Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013

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L: Individual Identity

Individual identity is inadequate to overcome racism and the capital system that sustains it

Koepke 07 (Deanna Jacobsen, PhD candidate in Human and Organizational. Development at Fielding Graduate University, “RACE, CLASS, POVERTY, AND CAPITALISM”, Race, Gender and Class 14:3-4, 2007, ProQuest)//AS

Most of the "-isms" that we encounter are socially constructed categories of group identity that are located within a social system (Andersen & Collins, 2007). Their populations can change from time to time, but the categories are necessary to promote the idea of the "other" (Madrid, 2007). The "other" is needed because, as Max Weber wrote, power is relative. If everyone has it, then no one has it (Semau, 2001). The wealthy elite use the power they wield through democracy and capitalism to gain more of the valuable resources available (Beeghley, 2000) and then do whatever it takes to keep those resources and stay in power (Marable, 2000). Marable (2000) wrote that capitalism is fraud. It promotes the idea that everyone has a fair and equal chance to succeed, that hard work is all it takes, and that justice is inherent. In fact, most of the advantages and rewards available to people are shaped by race, class, and gender (Rothman, 2005). These include the distribution of earnings and wealth, social prestige, political power, educational opportunities, and justice. Our society is socially stratified with those at the top commanding the respect of all the others. Historically, the United States has perpetuated the ideology of individualism. There are plenty of opportunities, so those who work hard will be fairly compensated. The idea that individuals were responsible for their own fates came from the Protestant Reformation. Wealth was seen as a sign of divine grace because God would never allow an immoral person to prosper. Conversely, failure was seen as a personal flaw. Unfortunately, it remains that the true results of hard work are unequal across class and race (Shapiro, 2007). The social structure sets the range of opportunities available to any one person (Beeghley, 2000). It is true that to a certain extent, individual differences and efforts play a part in the success of an individual. However, there are structural patterns of inequality that go beyond the individual (Sernau, 2001).
Capitalism depends on disunity – exposing our differences prevents unified capitalist upheaval

Bohmer 98 – Ph.D Economics @ U of Massachusetts, B.S. Economics and Math, teaches political economy @ Evergreen State College (Peter, “Marxist Theory of Racism and Racial Inequality”, 12/20/98,, RSpec)

Much of the social analysis that focuses on the injustices and inequalities in U.S. society has been influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx and the Marxist tradition. Central to Marxism is the understanding that capitalism is an economic system with two major classes. The capitalist class owns and controls the means of production, capital, and continually tries to increase its profits. The working class, which is the large majority of the population, sell their labor power, their capacity to work, in return for a wage. Profits come largely from paying employees less than the value they add to production. Marx called this exploitation. Conflict between capitalists and workers is inherent in a capitalist system. Workers try to raise their wages and improve their working conditions. Employers try to limit wages and increase the amount of work done per hour. The employer has the upper hand because workers fear losing their job and the unemployment that awaits them. Exploitation, in the Marxist sense, can only be ended by the working class overthrowing capitalism. Workers can, however, improve their economic situation by forming unions and other organizations. The more disunity among workers, the weaker their ability to effectively challenge the employer. This insight is central to the Marxist analysis of racism, which focuses on attempts by capitalists to divide black and white workers. If white workers identify primarily as whites, rather than as workers, they will not act in their common class interests with black workers. The way to end racial oppression and class exploitation is an interracial and united working class.

Racial divisions make capitalist upheaval impossible

Bohmer 98 – Ph.D Economics @ U of Massachusetts, B.S. Economics and Math, teaches political economy @ Evergreen State College (Peter, “Marxist Theory of Racism and Racial Inequality”, 12/20/98,, RSpec)

(2) Racist ideology, promoted by the elites, is accepted in varying degrees by most white workers. This ‘false consciousness’ of white workers decreases the ability of workers to unite across racial lines and struggle as a unified group for better wages, benefits and conditions. Racism makes it easier for employers to play off one group against the other, reduce the average wage, and maximizes employer control and profits. Paying lower wages to black workers exacerbates racial divisions.

L: Narratives

Experience without grounding in the context of capital is suspect and fails to produce change—Marxist analysis is essential

Gimenez 01 (Martha E. , retired Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, “Marxism, and Class, Gender, and Race: Rethinking the Trilogy”, Race, Gender, and Class 8:2, April 2001, ProQuest)//AS

I agree with the importance of learning from the experience of all groups, especially those who have been silenced by oppression and exclusion and by the effects of ideologies that mystify their actual conditions of existence. To learn how people describe their understanding of their lives is very illuminating, for "ideas are the conscious expression -- real or illusory -- of (our) actual relations and activities" (Marx, 1994:111), because "social existence determines consciousness" (Marx, 1994: 211). Given that our existence is shaped by the capitalist mode of production, experience, to be fully understood in its broader social and political implications, has to be situated in the context of the capitalist forces and relations that produce it. Experience in itself, however, is suspect because, dialectically, it is a unity of opposites; it is, at the same time, unique, personal, insightful and revealing and, at the same time, thoroughly social, partial, mystifying, itself the product of historical forces about which individuals may know little or nothing about (for a critical assessment of experience as a source of knowledge see Sherry Gorelick, "Contradictions of feminist methodology," in Chow, Wilkinson, and Baca Zinn, 1996; applicable to the role of experience in contemporary RGC and feminist research is Jacoby's critique of the 1960s politics of subjectivity: Jacoby, 1973:37-49). Given the emancipatory goals of the RGC perspective, it is through the analytical tools of Marxist theory that it can move forward, beyond the impasse revealed by the constant reiteration of variations on the "interlocking" metaphor. This would require, however, a) a rethinking and modification of the postulated relationships between race, class and gender, and b) a reconsideration of the notion that, because everyone is located at the intersection of these structures, all social relations and interactions are "raced," "classed," and "gendered." In the RGC perspective, race, gender and class are presented as equivalent systems of oppression with extremely negative consequences for the oppressed. It is also asserted that the theorization of the connections between these systems require "a working hypothesis of equivalency" (Collins, 1997:74). Whether or not it is possible to view class as just another system of oppression depends on the theoretical framework within class is defined. If defined within the traditional sociology of stratification perspective, in terms of a gradation perspective, class refers simply to strata or population aggregates ranked on the basis of standard SES indicators (income, occupation, and education) (for an excellent discussion of the difference between gradational and relational concepts of class, see Ossowski, 1963). Class in this non-relational, descriptive sense has no claims to being more fundamental than gender or racial oppression; it simply refers to the set of individual attributes that place individuals within an aggregate or strata arbitrarily defined by the researcher (i.e., depending on their data and research purposes, anywhere from three or four to twelve "classes" can be identified).

Accounts of experience are situated within social sites—they cannot be productive without a Marxist analysis

Young 06 (Robert, Julius Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature. At New York University, “Putting Materialism back into Race Theory: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race”, The Red Critique 11, Winter/Spring 2006,

Asante and Collins assume that experience is self-intelligible and in their discourse it functions as the limit text of the real. However, I believe experience is a highly mediated frame of understanding. Though it is true that a person of color experiences oppression, this experience is not self-explanatory and, therefore, it needs to be situated in relation to other social practices. Experience seems local but it is, like all cultural and political practices, interrelated to other practices and experiences. Thus its explanation come from its "outside". Theory, specifically Marxist theory, provides an explanation of this outside by reading the meaning of all experiences as determined by the economic realities of class. While Asante's and Collins' humanism reads the experience of race as a site of "self-presence", the history of race in the United States—from slavery to Jim Crow to Katrina—is written in the fundamental difference of class. In other words, experience does not speak the real, but rather it is the site of contradictions and, hence, in need of conceptual elaboration to break from cultural common sense, a conduit for dominant ideology. It is this outside that has come under attack by black (humanist) scholars through the invocation of the black (transcendental) subject. Indeed, the discourse of the subject operates as an ideological strategy for fetishizing the black experience and, consequently, it positions black subjectivity beyond the reach of Marxism. For example, in the Afrocentric Idea, Asante dismisses Marxism because it is Eurocentric (8), but are the core concepts of Marxism, such as class and mode of production, only relevant for European social formations? Are African and African-American social histories/relations unshaped by class structures? Asante assumes that class hierarchies do not structure African or the African-American social experiences, and this reveals the class politics of Afrocentricity: it makes class invisible. Asante's assumption, which erases materialism, enables him to offer the idealist formulation that the "word creates reality" (70). The political translation of such idealism is not surprisingly very conservative. Asante directs us away from critiquing capitalist institutions, in a manner similar to the ideological protocol of the Million Man March, and calls for vigilance against symbolic oppression. As Asante tellingly puts it, "symbol imperialism, rather than institutional racism, is the major social problem facing multicultural societies" (56).
Their narrative focus prevents actual discussion - this turn case and proves that they turn effective dialogue into a lecture devoid of making any change

Subotnik, J.D. (Juris Doctor) @ Columbia University School of Law, 98

(Dan, “What’s Wrong with Critical Race Theory?: Reopening the Case for Middle Class Values” Touro Law, 1/1/1998,

  • CRT – Critical Race Theory

  • CRAT – Advocate of Critical Race Theory

If CRATs have the tools to see the world holistically, their missionshould be clear.They must endeavor to break down categories, Williamssays, and she works to "reveal[ ] the [subtle] .intersubjectivity of legalconstructions, that forces the reader both to participate in the construction of meaning and be conscious of that process."'62This will be hardwork, acknowledges Williams, but there is a reward-personalliberation:[B]oundary crossing, from safe circle into wilderness[,] ... [i]s the willingness to spoil a good party andbreak an encompassing circle ....The transition is dizzyingly intense, a reminder of what it is to be alive.It isa sinful pleasure, this willing trangression of a line,which takes one into a new awareness, a secret, lonelyand tabooed world-to survive the transgression is terrifying and addictive .... 63What a heady prospect for the stereotypically repressed academic!Regina Austin64 offers academics even wilder pleasures. She writes: I grew up thinking that "Sapphire" was merely a character on Amos 'n' Andy, a figment of a white man's racist/sexist comic imagination.... Sapphire is the sort of person you look at and wonder how she can possibly standherself. All she does is complain. Why doesn't that woman shut up?65After pondering whether blacks should renounce or embrace her,Austin concludes that "the time has come for us to get truly hysterical, totake on the role of 'professional Sapphires' in a forthright way . . . totestify on her own behalf, in writing, complete with footnotes. '66What precisely should CRT's mission be?"[O]ur jurisprudenceshould create enough static to interfere with the transmission of the dominant ideology and jam the messages that reduce our indignation, limitour activism, misdirect our energies, and otherwise make us the(re)producers of our own subordination.'67Given this rhetoric of victimization, could CRT develop free fromstultifying self-righteousness? 68 And when that rhetoric is combinedwith that of transgression, provocation and transcendence-especially inthe absence of fully-elaborated critiques to provide discipline69-would it be surprising if CRT attracted those who are champing to shuck thecoils of traditional scholarly rigor and self-restraint?70 Indeed, couldCRT avoid evolving into How Dost Thou Offend Me:, Let Me Count theWays?71B. AND THE CONSEQUENCES Having traced a major strand in the development of CRT, we turn now to the strands' effect on the relationships of CRATs with each other and with outsiders. As the foregoing material suggests,the centralCRTmessage is not simply that minorities are being treated unfairly, or even that individuals out there are in pain- assertions for which there are data to serve as grist for the academic mill -but that the minority scholar himself or herself hurts and hurts badly.An important problem that concerns the very definition of the scholarly enterprise now comes into focus.What can an academic trained to [*694] question and to doubt n72possibly say to Patricia Williams when effectively she announces, "I hurt bad"?n73"No, you don't hurt"? "You shouldn't hurt"?"Other people hurt too"?Or, most dangerously - and perhaps most tellingly - "What do you expect when you keep shooting yourself in the foot?" If the majority were perceived as having the well- being of minority groups in mind, these responses might be acceptable, even welcomed. And theymight lead to real conversation. But, writes Williams, the failure by those "cushioned within the invisible privileges of race and power... to incorporate a sense of precarious connection as a part of ourlives is... ultimately obliterating." n74 "Precarious." "Obliterating." These words will clearly invite responses only from fools and sociopaths; they will, by effectively precluding objection, disconcert and disunite others. "I hurt," in academic discourse, has three broad though interrelated effects. First, it demands priority from the reader's conscience. It is for this reason that law review editors, waiving usual standards, have privileged a long trail of undisciplined - even sillyn75- destructive and, above all, self-destructive arti [*695]cles.n76Second, by emphasizing the emotional bond between those who hurt in a similar way, "I hurt" discourages fellow sufferers from abstracting themselves from their pain in order to gain perspective on their condition. n77 [*696]Last, as we have seen, it precludes the possibility of open and structured conversation with others. n78 [*697]It is because of this conversation-stopping effectof what they insensitively call "first-person agony stories"that Farber and Sherry deplore their use."The norms of academic civility hamper readers from challenging the accuracy of the researcher's account; it would be rather difficult, for example, to criticize a law review article by questioning the author's emotional stability or veracity." n79 Perhaps, a better practice would be to put the scholar's experience on the table, along with other relevant material, but to subject that experience to the same level of scrutiny. Ifthrough the foregoing rhetorical strategies CRATs succeeded in limiting academic debate, why do they not have greater influence on public policy?Discouraging white legal scholars from entering the national conversation about race, n80 I suggest,has generated a kind of cynicism in white audiences which, in turn, has had precisely the reverse effectof that ostensiblydesiredby CRATs.It drives the American public to the right and ensures that anything CRT offers is reflexively rejected.In the absence of scholarly work by white males in the area of race, of course, it is difficult to be sure what reasons they would give for not having rallied behind CRT. Two things, however, are certain. First,the kinds of issuesraised by Williamsare too important in their implications[*698]forAmericanlifeto be confined to communities of color.If the lives of minorities are heavily constrained, if not fully defined, by the thoughts and actions of the majority elements in society,it would seem to be of great importance that white thinkers and doers participate in open discourse to bring about change. Second, given the lack of engagement of CRT by the community of legal scholars as a whole, the discourse that should be taking place at the highest scholarly levels has, by default, been displaced to faculty offices and, more generally, the streets and the airwaves.

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