Discrimination And Criticism In Charles Mills's The Racial Contract

Improved Essays
“The Racial Contract” depicts Charles Mills’ radical perspective on racism as the foundation of the social contract. The core of Locke’s political thought is exposed, heavily linked to domination and exploitation. Racial roots of the social contract evoke global division and the existence of full/sub-persons. Mills rejects and challenges Locke’s conventional contract theory by acknowledging racism as the linchpin of the social contract, rather than an unintended consequence of imperfect man. His critique recognizes covert power roots of racism within the political system that, formally and informally dictate socioeconomic privileges. Historical events depict a continued nature of exploitation as Mills utilizes the racial contract to place racial …show more content…
He claims, “the racial contract is a historical actuality,” (19), with evidence revealing a plethora of exploitation in a continuing white supremacist state. The racial contract investigates the paradoxical foundations of Locke where nonwhite tacit consent to white privileges inhibit natural and civic equality. The core of Locke’s social contract is rooted in racism that facilitates domination. Interpreting his own outlook on contract theory, Locke focuses on the contract as a theoretical construct of political philosophy. While Locke depicts origins and legitimacy of agreement into civil society, Mills counters the Lockean principles of universal equality, labeling it as white-inclusive. To a great extent this tarnishes the utopian aurora that follows previous interpretations of contract theory and establishes no grounds of justification in the deprivation of liberties to …show more content…
However these pale in comparison to the effectiveness of actual historical truths in imperialism, colonialism, and other atrocities that expose Locke for relations of domination and exploitation. He extends past liberty and equality, providing a framework of how economic foundations in the current economy are rooted in racist social contract ideals. Global historical reoccurrences reinforce his claim that these lead to mass discourse, and the presence of domination roots in Locke’s political theory. Mills surpasses the core of Locke’s thought by discussing racism as an ideology. While, “the social contract requires that all citizens and persons learn to respect themselves,” (72), the racial contract acknowledges epistemologies of ignorance and political domination within the social contract. Racially motivated ignorance is proven to drive the social contract and foundation of John Locke. Mills attests how most state of natures involve savages or a, “garden gone to a seed,” (46), with imperfect men. Instead of suggesting race as a construction and a regrettable deviation, Mills appropriately identifies inherent racism in Locke, detailing cases of downplayed and neglected nonwhite achievements. Mills provides a unique perspective that tarnishes Locke’s legacy. To a fair extent, Locke still holds value through

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Edmund Morgan, an American historian and a previous history professor at Yale University, unveils how slavery was able to exist in America while liberty was held at the highest of standards in his journal Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox. After sifting through the stories of our nations founding fathers and most important men of the American Revolution his discovers that, unlike most other historians, the fopaux we call slavery did not begin as a racist act. Morgan also discovered that while many write off the founding fathers and the original colonists as hypocrites for wanting to live in a free world while depriving others of their liberty that’s not an accurate name to describe them. And throughout Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox Edmund Morgan explains his realization with the world.…

    • 1176 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Rhetorical Analysis of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration Michelle Alexander is an African American civil rights activist, Ohio state law professor, and legality lawyer, who has written the famous novel, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness in 2010 which emphasizes the ongoing civil rights issues being had within African American communities and law enforcement. Michelle uses several rhetorical devices within the chapter “The Rebirth of Caste” to provide evidence as to how racism is still prevalent within the United States of America without intentionally noticing it ’s there. Through the use of quotations from historical sources, ethos, pathos, and logos and a timeline of how racism and white supremacy…

    • 738 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Takaki argues the contradictions of slavery and judgements of African Americans. He does this by providing viable examples of contradictions made by Whites in the North and the South. Takaki also argues that control is an important factor of slavery. We are able to learn about the origins of early prejudices against African Americans in our country. Takaki introduces us to David Walker.…

    • 1574 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    Jordan is able to analyze the problem of slavery through the negative stereotypes, racist laws, and the paradox of Thomas Jefferson. Ultimately, Winthrop D. Jordan wrote The White Man's Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States to explain the origins of racism in the United States. In addition, the author wanted the reader to have a complete understanding that “white American attitudes toward black have done a great deal to shape and condition American responses to other racial minorities.” The institution of slavery was one of the greatest human tragedies in the United States.…

    • 1863 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Coates provides a wide range of evidence, using numerous sources, to advance his claim for reparations and the need for American society to reevaluate African American suffering. Specifically, Coates uses statistics in the interactive census map, facts from various published articles, books, and expert historians, stories from witnesses who personally experienced the injustice like Clyde Ross, primary sources such as De Bow’s Review and more, to provide sufficient and convincing sources that support his conclusions about racial inequality. Building from credible evidence, Coates constructs a cogent and organized essay by dividing the piece into various parts, each focusing on a specific topic in African American discrimination. For example, in section IV entitled “The Ills that Slavery Frees Us From,” Coates explains how the formation of America as a slave society and the continual exploitation of slave labor allowed white Americans to thrive, while black Americans endured cultural, familial and personal destruction (25). By dividing the essay into various parts, each with a specific focus that relates to the overall argument, Coates leads his readers from one premise to the next in a logical fashion, culminating in a decree for reparations.…

    • 1382 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Since the birth of the United States of America, there have always been issues that have split the country. These hot-topics have changed over time, in the recent years we’ve seen the repercussions of the divide over gay marriage. Currently, we face racial inequalities that many believe to need a reformation. These racial inequities have existed for much longer, however. In 1791, we saw this inequality in slavery; one of the most disgusting things this country has ever faced.…

    • 728 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The Battle Royal Analysis

    • 996 Words
    • 4 Pages

    From Slavery to a Newer Slavery Although the titles of Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B” and Ralph Ellison’s “The Battle Royal” differ completely, they both intend to display African Americans as the subaltern and whites as the hegemony. The subaltern being a group or groups of people, who the hegemony imposes upon and the hegemony being the imposer of its own culture, environment and expectations upon the subaltern. In “Battle Royal” and “Theme for English B,” the hegemony imposes upon the subaltern by using different methods of grading based on the race of each student, rejection of their unifying human attributes and speaking in a less formal way to emphasize their position as the tyrannical hegemony. “Theme for English B” and “The…

    • 996 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Distortion is arguably the most persuasive technique an author can utilize, because, once the truth is revealed, a text and its themes are much more resonant and influential. When faced with distortion, a reader is forced to examine their beliefs and actions in comparison to the author’s underlying statements about people and society as a whole. Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, one of the greatest works of distortion of all time, recounts the story of a slave ship called the San Dominick. Captain Delano, the commander of the Bachelor’s Delight, boards the San Dominick, which appears to be in distress. Despite having numerous suspicions about the slave’s role on the ship, Delano does not realize the truth until the conclusion of the story: the…

    • 1338 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    While most abolitionists based their claim for emancipation on moral grounds, decrying the treatment of African Americans as inhuman and unjust, Douglass framed his argument in the context of white men’s actions and values, choosing to point out the hypocrisy of white citizens in comparison. He does this by first retelling the story of American independence and the founding father’s fight for freedom from their oppressive rulers, commending these men for their willingness to stand against their government and for rights that they believed themselves to be entitled to, even when it was “unfashionable” to do so. From there, Douglass’ moves to the present, speaking of the disparity between modern American society and this revolutionary period, saying “their (the founding fathers) solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times” (Douglass, 11). By linking the struggle for colonial independence with that of black emancipation, Douglass presents the slave’s bondage as something that Americans can relate to and that their fathers had ideologically condemned, even though slavery continued under their new government. He continues this approach of pointing out American hypocrisy by commenting on the church's support of slavery within the United States, a betrayal of the humanitarian values that the institution is supposed to…

    • 1189 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    In general, the African Americans resisted their new way of life and struggle to maintain their human dignity and to develop social institutions that would sustain them through the rest of their lives (Robin, Kelley & Lewis, 2005, p. 27). For the most part, in the colonial societies, the African Americans were considered the lowest of the social order. In the colonists’ view, they were considered as imported human property in which their sole purpose was to work for those who purchase their rights. In fact, they were considered as a “bad race” in which the term originated in Europe and strengthened the American cause of why they should enslave the African Americans (Robin, Kelley & Lewis, 2005, p. 27). In contrast, the…

    • 1778 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    As the name of the title aptly suggests, Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his article, “The Case for Reparations”, builds a case for the racial minority, that is black folk, to seek amends for the years of injustice and servitude rendered by them to the majority, here in America. Through the medium of Clyde Ross, a veteran but now ordinary citizen, representative of the plight of any other black person living in that era, Coates attempts to provide an argument for the ills and hardships that the Blacks were faced with throughout the previous few centuries, under the regime of white supremacy, in the land of opportunity. In his article, Coates emphasizes not only on the explicit forms and visible aspects of racism and discrimination prevalent, such as…

    • 2480 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    During this era, most whites owned slaves in fact on some plantations, slaves outnumbered the white owners. Before discussing the relationship between the American Revolution and black freedom, we must internalize the conditions slaves live in and why would slaves fight for freedom with possibly the ultimate sacrifice death. According to the authors of the Declaration of Independence, living under the British rule was like being a slave. However, these rights did not include enslaved Africans.…

    • 784 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Charles Mills’ first words in his book The Racial Contract, were “white supremacy is the unnamed political system that has made the world what it is today” (Mills, Pg. 1). With that one statement, Mills eluded to an idea that most people had previously chosen to ignore. The fact that he called it “unnamed” is important because Mills critiques the social contracts of multiple well known political theorists in order to prove that they have all in their own ways tactfully excluded non-white races from consideration in the establishment of their social contracts. It is unnamed because it is very difficult to see unless someone is looking for it as Charles Mills did. Charles Mills’ critique that Thomas Hobbes’ social contract only considered white people is convincing because he identifies the different states of nature that Hobbes reserved for white and non white people, he makes people question what Hobbes really means when he refers to “people,” and he effectively twists the text in order to compliment his argument.…

    • 1406 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In this book Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates reveals “in America, it is traditional to destroy the black body---it is heritage” (Coates 103). Coates uses words “destroy the black body” and “heritage” to provoke his audiences. This use of rhetoric conveys his strong message of African Americans live under injustice and discrimination for a very long time. This “heritage” can be traced back to the Colonial Era when enslaved Africans were forced to work in the plantation due to the triangular trade (Globe Fearon American History). In the triangular trade, Africans were brought to America and became properties of landowners, most of whom were whites.…

    • 895 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Racial Formation Theory

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages

    This week’s readings exemplify scholarly and theoretical attempts to conceptualize race and racism in a way to effectively address and challenge systematic, structural racism that has evolved throughout the history of the United States socio- politically, historically, and culturally. Omi and Winant trace the lineage of race and racism in the US, focusing on the theoretical paradigms of race and their shortcomings as well as the contemporary evolution of racism coupled with neoliberal economic developments. Feagin similarly explores the legacy of racism in the US from a Marxist perspective. Taken together, these scholars problematize systematic racism that continues in the contemporary American society and argues for new ways to conceptualize…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays