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harper231

Answering Anti-blackness without seeming like a racist prick

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So title is self explanatory. I have no idea what is should be running against this argument. I'm very new to K debate and trying to get some basic blocks together for what seems like the more common K's. Thanks in advance.

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Anti-blackness is ontic not ontological- this just means that we can create change, because white civil society is not intrinsically built in opposition to the black body.

 

They are over essentializing- they ignore the fact that things have actually improved vis-a-vis slavery.

 

Perm- OSW or whatever your aff is almost certainly is not intrinsically anti-black

 

Affirming racial identity is bad (I'm thinking of something along the lines of that Enns card)

 

A manichean view of race relations doesn't allow for ethical actions on the part of whites- means they will always resist, tanks solvency

 

Social death theory bad- it just locks us into the past, and prevents all chance to actually move beyond it

 

Black white binary bad- what about people in the middle who are neither black or white, such as Asians or Latinos.

 

There's also plenty of indicts to Wilderson, sexton, and the like

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Anti-blackness is ontic not ontological- this just means that we can create change, because white civil society is not intrinsically built in opposition to the black body.

 

They are over essentializing- they ignore the fact that things have actually improved vis-a-vis slavery.

 

Perm- OSW or whatever your aff is almost certainly is not intrinsically anti-black

 

Affirming racial identity is bad (I'm thinking of something along the lines of that Enns card)

 

A manichean view of race relations doesn't allow for ethical actions on the part of whites- means they will always resist, tanks solvency

 

Social death theory bad- it just locks us into the past, and prevents all chance to actually move beyond it

 

Black white binary bad- what about people in the middle who are neither black or white, such as Asians or Latinos.

 

There's also plenty of indicts to Wilderson, sexton, and the like

I also think that indicts to particular methods are good. Obviously it depends on the alternative that they read. For example: if they read a Wilderson alt that tears down civil society, you could read some Joy James ev that tearing down civil society in a violent revolution just fragments resistance; and vise-versa. Sure, it's just defense, but it could still get you somewhere if you developed it enough in the 1AR/2AR.

 

 

Edit: Also, weigh your aff. Be ready to defend fiat/state as being able to create positive change. Also, be ready to answer the "blacks are already ontologically dead" arg. 

Edited by CodyGustafson

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Hudson 13

 

Anti-blackness is not an ontological antagonism

Peter Hudson 13, Political Studies Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg , South Africa, has been on the editorial board of the Africa Perspective: The South African Journal of Sociology and Theoria: A Journal of Political and Social Theory and Transformation, and is a member of the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, The state and the colonial unconscious, Social Dynamics: A journal of African studies, 2013

Thus the self-same/other distinction is necessary for the possibility of identity itself. There always has to exist an outside, which is also inside, to the extent it is designated as the impossibility from which the possibility of the existence of the subject derives its rule (Badiou 2009, 220). But although the excluded place which isn’t excluded insofar as it is necessary for the very possibility of inclusion and identity may be universal (may be considered “ontological”), its content (what fills it) – as well as the mode of this filling and its reproductionare contingent. In other words, the meaning of the signifier of exclusion is not determined once and for all: the place of the place of exclusion, of death is itself over-determined, i.e. the very framework for deciding the other and the same, exclusion and inclusion, is nowhere engraved in ontological stone but is political and never terminally settled. Put differently, the “curvature of intersubjective space” (Critchley 2007, 61) and thus, the specific modes of the “othering” of “otherness” are nowhere decided in advance (as a certain ontological fatalism might have it) (see Wilderson 2008). The social does not have to be divided into white and black, and the meaning of these signifiers is never necessarybecause they are signifiers. To be sure, colonialism institutes an ontological division, in that whites exist in a way barred to blacks – who are not. But this ontological relation is really on the side of the ontic – that is, of all contingently constructed identities, rather than the ontology of the social which refers to the ultimate unfixity, the indeterminacy or lack of the social. In this sense, then, the white man doesn’t exist, the black man doesn’t exist (Fanon 1968, 165); and neither does the colonial symbolic itself, including its most intimate structuring relations – division is constitutive of the social, not the colonial division. “Whiteness” may well be very deeply sediment in modernity itself, but respect for the “ontological difference” (see Heidegger 1962, 26; Watts 2011, 279) shows up its ontological status as ontic. It may be so deeply sedimented that it becomes difficult even to identify the very possibility of the separation of whiteness from the very possibility of order, but from this it does not follow that the “void” of “black being” functions as the ultimate substance, the transcendental signified on which all possible forms of sociality are said to rest. What gets lost here, then, is the specificity of colonialism, of its constitutive axis, its “ontological” differential. A crucial feature of the colonial symbolic is that the real is not screened off by the imaginary in the way it is under capitalism. At the place of the colonised, the symbolic and the imaginary give way because non-identity (the real of the social) is immediately inscribed in the “lived experience” (vécu) of the colonised subject. The colonised is “traversing the fantasy” (Zizek 2006a, 40–60) all the time; the void of the verb “to be” is the very content of his interpellation. The colonised is, in other words, the subject of anxiety for whom the symbolic and the imaginary never work, who is left stranded by his very interpellation.4 “Fixed” into “non-fixity,” he is eternally suspended between “element” and “moment”5 – he is where the colonial symbolic falters in the production of meaning and is thus the point of entry of the real into the texture itself of colonialism. Be this as it may, whiteness and blackness are (sustained by) determinate and contingent practices of signification; the “structuring relation” of colonialism thus itself comprises a knot of significations which, no matter how tight, can always be undone. Anti-colonial – i.e., anti-“white”modes of struggle are not (just) “psychic” 6 but involve the “reactivation (or “de-sedimentation”)7 of colonial objectivity itself. No matter how sedimented (or global), colonial objectivity is not ontologically immune to antagonism. Differentiality, as Zizek insists (see Zizek 2012, chapter 11, 771 n48), immanently entails antagonism in that differentiality both makes possible the existence of any identity whatsoever and at the same time – because it is the presence of one object in another – undermines any identity ever being (fully) itself. Each element in a differential relation is the condition of possibility and the condition of impossibility of each other. It is this dimension of antagonism that the Master Signifier covers over transforming its outside (Other) into an element of itself, reducing it to a condition of its possibility.8 All symbolisation produces an ineradicable excess over itself, something it can’t totalise or make sense of, where its production of meaning falters. This is its internal limit point, its real:9 an errant “object” that has no place of its own, isn’t recognised in the categories of the system but is produced by it – its “part of no part” or “object small a.”10 Correlative to this object “a” is the subject “stricto sensu” – i.e., as the empty subject of the signifier without an identity that pins it down.11 That is the subject of antagonism in confrontation with the real of the social, as distinct from “subject” position based on a determinate identity.

 

 

 

Bouie 13

Policy focus key to combat racism---anti-blackness is not ontological 

Jamelle Bouie 13, staff writer at The American Prospect, Making and Dismantling Racism, http://prospect.org/article/making-and-dismantling-racism

Over at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates has been exploring the intersection of race and public policy, with a focus on white supremacy as a driving force in political decisions at all levels of government. This has led him to two conclusions: First, that anti-black racism as we understand it is a creation of explicit policy choicesthe decision to exclude, marginalize, and stigmatize Africans and their descendants has as much to do with racial prejudice as does any intrinsic tribalism. And second, that it's possible to dismantle this prejudice using public policy. Here is Coates in his own words: Last night I had the luxury of sitting and talking with the brilliant historian Barbara Fields. One point she makes that very few Americans understand is that racism is a creation. You read Edmund Morgan’s work and actually see racism being inscribed in the law and the country changing as a result. If we accept that racism is a creation, then we must then accept that it can be destroyed. And if we accept that it can be destroyed, we must then accept that it can be destroyed by us and that it likely must be destroyed by methods kin to creation. Racism was created by policy. It will likely only be ultimately destroyed by policy. Over at his blog, Andrew Sullivan offers a reply: I don’t believe the law created racism any more than it can create lust or greed or envy or hatred. It can encourage or mitigate these profound aspects of human psychology – it can create racist structures as in the Jim Crow South or Greater Israel. But it can no more end these things that it can create them. A complementary strategy is finding ways for the targets of such hatred to become inured to them, to let the slurs sting less until they sting not at all. Not easy. But a more manageable goal than TNC’s utopianism. I can appreciate the point Sullivan is making, but I'm not sure it's relevant to Coates' argument. It is absolutely true that "Group loyalty is deep in our DNA," as Sullivan writes. And if you define racism as an overly aggressive form of group loyalty—basically just prejudice—then Sullivan is right to throw water on the idea that the law can "create racism any more than it can create lust or greed or envy or hatred."  But Coates is making a more precise claim: That there's nothing natural about the black/white divide that has defined American history. White Europeans had contact with black Africans well before the trans-Atlantic slave trade without the emergence of an anti-black racism. It took particular choices made by particular people—in this case, plantation owners in colonial Virginia—to make black skin a stigma, to make the "one drop rule" a defining feature of American life for more than a hundred years. By enslaving African indentured servants and allowing their white counterparts a chance for upward mobility, colonial landowners began the process that would make white supremacy the ideology of America. The position of slavery generated a stigma that then justified continued enslavement—blacks are lowly, therefore we must keep them as slaves. Slavery (and later, Jim Crow) wasn't built to reflect racism as much as it was built in tandem with it. And later policy, in the late 19th and 20th centuries, further entrenched white supremacist attitudes. Block black people from owning homes, and they're forced to reside in crowded slums. Onlookers then use the reality of slums to deny homeownership to blacks, under the view that they're unfit for suburbs. In other words, create a prohibition preventing a marginalized group from engaging in socially sanctioned behavior—owning a home, getting married—and then blame them for the adverse consequences. Indeed, in arguing for gay marriage and responding to conservative critics, Sullivan has taken note of this exact dynamic. Here he is twelve years ago, in a column for The New Republic that builds on earlier ideas: Gay men--not because they're gay but because they are men in an all-male subculture--are almost certainly more sexually active with more partners than most straight men. (Straight men would be far more promiscuous, I think, if they could get away with it the way gay guys can.) Many gay men value this sexual freedom more than the stresses and strains of monogamous marriage (and I don't blame them). But this is not true of all gay men. Many actually yearn for social stability, for anchors for their relationships, for the family support and financial security that come with marriage. To deny this is surely to engage in the "soft bigotry of low expectations." They may be a minority at the moment. But with legal marriage, their numbers would surely grow. And they would function as emblems in gay culture of a sexual life linked to stability and love. [Emphasis added] What else is this but a variation on Coates' core argument, that society can create stigmas by using law to force particular kinds of behavior? Insofar as gay men were viewed as unusually promiscuous, it almost certainly had something to do with the fact that society refused to recognize their humanity and sanction their relationships. The absence of any institution to mediate love and desire encouraged behavior that led this same culture to say "these people are too degenerate to participate in this institution." If the prohibition against gay marriage helped create an anti-gay stigma, then lifting it—as we've seen over the last decade—has helped destroy it. There's no reason racism can't work the same way.

 

 

 

 

 

I actually don't know if have the other cards that Snark mentioned though 

Edited by CodyGustafson
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I actually don't know if have the other cards that Snark mentioned though 

Yeah, I just didn't feel like posting them lol. Easy enough to google and then cite track though, they're pretty common cards.

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 lol i thought someone would put Themba-Nixon'11- the card is beautiful .Its along the lines of cede the political  but VERY race specfic . Its much more along the line of a link turn for the USfg affs . Its by far the best piece of method D i've found . 

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One you should tone down your title Jesus. If you take a bad attitude to race arguments then you will be called a "racist prick" 

Very simply there are a few things you should do.

 

I wanna make something clear. Ks of Antiblackness AREN'T always Wilderson and they need to be addressed for their individual nuances  
 

IF the argument is wilderson then 

1) You need to prove that Blackness is not ontological and rather a social construct. This sets you up with good impact turns to wilderson's conception of social death

2) Using part 1 should help you get leverage on the state can help black people.

3) You need to win reasons as to why the alt is bad. These responses should be based on the Race of your opponents and the specific alternative they are reading. In some cases white identities dont have access to the alternative so you can grill them on that

 

IF it is NOT Wilderson

Then i would go all in on the state can help black people debate.
Especially if they see race as not ontological 

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Can someone explain these arguments please:

 

Super generic frontline to anti-blackness

 

Hudson 13

Bouie 13

Smith 12

Walker 12

Bhambra and Margee 10

 

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Can someone explain these arguments please:

Hudson says anti blackness is not ontological, this is your key uq claim. Wilderson-esque K's stand solely on their uq; if blackness isn't ontological then they've generally got no game on the perm/framework.

 

Bouie says policy changes are key to combating AB, which strengthens ths perm and is a fallback warrant to the UQ debate for when teams finally figure out how to answer Hudson properly.

 

Smith says that even though the law is racist, we can and should still use it tactically. Even if we cam't fox everything, we need policy to create material change. Terminal defense.

 

Walker is offense, it says that pessimistic denials of slave agency are a historical and also that social death is a colonialist script.

 

Bhambra and Margee is both offense and defense. It's a more specific reworking Wendy Brown's wounded attachments to racial identites (wounded attachments basically says that when id is tied to historical injuries id ptx become ptx of ressentiment, or ptx of revenge that never move past that oppressed id.) It also makes a defense of politics and coalition building.

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Smith says that we shouldn't abandon the law and can use it for good purposes. It's also an indite of civil disobedience because she cites you can't shame a system that can't be shamed. She also says if you abandon the law, there will be nothing to protect Native women and the revolutionary change will come too slowly to do anything. She also says if you totally rely on the law and it fails you, you're fucked. Smith basically says you should use the law and directly cause change at the same time. She never says we NEED policy to create material change, she even cites examples in the article "The Moral Limits of the Law" that extrajudicial legal change can happen through a politics of ungovernabilitity.

Smith can be a permutation card - our use of the law and our discourse both create change even if we lose one, we still gain solvency off the other

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Personally, I prefer the less "hard policy" cards that everyone turns to for cede the political/state good-- I think that Themba-Nixon and also that one Williams card that Cal Berkeley read are pretty good.

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Personally, I prefer the less "hard policy" cards that everyone turns to for cede the political/state good-- I think that Themba-Nixon and also that one Williams card that Cal Berkeley read are pretty good.

Depends; if you have a "hard policy" card specific to your mec or advantage than that makes for a powerful DA to the alt 

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Dr. Reid-Brinkley: Well, step one is do some damn research. If your answers to Wilderson’s afro-pessimism argument is a Wilderson indict from somebodies book review, and that’s all you got to say to Wilderson you’re a fucking idiot. You’re an idiot. You are an idiot. And so I’m astounded looking at debate coaches who I know who do nothing but cut cards who are refusing to do research! What the!? Where are we? I thought we were good at debate. I thought we are in debate. I thought we did research, I thought that’s what sort of defined our community. So you’re telling me you can’t go find the afro-optimists who answer the afro-pessimists? It astounds me. I don’t get it. So I think step one is; shut up about complaining about framework and do some damn research. There is black literature being produced every moment of every day. There is a whole area of the library, sections of the stacks, with relevant information that might be useful for you. Go read some African American history, go find the little out about Africa and Chattel Slavery and the slave trade. It is so simple to me that I don’t understand why the debate community is refusing to do research.

 

Your answer to antiblackness is not reading the generic A2: Wilderson cards but defending the thesis of your affirmative.

You need to say fuck you, our impacts are real, extinction really sucks, the government building OTEC does not cause social death.

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Hmm, would Boggs 2k work?

And, abandoning politics cedes it to the elites – causes war, slavery, and authoritarianism.

Boggs 2k (Carol, PF Political Science @ University of Southern California, The End of Politics, pg. 250-251)

 

But it is a very deceptive and misleading minimalism.  While Oakeshott debunks political mechanisms and rational planning, as either useless or dangerous, the actually existing power structure-replete with its own centralized state apparatus, institutional hierarchies, conscious designs, and indeed, rational plans-remains fully intact, insulated from the minimalist critique.  In other words, ideologies and plans are perfectly acceptable for elites who preside over established governing systems, but not for ordinary citizens or groups anxious to challenge the status quo.  Such one-sided minimalism gives carte blanche to elites who naturally desire as much space to maneuver as possible.  The flight from “abstract principles” rules out ethical attacks on injustices that may pervade the status quo (slavery or imperialist wars, for example) insofar as those injustices might be seen as too deeply embedded in the social and institutionalmatrix of the time to be the target of oppositional political action.  If politics is reduced to nothing other than a process of everyday muddling-through, then people are condemned to accept the harsh realities of an exploitative and authoritarian system, with no choice but to yield to the dictates of “conventional wisdom”.  Systematic attempts to ameliorate oppressive conditions would, in Oakeshott’s view, turn into a political nightmare.  A belief that totalitarianism might results from extreme attempts to put society in order is one thing; to argue that all politicized efforts to change the world are necessary doomed either to impotence or totalitarianism requires a completely different (and indefensible) set of premises.  Oakeshott’s minimalism poses yet another, but still related, range of problems: the shrinkage of politics hardly suggests that corporate colonization, social hierarchies, or centralized state and military institutions will magically disappear from people’s lives.  Far from it: the public space vacated by ordinary citizens, well informed and ready to fight for their interests, simply gives elites more room to consolidate their own power and privilege.  Beyond that, the fragmentation and chaos of a Hobbesian civil society, not too far removed from the excessive individualism, social Darwinism and urban violence of the American landscape could open the door to a modern Leviathan intent on restoring order and unity in the face of social disintegration.  Viewed in this light, the contemporary drift towards antipolitics might set the stage for a reassertion of politics in more authoritarian and reactionary guise-or it could simply end up reinforcing the dominant state-corporate system.  In either case, the state would probably become what Hobbes anticipated: the embodiment of those universal, collective interests that had vanished from civil society.16 And either outcome would run counter to the facile antirationalism of Oakeshott’s Burkean muddling-through theories.

 

Also, I can't download anything on cross-x.com. Anybody know why? It keeps on saying when I try to open it that the file's damaged or something like that.

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It's somewhat responsive, but in order for it to get you anywhere you have to have already won that politics is the state, that the state is redeemable, and that the state is accessible to black bodies, at which point you've basically won the K anyway.

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Hmm, would Boggs 2k work?

And, abandoning politics cedes it to the elites – causes war, slavery, and authoritarianism.

Boggs 2k (Carol, PF Political Science @ University of Southern California, The End of Politics, pg. 250-251)

 

But it is a very deceptive and misleading minimalism.  While Oakeshott debunks political mechanisms and rational planning, as either useless or dangerous, the actually existing power structure-replete with its own centralized state apparatus, institutional hierarchies, conscious designs, and indeed, rational plans-remains fully intact, insulated from the minimalist critique.  In other words, ideologies and plans are perfectly acceptable for elites who preside over established governing systems, but not for ordinary citizens or groups anxious to challenge the status quo.  Such one-sided minimalism gives carte blanche to elites who naturally desire as much space to maneuver as possible.  The flight from “abstract principles” rules out ethical attacks on injustices that may pervade the status quo (slavery or imperialist wars, for example) insofar as those injustices might be seen as too deeply embedded in the social and institutionalmatrix of the time to be the target of oppositional political action.  If politics is reduced to nothing other than a process of everyday muddling-through, then people are condemned to accept the harsh realities of an exploitative and authoritarian system, with no choice but to yield to the dictates of “conventional wisdom”.  Systematic attempts to ameliorate oppressive conditions would, in Oakeshott’s view, turn into a political nightmare.  A belief that totalitarianism might results from extreme attempts to put society in order is one thing; to argue that all politicized efforts to change the world are necessary doomed either to impotence or totalitarianism requires a completely different (and indefensible) set of premises.  Oakeshott’s minimalism poses yet another, but still related, range of problems: the shrinkage of politics hardly suggests that corporate colonization, social hierarchies, or centralized state and military institutions will magically disappear from people’s lives.  Far from it: the public space vacated by ordinary citizens, well informed and ready to fight for their interests, simply gives elites more room to consolidate their own power and privilege.  Beyond that, the fragmentation and chaos of a Hobbesian civil society, not too far removed from the excessive individualism, social Darwinism and urban violence of the American landscape could open the door to a modern Leviathan intent on restoring order and unity in the face of social disintegration.  Viewed in this light, the contemporary drift towards antipolitics might set the stage for a reassertion of politics in more authoritarian and reactionary guise-or it could simply end up reinforcing the dominant state-corporate system.  In either case, the state would probably become what Hobbes anticipated: the embodiment of those universal, collective interests that had vanished from civil society.16 And either outcome would run counter to the facile antirationalism of Oakeshott’s Burkean muddling-through theories.

 

Also, I can't download anything on cross-x.com. Anybody know why? It keeps on saying when I try to open it that the file's damaged or something like that.

This is better and more specific

 

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, class-conscious, 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).

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