Black Capital Accumulation: Better Educate Ourselves and Our Children

Since race is not real, it should be disavowed entirely, say the post-racialists.  My race is not determined by my skin tone, otherwise light-skinned black people would be less black than dark-skinned people.  Race is not determined by one’s place of origin, or else there would be no sense in the term Black Africa.  Scientists have shown that race is not biological, nor is it genetically consistent. Races is not determined by the ‘black experience’, or else those who experience less racism because of circumstances beyond their control would be less black than those whose fate places them within the sights of avowed racial terrorists.  Blackness is not determined by adherence to some amorphous conception of “black culture”.  Each of these standards for blackness draws arbitrary and quite harmful distinctions.

Race is constricting and stands in the way of one’s personal autonomy.  It is divisive.  It is merely an ideological construct.  Naomi Zack asks, if race has no consistent basis in biology, genetics, phenology, why acknowledge it at all?

While race is a ‘mere’ ideological construct, so is the line between the United States and Mexico, or Florida and Georgia, and pretending that it does not exist invites certain consequences.  There are privileges in society assigned to those perceived as white and demerits for those perceived as black. Even though whiteness does not have the value it once had, it would be foolhardy for black people to disavow racial solidarity when others shave not. According to Charles Mills, “that race should be irrelevant is certainly an attractive ideal, but when it has not been irrelevant its absurd to proceed as if it had been.” Embracing ‘blackness’ is then an act of self-defense, for the political and economic fats of black have improved in times before only to be retarded by those who would enjoy the benefits of greater white cohesion.

Post-racialism refuses to recognize that race relation and civil rights for black improved in the past only to be viciously and violently and almost completely taken away.  Consider how the gains of Reconstruction were taken away and slavery re-constituted under the Jim Crow convict-leasing-sharecropping system.  It refuses to recognize that the absence of black solidarity contr5ibhuted to the African slave trade in the first place.  At its worst, it is designed to ignore imperfections in the market relating to race, including and especially those least susceptible to public, legal interference.  For these reasons, pretending not to “see” race maintains, rather than eliminates, a racial socio-political-economic caste system in the United States.

One of the principal techniques of the post-racialist is to reduce the concept of racism to mere discrimination; that way, any attempts to address the material subordination of black people somehow becomes racial discrimination.  Under this perverse conception, post-racialism makes racists out of those of us who seek justice for black people, and celebrities of those who encourage society to ignore it.  In the Rules of Racial Standing, Derick Bell predicted that the black people who publicly assist the post-racial movement would be given superior racial standing.

Obviously, racism is more than just over racial discrimination.  Discrimination, like slavery, is a tactic to support racism.  It does not define it.  Racism defined is white supremacy in education, economics, entertainment, labor, law politics, sex, religion and war.  That whiteness ‘however conceived’ occupies supreme positions in all of these areas of human activity is global and hegemonic.

Andre Smith