmotif of exhaustion. One thinks, for instance, of the many scenes of indefinite waiting, of vacant gazes drifting
about unspecified points in the distance, of stolid faces peering through the steel bars of the prison-house cage, of being simply stuck
here or there, of killing (and being killed by) time, of meandering reminiscence and pronouncement and exhortation, of hopelessly
needing to be two or three places at once. The patent anxiety generated by this layering of impasses does not culminate in the film’s
accelerating surface tempo or its taxing stretch across narrative tenterhooks. The more profound effect is, on the
contrary, to slow the pace of this confrontation to a veritable standstill and to produce an
affective condition beyond or beneath the tremors of panic. However, this is not to say that the film exhibits
fatalism, defeatism, or despair. Exhaustion in no way precludes the labor of critical reflection, the hope of
organized political action, or, for that matter, the enjoyment of a vibrant and sustaining cultural life. Nor does it disable
engagement with what might be a complex and quite expected range of emotional stances as
warranted by the situation: fear, outrage, doubt, sadness, evasion, desperation, even guarded buoyancy. Indeed, there are
traces of all such energies in Bush Mama (so too for Gerima’s 1993 Sankofa), even where they are laced with the pathos of suffering
that circulates along the blocked and barren carceral pathways of the ghetto. Exhaustion is operative at another
cinematic level, produced through an amplification of the structuring breach in the conjunction
of state and civil society, the point at which the black comes into radical acquaintance with
herself: living scandal to the dead logic of capital, condition of possibility and impossibility for the operations of
the commodity form, internal foreign object to the institutions of liberal democracy and mockery to its
conceptions of citizen and subject, the conceits of its rule of law, the full repertoire of its criteria for human being.
Ultimately, Bush Mama is a film about a fight that unfurls without the political vanity of struggle or
the moral nobility of resilience, without the existential comforts of spirit and soul, without the historic promise of
transformation, reconstruction, or even a form of alternate sociality — a fight without guarantees. As such, Bush Mama may
have an audience or, like Celia, a jury, but it has no community.65
AT: Hegal/humans
Hegel’s methodology is flawed – he views “black culture” as a culture without
direction
Snead 81 (James, James Arthur Snead was a professor, fiction writer, and film critic whose
academic work analyzed literary modernism"On Repetition in Black Culture"; Black American
Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 4; published in 1981; p. 148)
Hegel's definition of black culture is simply negative: Ever-developing European culture is the prototype for the fulfillment of culture
in the future; black culture is the antitype, ever on the threshold. Black culture, caught in "historylessness"(
Geschichtslosigkeit),i
s nonetheless shielded from attack or assimilation precisely by its aboriginal
intangibility (though particular blacks themselves may not be so protected). According to Hegel, the African, radical
in his effect upon the European, is a "strange form of selfconsciousness": unfixed in orientation towards
transcendent goals and terrifyingly close to the cycles and rhythms of nature. The African, first,
overturns all European categories of logic. Secondly, he has no idea of history or progress, but instead
allows "accidents and surprises" to take hold of his fate. He is also not aware of being at a lower stage of development and perhaps
even has no idea of what development is. Finally, he is "immediate" and intimately tied to nature with all its
cyclical, non-progressive data. Having no self-consciousness, he is "immediate" i.e., always there in any given moment.
Here we can see that, being there, the African is also always already there, or perhaps always there before, whereas the European is
headed there or, better, not yet there. Hegel was almost entirely correct in his reading of black culture, but what he could not have
guessed was that in his very criticism of it he had almost perfectly described the "there" to which European culture was "headed."
Like all models that insist on discrete otherness, Hegel's definition implicitly constituted elements of black
culture that have only in this century become manifest. Only after Freud, Nietzsche, comparative
and structural anthropology, and the study of comparative religion could the frantic but
ultimately futile coverings of repetition by European culture be seen as dispensible, albeit in limited
instances of "uncovering." Moreover, the very aspects of black culture which had seemed to define its nonexistence for the phenomologist Hegel may now be valued as positive terms, given a revised
metaphysics of rupture and opening."
AT: Gender Arguments
Blackness ungenders those who were victims of the middle passage – calculability
was expanded to both genders in favor of rendering blackness object
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, 1987, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor @ Vanderbilt University
The John Hopkins University Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar
Book”, http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/8/14, KM)
The conditions of “Middle Passage” are among the most incredible narratives available to the
student, as it remains not easily imaginable. Late in the chronicles of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Britain’s Parliament entertained
discussions concerning possible “regulations” for slave vessels. A Captain Perry visited the Liverpool port, and among the ships that
he inspected was “The Brookes,” probably the most well-known image of the slave galley with its representative personae etched into
the drawing like so many cartoon figures. Elizabeth Donnan’s second volume carries the “Brookes Plan,” along with an elaborate
delineation of its dimensions from the investigative reporting of Perry himself: “Let it now be supposed … further, that every man
slave is to be allowed six feet by one foot four inches for room, every woman five feet ten by one foot four, every boy five feet by one
foot two, and every girl four feet six by one foot…” [2:592, n]. The owner of “The Brookes,” James Jones, had recommended that
“five females be reckoned as four males, and three boys or girls as equal to two grown persons” [2:592]. ¶ These scaled
inequalities complement the commanding terms of the dehumanizing,
ungendering, and defacing project of African persons that De Azurara’s narrator might have
recognized. It has been pointed out to me that these measurements do reveal the application of the gender
rule to the material conditions of passage, but I would suggest that “gendering” takes place within
the confines of the domestic, an essential metaphor that then spreads its tentacles for male and female subject over
a wider ground of human and social purposes. Domesticity appears to gain its power by way of a common
origin of cultural fictions that are grounded in the specificity of proper names, more exactly, a
patronymic, which, in turn, situates those persons it “covers” in a particular place. Contrarily, the cargo of a ship
might not be regarded as elements of the domestic, even though the vessel that carries it
is sometimes romantically (ironically?) personified as “she.” The human cargo of a slave vessel – in the
fundamental effacement and remission of African family and proper names – offers a counter-narrative to nations of
the domestic. Those African persons in “Middle Passage” were literally suspended in the
“oceanic,” if we think of the latter in its Freudian orientation as an analogy for undifferentiated
identity: removed from the indigenous land and culture, and not-yet “American”
either, these captive persons, without names that their captors would recognize, were in movement across the
Atlantic, but they were also nowhere at all. Inasmuch as, on any given day, we might imagine, the captive personality did
not know where s/he was, we could say that they were the culturally “unmade,” thrown in the midst of a
figurative darkness that “exposed” their destinies to an unknown course. Often enough for the captains of
these galleys, navigational science of the day was not sufficient to guarantee the intended
destination. We might say that the slave ship, its crew, and its human-as-cargo stand for a wild
and unclaimed richness of possibility that is not interrupted, not “counted”/”accounted,” or differentiated, until its
movement gains the land thousands of miles away from the point of departure. Under these conditions, one is neither
female, nor male, as both subjects are taken into “account” as quantities. The female in
“Middle Passage,” as the apparently smaller physical mass, occupies “less room”
in a directly translatable money economy. But she is, nevertheless, quantifiable by
the same rules of accounting as her male counterpart. It is not only difficult for the student to find
“female” in “Middle Passage,” but also, as Herbert S. Klein observes, “African women did not enter the Atlantic slave trade in
anything like the numbers of African men. At all ages, men outnumbered women on the slave ships bound for America from Africa”
[Klein 29]. Though this observation does not change the reality of African women’s captivity and servitude in New World
communities, it does provide a perspective from which to contemplate the internal African slave trade, which, according to
Africanists, remained a predominantly female market. Klein nevertheless affirms that those females forced into
the trade were segregated “from men for policing purposes” [“African Women” 35]. He claims that both
“were allotted the same space between decks…and both were fed the same food” [35]. It is certainly
known from evidence presented in Donnan’s third volume (“New England and the Middle Colonies”) that insurrection was both
frequent and feared in passage, and we have not yet found a great deal of evidence to support a thesis that female captives
participated in insurrectionary activity [see White 63-64]. Because it was the rule, however – not the exception – that the African
female, in both indigenous African cultures and in what becomes her “home,” performed tasks of hard physical labor – so much so
that the quintessential “slave” is not a male, but a female – we wonder at the seeming docility of the subject, granting her a
“feminization” that enslavement kept at bay. Indeed, across the spate of discourse that I examined for this writing, the acts of
enslavement and responses to it comprise a more or less agonistic engagement of confrontation hostilities among males. The visual
and historical evidence betrays the dominant discourse on the matter as incomplete, but counter-evidence is inadequate as well: the
sexual violation of captive females and their own express rage against their oppressors did not constitute events that captains and
their crews rushed to record in letters to their sponsoring companies, or sons on board in letters home to their New England mamas.
Race is a prior question to gender—ethnicity ungenders people by trapping them
into a timeless mode of thought in which individuals are objectified by ethnic
background irrespective of gender.
Spillers, 87 (Hortense, 1987, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor @ Vanderbilt University
The John Hopkins University Press, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar
Book”, http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/texts/spillers.pdf, 7/8/14, KM)
In other words, in the historic outline of dominance, the respective subject-positions of “female” and
“male” adhere to no symbolic integrity. At a time when current critical discourses appear to compel
us more and more decidedly toward gender “undecidability,” it would appear reactionary, if not
dumb, to insist on the integrity of female/male gender. But undressing these conflations of
meaning, as they appear under the rule of dominance, would restore, as figurative possibility,
not only Power to the Female (for Maternity), but also Power to the Male (for Paternity). We
would gain, in short, the potential for gender differentiation as it might express itself along a range
of stress points, including human biology in its intersection with the project of culture. ¶ Though
among the most readily available “whipping boys” of fairly recent public discourse concerning African-Americans and national
policy, “The Moynihan Report” is by no means unprecedented in its conclusions; it belongs, rather, to a class of
symbolic paradigms that 1) inscribe “ethnicity” as a scene of negation and 2) confirm the human
body as a metonymic figure for an entire repertoire of human and social arrangements. In that
regard, the “Report” pursues a behavioral rule of public documentary. Under the Moynihan rule, “ethnicity” itself identifies a
total objectification of human and cultural motives – the “white” family, by implication, and the
“Negro family,” by outright assertion, in a constant opposition of binary meanings. Apparently
spontaneous, these “actants” are wholly generated, with neither past nor future, as tribal
currents moving out of time. Moynihan’s “Families” are pure present and always tense.
“Ethnicity” in this case freezes in meaning, takes on constancy, assumes the look and the affects of
the Eternal. We could say, then, that in its powerful stillness, “ethnicity,” from the point of view of the “Report,”
embodies nothing more than a mode of memorial time, as Roland Barthes outlines the dynamics of myth [see
“myth Today” 109-59; esp. 122-23]. As a signifier that has no movement in the field of signification, the use of “ethnicity” for the
living becomes purely appreciative, although one would be unwise not to concede its dangerous and fatal
effects.
===Aff Answers===
Perm ev.
The perm ignores the ontological position of blacks, precludes the libidinal
economy of Blackness, and is an attempt to subvert the movement – only an
unflinching paradigmatic analysis can solve
Wilderson 8[Frank, Professor of African American Studies and Drama @ UC Irvine, “Biko
Lives!,” Editors: Manning Marable and Peniel Joseph, 95-102, BS]
[The world cannot accommodate a black(ened) relation at the level of bodies—subjectivity. Thus,
Black “presence is a form of absence” for to see a Black is to see the Black, an ontological frieze
that waits for a gaze, rather than a living ontology moving with agency in the field of vision. The
Black’s moment of recognition by the Other is always already “Blackness,” upon which
supplements are lavished—American, Caribbean, Xhosa, Zulu, etc. But the supplements are superfluous rather than
substantive, they don’t unblacken. As Gordon points out, “there is ‘something’ absent whenever blacks are
present. The more present a black is, the more absent is this ‘something.’ And the more absent a
black is, the more present is this something.” Blackness, then, is the destruction of presence, for
Blacks “seem to suck presence into themselves as a black hole, pretty much like the
astrophysical phenomenon that bears that name.”7 The inverse is even more devastating to contemplate vis-à-vis the dim prospects
for Blacks in the world. For not only are Whites “prosthetic Gods,” the embodiment of “full presence,” that
is, “when a white is absent something is absent,” there is “a lacuna in being,” as one would
assume given the status of Blackness but Whiteness is also “the standpoint from which others
are seen”; which is to say Whiteness is both full Presence and absolute perspectivity.8 [T]o look at a black
body is to look at a mere being-among-beings . . . [But] the white body, being human (Presence), doesn’t live as a mere-beingamong- beings. It lives
with the potential to be a being that stands out from mere beings. Its being-in-itself ironically
enables it to be a being-for-itself.9 Human value is an effect of recognition that is inextricably bound with vision. Human value is an
effect of perspectivity. What does it mean, then, if perspectivity, as the strategy for value extraction and expression, is most visionary when it is White and most
blind when it is Black? It means that “to be valued [is to] receive value outside of blackness .”10 Blacks, then, void of
Presence, cannot embody value, and void of perspectivity, cannot bestow value. Blacks cannot
be. Their mode of being becomes the being of the NO. In a passage richly suggestive of maps, Gordon writes, “The worlds
of the black and the white become worlds separated by Absence leading to ‘fate’ on the one hand
and Presence leading to ‘freedom’ on the other. Put differently, the former lives in a world of WHEN
and the latter lives in a world of WHETHER.”11 Here the Absence of cartographic Presence
resonates in the libidinal economy in the way Black “homeland” (in this case, the Ciskei) replicates the
constituent deficiencies of Black “body” or “subject.” The Black “homeland” is a fated place
where fated Black bodies are domiciled. It is the nowhere of no one. But it is more—or less—for “homeland”
cartography suffers from a double inscription. The “homeland” is an Absence of national
Presence drawn on the Absence of continental Presence; a Black “nation” on a Black
“continent”; nowhere to the power of two. Lamenting Africa’s status as terra nullius in the Human psyche, Sartre wrote, “A great
many countries have been present in their time at the heart of our concerns, but Africa . . . is only
an absence, and this great hole in the map of the world lets us keep our conscience clean.”12 Just as the
Black body is a corpus (or corpse) of fated WHEN (when will I be arrested, when will I be shunned, when will I be a threat), the Black “homeland,” and
the Black “continent” on which it sits, is a map of fated WHEN “battered down by tom-toms,
cannibalism, intellectual deficiency, fetishism, racial defects, slave ships, and above all else,
above all ‘Sho good eatin.’”13 From the terrestrial scale of cartography to the corporeal scale of the body, Blackness suffers through
homologies of Absence.]
Embracing mere existence allows for a politics predicated on love and friendship
which affirms the humanity of other apart from politicized identity categories
Enns 7 (Diane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies, McMaster
University, “Political Life Before Identity”, Theory & Event 10:1, Project Muse)
While this mere existence does not constitute an enviable condition for Arendt, she betrays some ambivalence towards it. She protests that inalienable human rights and the dignity that they confer, must be
independent of human plurality and remain valid even for those expelled from the human community (OT 298). Whether it is possible, Arendt states, to articulate a sphere of human rights that is above the nation,
guaranteed by humanity itself, is open to question. She argues that some kind of organized political community is necessary for all human individuals, yet nevertheless commits herself to thinking about the
possibility of rights guaranteed by this naked condition of life beyond law, rights and polities -- for human rights must remain valid for mere existence, she states, the right to have rights must be guaranteed by
humanity itself (OT 298). Thus while she considers naked life to pose a great danger to the common, political world -- it perhaps threatens our political life in an even more terrifying way than the wildness of
nature once threatened man-made cities -- and even asserts that the production of such mere existence forces people into conditions of savagery and barbarism (OT 302), she alludes to the potentially affirmative
mere existence, that is, all that which is mysteriously given us by
birth and which includes the shape of our bodies and the talents of our minds, can be adequately
dealt with only by the unpredictable hazards of friendship and sympathy, or by the great and
incalculable grace of love, which says with Augustine, "Volo ut sis (I want you to be)," without being able to give
any particular reason for such supreme and unsurpassable affirmation. (OT 301) In Agamben's notion of bare life, we again
conditions of this status when she relates it to love and friendship: This
find a certain ambivalence; one that I will argue can only be understood in the context of a revised understanding of the meaning of politics. Like Arendt in the above passage, Agamben opens his series of texts on
love is never directed toward this
or that property of the loved one (being blond, being small, being tender, being lame), but neither does it neglect the
properties in favor of an insipid generality (universal love): The lover wants the loved one with all of its
predicates, its being such as it is."28 It is this "being-such" that is always hidden when we consider
relations of belonging to this or that property or class. In other words, when we think of an individual as
defined by this particular identity or that, as black or white, male or female, Muslim or
Christian, what is denied or hidden is this being-such with all of its predicates. What happens in friendship and love
that alters the tendency (and sometimes the imperative) to simplify and essentialize the identity categories to which we belong? In friendship we cease to see the other
as white or as black, as gay or straight, able or disabled, female or male. At least, we are aware of
these particular identifying categories of a companion, but exist in relation with him or her in a
state of "forgetfulness" of, or "indifference" to, this reduction to one singular category. It is when pushing a
political life, community and sovereign power, by referring to a singular relationship between mere existence and love. He writes that "
wheelchair-bound friend into an airport and noting with annoyance the infantilizing treatment to which one's intelligent and dignified friend is subjected by well-intentioned airport employees, that she becomes
disabled. This is not to deny the unique obstacles her disability places before her on a daily basis, but to acknowledge how devastating this lack of the state of forgetfulness can be, as the loved one with all of her
predicates becomes reduced to one identifiable category. In using such terms as forgetfulness or indifference, I am attempting to find a language to describe this effect of loving or seeing the other with all of her
It isn't blindness to disability, color, or gender, but recognition
of and appreciation for the bare existence or life of the other, against which the skin color,
genitalia or degree of muscle coordination responsible for designating us as this or that identity
become relatively insignificant. Insignificant for the love we bear him or her, which is not the
same as saying insignificant in the sense that another's struggle to live with dignity in the face of
discrimination is ignored.
predicates, her being such as it is -- an "I want you to be" without reason.
Radical humanism takes up the burden and the ambiguity of humanity.
Identification with common humanity across lines of oppression opens up
possibilities for everyday political virtue.
GILROY 9 [Paul, Anthony Giddens Prf. of Social Theory @ London School of Economics Race
and the Right to be Human p. 20-23]
Arendt and Agamben are linked by their apparent distaste for analyzing racism and by their complex and critical relations to the idea
of the human. This combination of positions can facilitate hostility to the project of human rights which is then dismissed for its
inability to face the political and strategic processes from which all rights derive and a related refusal to address the analytical
shortcomings that arise from the dependence of human rights on an expansion of the rule of law—which can incidentally be shown
to be fully compatible with colonial crimes23. Histories of colonial power and genealogies of racial statecraft
can help to explain both of these problems and to break the impasse into which the analysis of human rights
has fallen. This is another reason why anti-racism remains important. It does not argue naively for a
world without hierarchy but practically for a world free of that particular hierarchy which has
accomplished untold wrongs. The possibility that abstract nakedness was not so much a cipher of insubstantial humanity
but a sign of racial hierarchy in operation arises from the work of concentration camp survivors. Jean Améry recognized his own
experience through a reading of Fanon. Primo Levi, his fellow Auschwitz inmate and interlocutor, who interpreted the lager’s brutal
exercises in racial formation as conducted for the benefit of their perpetrators, suggested that racism’s capacity to reconcile
rationality and irrationality was expressed in the dominance of outrage over economic profit. Both men saw infrahuman victims
made to perform the subordination that race theory required and anticipated but which their bodies did not spontaneously disclose.
Inspired by Levi, by the philosophical writings of Jean Améry, and various other observers of and commentators on the pathologies
of European civilisation, we should aim to answer the corrosive allure of absolute sameness and purity just as they did, with a
historical and moral commitment to the political, ethical and educational potential of human shame. Though being
ashamed may sometimes appear to overlap with sentimentality or even to be its result, they are
different. Excessive sentimentality blocks shame’s productivity, its slow, humble path towards
ordinary virtue. Shame arises where identification is complicated by a sense of responsibility.
Sentimentalism offers the pleasures of identification in the absence of a feeling of responsible
attachment. Améry was an eloquent proponent of what he called a radical humanism. Through
discovering his Jewishness under the impact of somebody’s fist but more especially as a result of having been tortured by the Nazis,
he acquired a great interest in a politics of dignity which could answer the governmental actions that brought racial hierarchy to
dismal life. Perhaps for that very reason, he
found through his post-war reading of Fanon, that “the lived
experience of the black man . . . corresponded in many respects to my own formative and
indelible experience as a Jewish inmate of a concentration camp. . .”. He continued: “I too suffered
repressive violence without buffering or mitigating mediation. The world of the concentration camp too was a
Manichaean one: virtue was housed in the SS blocks, profligacy, stupidity, malignance and laziness in the inmates’ barracks. Our
gaze onto the SS-city was one of ‘envy’ and ‘lust’ as well. As with the colonized Fanon, each of us fantasized at least once a day of
taking the place of the oppressor. In the concentration camp too, just as in the native city, envy ahistorically transformed itself into
aggression against fellow inmates with whom fought over a bowl of soup while the whip of the oppressor lashed at us with no need to
conceal its force and power.”24 With Levi and Fanon, Améry shared a commitment to extracting
humanistic perspectives from the extremity he had survived in the lager. In a famous [1964] essay
exploring his experiences at the hands of the Gestapo, he insisted that torture was “the essence”25 of the Third Reich and in making
that case, shows how these issues should become important again in comprehending and criticising the brutal, permissive conduct
of “the war on terror”.
Alt Offense
Their epistemological framework is essentialist and totalizing – effaces the
possibility for African communal politics
BÂ 11 (SAËR MATY, teaches film at Portsmouth University, “The US Decentred From Black
Social Death to Cultural Transformation”,
hthttp://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/csrj/article/view/2304/2474, Acc: 8/3/12,)
—WILDERSON’S WHITE WATCH SEES RED ON BLACK: SOME WEAKNESSES¶ A few pages into Red, White and Black, I feared
that it would just be a matter of time¶ before Wilderson’s
black‐as‐social‐death idea and multiple attacks on
issues and¶ scholars he disagrees with run (him) into (theoretical) trouble. This happens in¶ chapter two,
‘The Narcissistic Slave’, where he critiques black film theorists and¶ books. For example, Wilderson declares that Gladstone
Yearwood’s Black Film as¶ Signifying Practice (2000) ‘betrays a kind of conceptual anxiety with respect to the¶ historical object of
study— ... it clings, anxiously, to the film‐as‐text‐as‐legitimateobject¶ of Black cinema.’ (62) He then quotes from Yearwood’s book to
highlight ‘just¶ how vague the aesthetic foundation of Yearwood’s attempt to construct a canon can¶ be’. (63)¶ And yet
Wilderson’s highlighting is problematic because it overlooks the¶ ‘Diaspora’ or ‘African Diaspora’, a key
component in Yearwood’s thesis that,¶ crucially, neither navel‐gazes (that is, at the US or black America) nor pretends to¶ properly
engage with black film. Furthermore, Wilderson separates the different¶ waves of black film theory and approaches them, only, in
terms of how a most recent¶ one might challenge its precedent. Again, his approach is problematic because it¶ does
not mention or emphasise the inter‐connectivity of/in black film theory. As a¶ case in point, Wilderson does
not link Tommy Lott’s mobilisation of Third Cinema¶ for black film theory to Yearwood’s idea of African Diaspora. (64) Additionally,
of¶ course, Wilderson seems unaware that Third Cinema itself has been fundamentally¶ questioned since Lott’s 1990s’ theory of
black film was formulated. Yet another¶ consequence of ignoring the African Diaspora is that it exposes
Wilderson’s corpus¶ of films as unable to carry the weight of the transnational argument he
attempts to¶ advance. Here, beyond the US‐centricity or ‘social and political specificity of [his]¶
filmography’, (95) I am talking about Wilderson’s choice of films. For example,¶ Antwone Fisher (dir. Denzel Washington,
2002) is attacked unfairly for failing to¶ acknowledge ‘a grid of captivity across spatial dimensions of the Black “body”, the¶ Black
“home”, and the Black “community”’ (111) while films like Alan and Albert¶ Hughes’s Menace II Society (1993), overlooked, do
acknowledge the same grid and,¶ additionally, problematise Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP)¶ policing.
The above examples expose the fact of Wilderson’s dubious and¶ questionable conclusions on black film.¶ Red, White and
Black is particularly undermined by Wilderson’s propensity for¶ exaggeration and
blinkeredness. In chapter nine, ‘“Savage” Negrophobia’, he writes:¶ The philosophical anxiety of Skins is all too aware that
through the Middle¶ Passage, African culture became Black ‘style’ ... Blackness can be placed¶ and displaced with limitless frequency
and across untold territories, by¶ whoever so chooses. Most important, there is nothing real Black people¶ can do to either check or
direct this process ... Anyone can say ‘nigger’¶ because anyone can be a ‘nigger’. (235)7¶ Similarly, in chapter ten, ‘A Crisis in the
Commons’, Wilderson addresses the issue of¶ ‘Black time’. Black is irredeemable, he argues, because, at no time
in history had it¶ been deemed, or deemed through the right historical moment and place. In
other¶ words, the black moment and place are not right because they are ‘the ship hold of¶ the
Middle Passage’: ‘the most coherent temporality ever deemed as Black time’ but¶ also ‘the “moment” of no time at all on the map
of no place at all’. (279)¶ Not only does Pinho’s more mature analysis expose this point as preposterous¶ (see below), I also wonder
what Wilderson makes of the countless historians’ and¶ sociologists’ works on slave ships, shipboard insurrections and/during the
Middle¶ Passage,8 or of groundbreaking jazz‐studies books on cross‐cultural dialogue like¶ The Other Side of Nowhere (2004).
Nowhere has another side, but once Wilderson¶ theorises blacks as socially and ontologically dead while
dismissing jazz as¶ ‘belonging nowhere and to no one, simply there for the taking’, (225) there
seems to¶ be no way back. It is therefore hardly surprising that Wilderson ducks the need to¶
provide a solution or alternative to both his sustained bashing of blacks and anti‐¶ Blackness.9
Last but not least, Red, White and Black ends like a badly plugged¶ announcement of a bad
Hollywood film’s badly planned sequel: ‘How does one¶ deconstruct life? Who would benefit from such an
undertaking? The coffle¶ approaches with its answers in tow.’ (340)
Affirming racial identity – victim or perpetrator - causes genocide and prevents
progress
Enns 7 (Diane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies, McMaster
University, “Political Life Before Identity”, Theory & Event 10:1, Project Muse)
In his formidable analysis of the Rwandan genocide, Mahmood Mamdani concludes that political identities are artifacts. This
does not mean there are not real victims or real perpetrators, but that continuing to act in the
name of an identity once an economy of violence has sprung out of the binary logic of victim and
perpetrator, or friend and enemy, does not enable political transformation, but prevents it. The great
crime of colonialism, from this perspective, went beyond the expropriation of the native; "the greater crime was to politicize
indigeneity in the first place."6 Mamdani includes in this politicization both the negative libeling of the native by the settler, as well as
the positive self-assertion of the native response to this libel, a perspective remarkably similar, as we shall see, to Fanon's position in Black Skin White
Masks. The
1994 genocide in Rwanda -- unprecedented for its massive civilian participation in the massacre of the Tutsi population -occurred in the context of a political world set in motion by Belgian colonialism: a world divided into natives and
settlers. The genocide was a natives' genocide, Mamdani argues, a struggle by the majority, the Hutu, to cleanse the country of
a threatening "alien" presence, the minority Tutsi, a group with a privileged relation to power before colonialism. This was a violence not of neighbors
a violence therefore that
sought to eliminate a foreign presence from home soil. Rather than focusing on the origin of a racial or ethnic difference,
against neighbors then, as it is generally portrayed, he contends, but against a population viewed as a foreigner;
the crucial task, according to Mamdani, is to ask when and how Hutu was made into a native identity and Tutsi into a settler identity, and to
understand how violence is the key to sustaining the relationship between them.7 It
is not merely the settler's or perpetrator's
worldview we need to break out of, but that of the victim as well, for they stand or fall together.
Alt Defense
Wilderson’s theory is problematic – he cherrypicks films, his claims have been
disproven, and he doesn’t provide an alternative
Bâ, 11[Saër Maty, professor of film studies, September 2011, “The US Decentred From Black
Social Death to Cultural Transformation,” Publication, Volume: 17 Number 2, page 383-385, BS]
A few pages into Red, White and Black, I feared that it would just be a matter of time before Wilderson’s black-associal-death idea and multiple attacks on issues and scholars he disagrees with run (him) into
(theoretical) trouble. This happens in chapter two, 'The Narcissistic Slave’, where he critiques black film theorists and books. For example,
Wilderson declares that Gladstone Yearwood’s Black Film as Signifying Practice (2000) ‘betrays a
kind of conceptual anxiety with respect to the historical object of study— ... it clings, anxiously, to the film-astext-as-legitimate- object of Black cinema.' (62) He then quotes from Yearwood’s book to highlight ‘just how
vague the aesthetic foundation of Yearwood’s attempt to construct a canon can be’. (63) And yet
Wilderson’s highlighting is problematic because it overlooks the ‘Diaspora’ or ‘African Diaspora', a key component
in Yearwood’s thesis that, crucially, neither navel-gazes (that is, at the US or black America) nor pretends to
properly engage with black film. Furthermore, Wilderson separates the different waves of black film
theory and approaches them, only, in terms of how a most recent one might challenge its
precedent. Again, his approach is problematic because it does not mention or emphasise the interconnectivity of/in black film theory. As a case in point, Wilderson does not link Tommy Lott's
mobilisation of Third Cinema for black film theory to Yearwood’s idea of African Diaspora. (64)
Additionally, of course, Wilderson seems unaware that Third Cinema itself has been fundamentally questioned since
Lott's 1990s' theory of black film was formulated. Yet another consequence of ignoring the African
Diaspora is that it exposes Wilderson’s corpus of films as unable to carry the weight of the
transnational argument he attempts to advance. Here, beyond the US-centricity or ‘social and political specificity of [his]
filmography’, (95) I am talking about Wilderson’s choice of films. For example, Antwone Fisher (dir. Denzel Washington, 2002) is
attacked unfairly for failing to acknowledge ‘a grid of captivity across spatial dimensions of the
Black “body", the Black “home", and the Black “community"' (111) while films like Alan and Albert
Hughes's Menace II Society (1993), overlooked, do acknowledge the same grid and, additionally,
problematise Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP) policing. The above examples expose the fact of Wilderson’s
dubious and questionable conclusions on black film. Red, White and Black is particularly undermined by
Wilderson’s propensity for exaggeration and blinkeredness. In chapter nine, ‘“Savage" Negrophobia', he writes: The
philosophical anxiety of Skins is all too aware that through the Middle Passage, African culture became Black 'style' ... Blackness can be placed and
displaced with limitless frequency and across untold territories, by whoever so chooses. Most
important, there is nothing real
Black people can do to either check or direct this process ... Anyone can say ‘nigger’ because
anyone can be a ‘nigger’. (235)7 Similarly, in chapter ten, ‘A Crisis in the Commons’, Wilderson addresses the issue of ‘Black time’. Black
is irredeemable, he argues, because, at no time in history had it been deemed, or deemed through the right historical moment and place. In other
words, the
black moment and place are not right because they are ‘the ship hold of the Middle
Passage’: ‘the most coherent temporality ever deemed as Black time’ but also ‘the “moment” of
no time at all on the map of no place at all’. (279) Not only does Pinho’s more mature analysis
expose this point as preposterous (see below), I also wonder what Wilderson makes of the countless
historians’ and sociologists’ works on slave ships, shipboard insurrections and/during the
Middle Passage,8 or of groundbreaking jazz-studies books on cross-cultural dialogue like The
Other Side of Nowhere (2004). Nowhere has another side, but once Wilderson theorises blacks as socially and
ontologically dead while dismissing jazz as ‘belonging nowhere and to no one, simply there for
the taking’, (225) there seems to be no way back. It is therefore hardly surprising that Wilderson ducks the need
to provide a solution or alternative to both his sustained bashing of blacks and anti- Blackness.9
Last but not least, Red, White and Black ends like a badly plugged announcement of a bad Hollywood film’s badly planned sequel: ‘How does one
deconstruct life? Who would benefit from such an undertaking? The coffle approaches with its answers in tow.’ (340)
We should affirm mere existence – identity affirmation produces violence
Enns 7 (Diane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies, McMaster
University, “Political Life Before Identity”, Theory & Event 10:1, Project Muse)
Giorgio Agamben's work is increasingly invoked in the task of articulating a politics and ethics of "whatever singularity" or bare life, concepts that have sparked a flurry of
attention, especially on the part of those concerned with what these terms imply for political resistance. Drawing out the practical implications of what are often highly abstract
formulations is proving to be a challenge.3 I will attempt to meet this challenge by bringing Arendt and Agamben into a discussion concerning race, racism, and victimhood; a
particularly salient site for investigating questions of identity and its relation to politics, as well as a timely one, given the new global forms of racism we are currently
proliferation of violent conflicts around the world, whatever their origins -- perpetuated by the
has rendered even the most strategic of strategic
essentialisms problematic. I will argue that a focus on what is variously described by Arendt and
Agamben as bare life, the pure fact of being human, biological life, or the human-as-such, holds
promise for a political thought and practice attempting to extricate itself from the
determinations of politicized identities. This is not the promotion of a universal category or
community of the human -- not therefore, an abstract universal subject -- but an appeal to the
significance of the singularity of life; the bare life or "mere existence" that is included in the
realm of politics, power, and rights, only by way of its exclusion.
witnessing.4 It is my contention that the
fear and hatred of an enemy whose identity is never in question --
They rely on a juridical concept of power. They hold whites responsible, call for a
win & a loss…
McWhorter 5 [Ladelle, Prof. of Philosophy and Women's Studies, University of Richmond,
Philosophy & Social Criticism, vol 31 nos 5–6, 2005, p. 533–556]
In the growing body of literature that makes up what has in recent years come to be called ‘Whiteness
Studies’, observations like the following are commonplace: ‘Whiteness has, at least within the
modern era and within Western societies, tended to be constructed as a norm, an unchanging
and unproblematic location, a position from which all other identities come to be marked by
their difference’ (Bonnett, 1996: 146).1 According to Whiteness Studies theorists, the white race functions not so
much as a race, one among many, as, at times at least, the race – the real human race – and, at
other times, no race, simply the healthy, mature norm of human existence as opposed to all
those other groups of people who are somehow off-white, off-track, more or less deviant.
Whiteness, the racial norm in Western industrial societies, is at one and the same time the
exemplar of human being and the unmarked selfsame over against the racially marked other(s).2¶
This understanding of whiteness emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s as race scholars in the USA and the UK began to treat white
identity as an epistemic object, in contrast to many earlier race theorists who studied non-whites primarily.3 By taking whiteness as
an object of study, these scholars problematized the status of the white race as an unmarked norm and exposed the racism implicit
in its having that status. Thus, it seemed, these new race theorists had discovered a potentially very powerful tool for dismantling
racism. Revealing the ways in which whiteness functions as a racial norm, they began to denaturalize it and thereby rob it of some of
its power to order thought and practice. Their scholarship was and is, deliberately and unapologetically, deeply engaged political
activism. Feminist sociologist Ruth Frankenberg articulates this confluence of theory and practice well when she writes: ‘Naming
whiteness and white people helps dislodge the claims of both to rightful dominance’ (Frankenberg, 1993: 234).¶ While readers of the
work of Michel Foucault may well be struck by the deep affinities between Foucaultian genealogy, counter-memory, and counterattack on the one hand and Whiteness Studies’ denaturalization of heretofore largely unquestioned racial categories on the other,
surprisingly most writers in the Whiteness Studies movement seem all but unaware of Foucault’s analytics of biopower and his
descriptions of normalization.4 Their repeated observation that whiteness functions as a norm and their
close analyses of its unmarked status come not out of an awareness of Foucaultian genealogy but
rather out of sociological studies of institutional racism like Omi and Winant’s Racial Formation in the United
States: From the 1960s to the 1990s (1994). Their work sounds like Foucault’s at times, but if they are
moving toward an analysis that is like his in some ways, it is from a starting point that is
radically different. In this paper I will argue that, in part because of the limitations imposed by that
different starting point, Whiteness Studies theorists typically miss their mark both naalytically and
politically. Their major problem lies in the fact that they still work within what Foucault calls a
juridical conception of power, a conception that simply does not capture the ways in which
power operates in modern industrialized societies, especially in relation to the so obviously biopolitical phenomenon of racial oppression.
Cede the Political
Their understanding of whiteness leaves whites with one option – insurgency and
repudiation. This is bound to fail—liberal actions creates a representation of
“whiteness” that faciliates rearticulating a positive, and anti-racist white racial
formation.
Winant ’97 Sociology Howard @ UCSB Behind Blue Eyes: Contemporary White Racial Politics
http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/winant/whitness.html
Nevertheless, the neoliberal project does undertake a crucial task: the construction of a transracial
political agenda, and the articulation of white and minority interests in a viable strategic
perspective. This is something which has been missing from the US political scene since the enactment of civil rights legislation
thirty years ago. THE ABOLITIONIST PROJECT Drawing their inspiration from W.E.B. Du Bois and James Baldwin, the social
historians who have provided the core insights of the abolitionist project stress the "invention of whiteness" as a pivotal development
in the rise of US capitalism. They have begun a process of historical reinterpretation which aims to set race -- or more properly, the
gestation and evolution of white supremacy -- at the center of US politics and culture. Thus far, they have focused attention on a
series of formative events and processes: the precedent of British colonial treatment of the Irish (Allen 1994, Ignatiev 1995); the
early, multiracial resistance to indentured servitude and quasi-slavery, which culminated in the defeat of Bacon's Rebellion in late
17th century Virginia; the self-identification of "free" workers as white in the antebellum North (Roediger 1991); and the
construction of a "white republic" in the late 19th century (Saxton 1990). These studies, in some cases quite prodigious intellectual
efforts, have had a significant impact on how we understand not only racial formation, but also class formation and the developing
forms of popular culture in US history. What they reveal above all is how crucial the construction of whiteness was, and remains, for
the development and maintenance of capitalist class rule in the US. Furthermore, these studies also show how the meaning of
whiteness, like that of race in general, has time and again proved flexible enough to adapt to shifts in the capitalist division of labor,
to reform initiatives which extended democratic rights, and to changes in ideology and cultural representation. The core
message of the abolitionist project is the imperative of repudiation of white identity and white
privilege, the requirement that "the lie of whiteness" be exposed. This rejection of whiteness on the part of
those who benefit from it, this "new abolitionism," it is argued, is a precondition for the establishment of substantive racial equality
and social justice -- or more properly, socialism -- in the US. Whites must become "race traitors," as the new journal of the
abolitionist project calls itself. Its motto: "Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity." How is this rejection of whiteness to be
accomplished? Both analytical and practical measures are envisioned. On the intellectual level, the abolitionist project invites us to
contemplate the emptiness, indeed vacuity, of the white category: It is not merely that whiteness is oppressive and false; it is that
whiteness is nothing but oppressive and false.... It is the empty and terrifying attempt to build an identity based on what one isn't
and on whom one can hold back (Roediger 1994, 13; emphasis original). In short, there is no white culture, no white politics, no
whiteness, except in the sense of distancing and rejection of racially-defined "otherness." On the practical level, the argument goes,
whites can become "race traitors" by rejecting their privilege, by refusing to collude with white supremacy. When you hear that racist
joke, confront its teller. When you see the police harassing a nonwhite youth, try to intervene or at least bear witness. In short,
recognize that white supremacy depends on the thousands of minute acts that reproduce it from moment to moment; it must
"deliver" to whites a sense of their own security and superiority; it must make them feel that "I am different from those "others."
Single gestures of this sort, Race Traitor's editors say, ...would [not] in all likelihood be of much consequence. But if enough of those
who looked white broke the rules of the club to make the cops doubt their ability to recognize a white person merely by looking at
him or her, how would it affect the cops' behavior (Editorial 1993, 4-5)? Thus the point is not that all whites recognize the lie of their
privilege, but that enough whites do so, and act out their rejection of that lie, to disrupt the "white club's" ability to enforce its
supremacy. It is easy to sympathize with this analysis, at least up to a point. The postwar black movement, which in the US context
at least served as the point of origin for all the "new social movements" and the much-reviled "politics of identity," taught the
valuable lesson that politics went "all the way down." That is, meaningful efforts to achieve greater social justice could not tolerate a
public/private, or a collective/individual distinction. Trying to change society meant trying to change one's own life. The formula
"the personal is political," commonly associated with feminism, had its early origins among the militants of the civil rights
movement (Evans 1980). The problems come when deeper theoretical and practical problems are raised. Despite their
explicit adherence to a "social construction" model of race (one which bears a significant resemblance to my
own work), theorists of the abolitionist project do not take that insight as seriously as they should.
They employ it chiefly to argue against biologistic conceptions of race, which is fine; but they fail
to consider the complexities and rootedness of social construction, or as we would term it, racial
formation. Is the social construction of whiteness so flimsy that it can be repudiated by a mere act of political will, or even by
widespread and repeated acts aimed at rejecting white privilege? I think not; whiteness may not be a legitimate cultural identity in
the sense of having a discrete, "positive" content, but it is certainly an overdetermined political and cultural category, having to do
with socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, ideologies of individualism, opportunity, and citizenship, nationalism, etc. Like
any other complex of beliefs and practices, "whiteness" is imbedded in a highly articulated social
structure and system of significations; rather than trying to repudiate it, we shall have to
rearticulate it. That sounds like a daunting task, and of course it is, but it is not nearly as
impossible as erasing whiteness altogether, as the abolitionist project seeks to do. Furthermore, because
whiteness is a relational concept, unintelligible without reference to nonwhiteness -- note how this is
true even of Roediger's formulation about "build[ing] an identity based on what one isn't" -- that rearticulation (or
reinterpretation, or deconstruction) of whiteness can begin relatively easily, in the messy present, with the
recognition that whiteness already contains substantial nonwhite elements. Of course, that
recognition is only the beginning of a large and arduous process of political labor, which I shall
address in the concluding section of this paper. Notwithstanding these criticisms of the abolitionist project, we consider many of its
insights to be vital components in the process of reformulating, or synthesizing, a progressive approach to whiteness. Its attention is
directed toward prescisely the place where the neo-liberal racial project is weak: the point at which white identity constitutes a
crucial support to white supremacy, and a central obstacle to the achievement of substantive social equality and racial justice.
CONCLUDING NOTES: WHITENESS AND CONTEMPORARY POLITICS In a situation of racial dualism, as Du Bois observed more
than 90 years ago, race operates both to assign us and to deny us our identity. It both makes the social world intelligible, and
simultaneously renders it opaque and mysterious. Not only does it allocate resources, power, and privilege; it also provides means
for challenging that allocation. The contradictory character of race provides the context in which racial dualism -or the "color-line,"
as Du Bois designated it, has developed as "the problem of the 20th century." So what's new? Only that, as a result of incalculable
human effort, suffering, and sacrifice, we now realize that these truths apply across the board. Whites and whiteness can no longer
be exempted from the comprehensive racialization process that is the hallmark of US history and social structure. This is the
present-day context for racial conflict and thus for US politics in general, since race continues to play its designated role of
crystallizing all the fundamental issues in US society. As always, we articulate our anxieties in racial terms: wealth
and poverty, crime and punishment, gender and sexuality, nationality and citizenship, culture and power, are all articulated in the
US primarily through race. So what's new? It's the problematic of whiteness that has emerged as the
principal source of anxiety and conflict in the postwar US. Although this situation was anticipated or
prefigured at earlier moments in the nation's past -- for example, in the "hour of eugenics" (Stepan 1991, Kevles 1985, Gould 1981) -it is far more complicated now than ever before, largely due to the present unavailability of biologistic forms of racism as a
convenient rationale for white supremacy.[7] Whiteness -- visible whiteness, resurgent whiteness, whiteness as a color, whiteness as
difference -- this is what's new, and newly problematic, in contemporary US politics. The reasons for this have already emerged in
my discussion of the spectrum of racial projects and the particular representations these projects assign to whiteness. Most centrally,
the problem of the meaning of whiteness appears as a direct consequence of the movement challenge posed in the 1960s to white
supremacy. The battles of that period have not been resolved; they have not been won or lost; however battered and bruised, the
demand for substantive racial equality and general social justice still lives. And while it lives, the strength of white supremacy is in
doubt. The racial projects of the right are clear efforts to resist the challenge to white supremacy posed by the movements of the
1960s and their contemporary inheritors. Each of these projects has a particular relationship to the white supremacist legacy,
ranging from the far right's efforts to justify and solidify white entitlements, through the new right's attempts to utilize the white
supremacist tradition for more immediate and expedient political ends, to the neoconservative project's quixotic quest to surgically
separate the liberal democratic tradition from the racism that traditionally underwrote it. The biologistic racism of the far right, the
expedient and subtextual racism of the new right, and the bad-faith anti-racism of the neoconservatives have many differences from
each other, but they have at least one thing in common. They all seek to maintain the long-standing association between whiteness
and US political traditions, between whiteness and US nationalism, between whiteness and universalism. They all seek in different
ways to preserve white identity from the particularity, the difference, which the 1960s movement challenge assigned to it. The racial
projects of the left are the movements' successors (as is neoconservatism, in a somewhat perverse sense). Both the neoliberal racial
project and the abolitionist project seek to fulfill the movement's thwarted dreams of a genuinely (i.e., substantively) egalitarian
society, one in which significant redistribution of wealth and power has taken place, and race no longer serves as the most significant
marker between winners and losers, haves and have nots, powerful and powerless. Although they diverge significantly -- since the
neoliberals seek to accomplish their ends through a conscious diminution of the significance of race, and the abolitionists hope to
achieve similar ends through a conscious reemphasizing of the importance of race -- they also have one very important thing in
common. They both seek to rupture the barrier between whites and racially-defined minorities, the obstacle which prevents joint
political action. They both seek to associate whites and nonwhites, to reinterpret the meaning of whiteness in such a way that it no
longer has the power to impede class alliances. Although the differences and indeed the hostility -- between the neoliberal and
abolitionist projects, between the reform-oriented and radical conceptions of whiteness -- are quite severe, we consider it vital that
adherents of each project recognize that they hold part of the key to challenging white supremacy in the contemporary US, and that
their counterpart project holds the other part of the key. Neoliberals rightfully argue that a pragmatic approach
to transracial politics is vital if the momentum of racial reaction is to be halted or reversed .
Abolitionists properly emphasize challenging the ongoing commitment to white supremacy on the part of many whites. Both of these
positions need to draw on each other, not only in strategic terms, but in theoretical ones as well. The recognition that racial identities
-- all racial identities, including whiteness -- have become implacably dualistic, could be far more liberating on the left than it has
thus far been. For neoliberals, it could permit and indeed justify an acceptance of race-consciousness and even nationalism among
racially-defined minorities as a necessary but partial response to disenfranchisement, disempowerment, and superexploitation.
There is no inherent reason why such a political position could not coexist with a strategic awareness of the need for strong, classconscious, transracial coalitions. We have seen many such examples in the past: in the anti-slavery movement, the communist
movement of the 1930s (Kelley 1994), and in the 1988 presidential bid of Jesse Jackson, to name but a few. This is not to say that all
would be peace and harmony if such alliances could come more permanently into being. But there is no excuse for not attempting to
find the pragmatic "common ground" necessary to create them. Abolitionists could also benefit from a recognition
that on a pragmatic basis, whites can ally with racially-defined minorities without renouncing
their whiteness. If they truly agree that race is a socially constructed concept, as they claim,
abolitionists should also be able to recognize that racial identities are not either-or matters, not
closed concepts that must be upheld in a reactionary fashion or disavowed in a comprehensive
act of renunciation. To use a postmodern language I dislike: racial identities are deeply "hybridized"; they are not "sutured,"
but remain open to rearticulation. "To be white in America is to be very black. If you don't know how black you are, you don't know
how American you are" (Thompson 1995, 429).
Social Death Bad
The logic of social death replicates the violence of the middle passage – rejection is
necessary to honor the dead
Brown 2009 – professor of history and of African and African American Studies specializing in
Atlantic Slavery (Vincent, “Social Death and Political Life in the Study of Slavery,”
http://history.fas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/documents/brown-socialdeath.pdf)
But this was not the emphasis of Patterson’s argument. As a result, those he has inspired have often conflated his exposition of
slaveholding ideology with a description of the actual condition of the enslaved. Seen as a state of being, the concept
social death is ultimately out of place in the political history of slavery. If studies of slavery would
account for the outlooks and maneuvers of the enslaved as an important part of that history,
scholars would do better to keep in view the struggle against alienation rather than alienation
itself. To see social death as a productive peril entails a subtle but significant shift in perspective, from seeing slavery as a
condition to viewing enslavement as a predicament, in which enslaved Africans and their descendants never
ceased to pursue a politics of belonging, mourning, accounting, and regeneration. In part, the
of
usefulness of social death as a concept depends on what scholars of slavery seek to explain—black pathology or black politics,
resistance or attempts to remake social life? For too long, debates about whether there were black families took precedence over
discussions of how such families were formed; disputes about whether African culture had “survived” in the Americas overwhelmed
discussions of how particular practices mediated slaves’ attempts to survive; and scholars felt compelled to prioritize the
documentation of resistance over the examination of political strife in its myriad forms. But of course, because slaves’ social and
political life grew directly out of the violence and dislocation of Atlantic slavery, these are false choices. And we may not even have to
choose between tragic and romantic modes of storytelling, for history tinged with romance may offer the truest acknowledgment of
the tragedy confronted by the enslaved: it took heroic effort for them to make social lives. There is romance, too, in the tragic fact
that although scholars may never be able to give a satisfactory account of the human experience in slavery, they nevertheless
continue to try. If scholars were to emphasize the efforts of the enslaved more than the condition of
slavery, we might at least tell richer stories about how the endeavors of the weakest and most
abject have at times reshaped the world. The history of their social and political lives lies
between resistance and oblivion, not in the nature of their condition but in their continuous
struggles to remake it. Those struggles are slavery’s bequest to us.
This is an apriori question
Brown 2009 – professor of history and of African and African American Studies specializing in
Atlantic Slavery (Vincent, “Social Death and Political Life in the Study of Slavery,”
http://history.fas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/documents/brown-socialdeath.pdf)
African American history has grown from the kinds of people’s histories that emphasize a progressive struggle toward an ultimate
victory over the tyranny of the powerful. Consequently, studies that privilege the perspectives of the enslaved depend in some
measure on the chronicling of heroic achievement, and historians of slave culture and resistance have recently been accused of
romanticizing their subject of study.42 Because these scholars have done so much to enhance our understanding of slave life beyond
what was imaginable a scant few generations ago, the allegation may seem unfair. Nevertheless, some of the criticisms are helpful.
As the historian Walter Johnson has argued, studies of slavery conducted within the terms of
social history have often taken “agency,” or the self-willed activity of choice-making subjects, to
be their starting point.43 Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that many historians would find themselves charged with depicting
slave communities and cultures that were so resistant and so vibrant that the social relations of slavery must not have done much
damage at all. Even if this particular accusation is a form of caricature, it contains an important insight, that the agency of the
weak and the power of the strong have too often been viewed as simple opposites. The anthropologist
David Scott is probably correct to suggest that for most scholars, the power of slaveholders and the damage wrought by slavery have
been “pictured principally as a negative or limiting force” that “restricted, blocked, paralyzed, or deformed the transformative agency
of the slave.”44 In this sense, scholars who have emphasized slavery’s corrosive power and those who stress resistance and resilience
share the same assumption. However, the violent domination of slavery generated political action; it
was not antithetical to it. If one sees power as productive and the fear of social death not as
incapacity but as a generative force—a peril that motivated enslaved activity— a different image
of slavery slides into view, one in which the object of slave politics is not simply the power of
slaveholders, but the very terms and conditions of social existence.
Black/White Binary Bad
Utilizing politicized identities and categories such as Black or White results in
endless violence – we should instead embrace a community-based politics of mere
existence
Enns 7 (Diane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies, McMaster
University, “Political Life Before Identity”, Theory & Event 10:1, Project Muse)
That we need to extricate ourselves not only from the worldview of the perpetrator, but also that of the victim, is the claim I turn to in the remainder of
the paper. I will argue, as Mahmood Mamdani does, that once
an economy of violence has evolved out of a binary
logic of victim and perpetrator, political transformation cannot occur on the basis of identity .5 It
is crucial then, that we engage with those thinkers who attempt to refuse the politicization of identities to begin
with -- who articulate a sense of political life before it becomes named or names itself by
identifying with this or that category. Arendt, Agamben and Fanon give us some clues as to how to
reconceive politics and community in radical ways that disrupt the association between politics
and identity, community and the common, sovereign power and mere existence. Several noteworthy
points of resonance can be found especially between Agamben and Fanon; both of whom express an affirmation of life
lived in an altered relation to politics and to other living beings.
Suffering Narritives bad
Narratives of suffering permanently relate subjectivity to victimhood and exclude
anyone who does not fit the model of subordination
Brown 96 (Wendy Brown is Professor of Women's Studies and Legal Studies, and is Co-Director
of the Center for Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The University of
Chicago Law School Roundtable 1996,)
If, taken together, the two passages from Foucault we have been consider- ing call feminists to account in our compulsion to put
everything about women into discourse, they do not yet exhaust the phenomenon of being ensnared 'in the folds of our own
discourses.' For if the problem I have been discussing is easy enough to see--indeed, largely familiar to those who track techniques of
co-optation--at the level of legal and bureaucratic discourse, it is altogether more disquieting when it takes the
form of regulatory discourse in our own sub- and counter-cultures of resistance . . . when
confessing injury becomes that which attaches us to the injury, paralyzes us within it, and
prevents us from seeking or even desiring a status other than injured. In an age of social identification
through attributes marked as culturally significant--gender, race, sexuality, and so forth--confessional discourse, with its
truth-bearing status in a post-epistemological universe, not only regulates the confessor in the
name of freeing her as Foucault described that logic, but extends beyond the confess- ing
individual to constitute a regulatory truth about the identity group. Confessed truths
are assembled and deployed as "knowledge" about the group. This phenomenon would seem to undergird a
range of recurring troubles in feminism, from the "real woman" rejoinder to post-structuralist deconstructions of her, to totalizing
descriptions of women's experience that are the inadvertent effects of various kinds of survivor stories. Thus, for example, the porn
star who feels miserably exploited, violated and humiliated in her work invariably monopolizes the truth about sex work; as the girl
with math anxieties constitutes the truth about women and math; as eating disor- ders have become the truth about women and
food; as sexual abuse and viola- tion occupy the knowledge terrain of women and sexuality. In other words, even as feminism aims to
affirm diversity among women and women's ex- periences, confession as the site of production of truth and its convergence with
feminist suspicion and deauthorization of truth from other sources tends to reinstate a unified discourse in which the story of
greatest suffering becomes the true story of woman. (I think this constitutes part of the rhetorical power of MacKinnon's work;
analytically, the epistemological superiority of confes- sion substitutes for the older, largely discredited charge of false
consciousness). Thus, the adult who does not suffer from her or his childhood sexual experi- ence, the lesbian who does not feel
shame, the woman of color who does not primarily or "correctly" identify with her marking as such--these figures are excluded as
bonafide members of the categories which also claim them. Their status within these discourses is that of being "in denial," "passing"
or being a "race traitor." This is the norm-making process in feminist traditions of "breaking silence"
which, ironically, silence and exclude the very women these traditions mean to empower. (Is it
surprising, when we think in this vein, that there is so little feminist writing on heterosexual pleasure?) But if these practices
tacitly silence those whose experiences do not parallel those whose suffering is most marked (or
whom the discourse produces as suffering markedly), they also condemn those whose sufferings they record to
a permanent identification with that suffering. Here, we experience a temporal ensnaring in
'the folds of our own discourses' insofar as we identify ourselves in speech in a manner that
condemns us to live in a present dominated by the past. But what if speech and silence aren't really opposites?
Indeed, what if to speak incessantly of one's suffering is to silence the possibilities of overcoming it,
of living beyond it, of identifying as something other than it? What if this incessant speech not only overwhelms
the experiences of others, but alternative (unutterable? traumatized? fragmentary? inassimilable?) zones of
one's own experience? Conversely, what if a certain modality of silence about one's suffering--and I am suggesting that we
must consider modalities of silence as varied as modalities of speech and discourse--is to articulate a variety of possibilities not
otherwise available to the sufferer?
Sexton Indict
Sexton epistemology is erroneous and prevents inter-sectional progress
Spickard 9 (Paul, professor of history and Asian American studies at the University of California,
Santa Barbara. “Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism
(review)”, American Studies, Volume 50, Number 1/2, Spring/Summer 2009, pp. 125-127 –
Project Muse)
With Amalgamation Schemes, Jared Sexton is trying to stir up some controversy. He presents a facile,
sophisticated, and theoretically informed intelligence, and he picks a fight from the start. His title suggests that the study of
multiraciality is some kind of plot, or at the very least an illegitimate enterprise. His tone is angry and accusatory on every page. It is
difficult to get to the grounds of his argument, because the cloud of invective is so thick, and because his writing is abstract,
referential, and at key points vague. For Sexton (as for the Spencers and Gordon) race is about Blackness, in the
United States and around the world. That is silly, for there are other racialized relationships. In
the U.S., native peoples were racialized by European intruders in all the ways that Africans were, and more:
they were nearly extinguished. To take just one example from many around the world, Han Chinese have racialized
Tibetans historically in all the ways (including slavery) that Whites have racialized Blacks and Indians in the United States. So
there is a problem with Sexton’s concept of race as Blackness. There is also a problem with his insistence
on monoraciality. For Sexton and the others, one cannot be mixed or multiple; one must choose
ever and only to be Black. I don’t have a problem with that as a political choice, but to insist that
it is the only possibility flies in the face of a great deal of human experience, and it ignores the
history of how modern racial ideas emerged.
Wilderson Indict
Wilderson is reductionist, and essentialist
Ellison 11 (Mary, PhD, Fellow, African American and Indian American history and culture, Keele
University, “Review of: Red, White and Black: cinema and the structure of US antagonisms”
http://rac.sagepub.com/content/53/2/100.full.pdf+html?rss=1, Acc: 8/5/12)
These are two illuminating, but frustratingly flawed books. Their approaches are different, although both frequently quote Frantz
Fanon and Jacques Lacan. Frank Wilderson utilises the iconic theoreticians within the context of a study
that concentrates on a conceptual ideology that, he claims, is based on a fusion of Marxism,
feminism, postcolonialism and psychology. He uses a small number of independent films to
illustrate his theories. Charlene Regester has a more practical framework. She divides her book into nine chapters devoted to
individual female actors and then weaves her ideological concepts into these specific chapters. Both have a problem with clarity.
Regester uses less complex language than Wilderson, but still manages to be obtuse at times. Wilderson starts from a position of
using ontology and grammar as his main tools, but manages to consistently misuse or misappropriate terms like fungible or
fungibility. Wilderson writes as an intelligent and challenging author, but is often frustrating. Although his language is
complicated, his concepts are often oversimplified. He envisions every black person in film as a
slave who is suffering from irreparable alienation from any meaningful sense of cultural identity.
He believes that filmmakers, including black filmmakers, are victims of a deprivation of meaning that has been condensed by
Jacques Lacan as a ‘wall of language’ as well as an inability to create a clear voice in the face of gratuitous violence. He cites Frantz
Fanon, Orlando Patterson and Hortense Spiller as being among those theorists who effectively investigate the issues of black
structural non-communicability. His own attempts to define ‘what is black?’, ‘a subject?’, ‘an object?’, ‘a
slave?’, seem bound up with limiting preconceptions, and he evaluates neither blackness nor the
‘red’ that is part of his title in any truly meaningful way.
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Afro-Pessimism – Neg lab DD