Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013

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L: Discussion

A simple discussion of race blocks any possibility of making any change – it simply functions to entrench the hegemony of the hegemonically dominant capitalist system

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, pg 698-701,

  • CRT – Critical Race Theory

  • CRAT – Advocate of Critical Race Theory

Since such a situation cannot be salutary, we need what Williams has so substantially contributed to, and what she has called, that "longoverdue national dialogue about race, gender.., and all the other divisive issues that block the full possibility of American community. 81 Williams recognizes, as many others surely will, that such discourse will be painful. But "we must get beyond the stage of halting conversations filled with the superficialities of hurt feelings. ' 2 In sum, what is needed is to crack the "hermetic bravado celebrating victimization and stylized marginalization" 83 that leads to the virtual hegemony on the discussion of race relations that the academic community has ceded to CRATs. No matter how raw sensibilities might understandably be after centuries of slavery and racism, a position must be staked out that allows for a rejoinder to a Derrick Bell when he says self-mutilating things like "while slavery is over, a racist society continues to exert dominion over black men and their maleness in ways more subtle but hardly less castrating .... ,,84 Locating that position is precisely what is attempted here. CRT encompasses the works of a great many authors. Accordingly, I quote as many sources as my reading and space permit. At the same time, in the interests of a more consistent and thematic exposition, I focus particularly on the oeuvre of two notable CRATs, Patricia Williams and Regina Austin.85 Why Professor Williams? Most importantly because she is, according to Cornel West, "a towering public intellectual of our time [who] articulates a synoptic vision, synthetic analysis, and moral courage with great power."86 And why The Rooster's Egg in particular? Harvard Professor Sacvan Bercovitch calls it "a stunning achievement... a prophetic testament.... It bears much the same relation to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s which The Souls of Black Folk does to the era of Reconstruction. ... It deserves national attention. '87 To be sure, these accolades appear on the book jacket and must be construed in that light. But even when subjected to the ordinary discount, they suggest that wrestling with Williams can offer great spiritual, as well as intellectual, rewards. Regina Austin's prominence, meanwhile, is evidenced by her recent appointment to the William A. Schnader chair at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and her central role in a major controversy at the Harvard Law School.88 Towards the end of The Rooster's Egg, Williams recounts a story first told by black New York Times columnist Brent Staples, then a student at the University of Chicago.89 Staples liked to take walks at night near the lake on the south side of the city. He realized early on that these strolls, which gave him much pleasure, were terrifying to the whites he would encounter. Being basically a man of peace, he was much distressed. He tried first to be "innocuous" in his gait. Then he began whistling Vivaldi so people would hear him coming and take him for the student he was. All this, however, came at a price Then I changed .... The man and the woman walking toward me were laughing and talking but clammed up when they saw me... I veered toward them and aimed myself so that they'd have to part to avoid walking into me. The man stiffened, threw back his head and assumed the stare: eyes ahead, mouth open. I suppressed the urge to scream into his face. Instead, I glided between them, my shoulder nearly brushing his. A few steps beyond them I stopped and howled with laughter. I came to call this game "Scatter the Pigeons." 90 Williams laments, "The gentle journalist who stands on a streetcorner and howls. . . . What upside-down craziness, this paradoxical logic of having to debase oneself in order to retrieve one's sanity ... "9, And yet, we may ask, how far should our hearts go out to Williams, who articulates such anguish, and to the extent they are at one with her, to her fellow CRATs? For in describing their lives as one extended I hurt, CRATs, as has been suggested, disconcert and disjoin their alleged vic- timizers. 92 And so, is it not conceivable that at this very moment in a convention hall somewhere, Williams and her friends are doubled over, convulsed with laughter, delighting in their own versions of "Scatter the Pigeons"? 93
The affirmative’s discourse of race reduces it to a color and denies the link between racism and oppression in the dominant capitalist system

Koshy, Ph.D. @ UCLA Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, English @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1

[Susan, “Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness”, Boundary 2 , Vol. 28.1, pg 187-88, Duke University Press, Project Muse]//SGarg

Conservative discourses were early to identify the distinctiveness of Asian Americans and solicit their political affiliations on key social issues that threatened white dominance. Neoconservative discourse achieved hegemony in the eighties and nineties, operating through a ‘‘bad-faith antiracism’’62 that sought to maintain white advantages through a denial of racial difference. Within this discourse, the putative economic success of Asian Americans is used to affirm the existence of a color-blind system, which in turn negated the use of race as a category for remedial action. These arguments were given authenticity and voice by minorities themselves, among them Indian-born Dinesh D’Souza (Illiberal Education, The End of Racism), who were commissioned to promote these social truths. The redefinition of race has also been extended to legal discourse and public policy with devastating effect. Harris observes: Thus, at the very historical moment that race is infused with a perspective that reshapes it, through race-conscious remediation, into a potential weapon against subordination, official rules articulated in law deny that race matters. Simultaneously, the law upholds race as immutable and biological. . . . To define race reductively as simply color, and therefore meaningless, however, is as subordinating as defining race to be scientifically determinative of inherent deficiency. The old definition creates a false linkage between race and inferiority; the new definition denies the real linkage between race and oppression under systematic white supremacy.63 Neoconservative discourse has been particularly effective in recruiting new immigrants and middle-class minorities. In particular, the myth of the model minority,64 which has been appropriated by this discourse, singles out Asian Americans, interpellating them as whites-to-be: ‘‘The neoconservative approach to these groups thus sought to identify them as aspiring whites— much as Italians, Greeks, and Jews had been categorized a century earlier —and simultaneously to exempt them from the logic of affirmative action.’’6 The abandonment of race as an explanatory category has been accompanied by a renewed emphasis on ethnicity. I will examine the discursive dominance of ethnicity paradigms in articulations of identity and Americanness to locate the position of Asian Americans in the production of this shift and to highlight the dependence of rearticulations of whiteness on Asian Americanness. I will look at two aspects of the emergence of ethnic identity: the resurgence of white ethnicity since the 1950s, and the revitalization of nonwhite ethnic identity with the influx of immigrants after 1965 and the rise of a multiculturalism that affirms ethnic differentiation rather than assimilation.
Discussions of critical race theory fail to produce an outline of a substitute culture – prefer the specificity of the world of the alternative

Subotnik, J.D. (Juris Doctor) @ Columbia University School of Law, 1998

(Dan, “What’s Wrong with Critical Race Theory?: Reopening the Case for Middle Class Values” Touro Law, 1/1/1998, pg 707-09,

  • CRAT – Advocate of Critical Race Theory

As for the public schools, one can hardly conceive of a more reactionary message. Over the last fifty years social and economic development in the South has been nothing short of miraculous. And that growth is hard to imagine without the changes in public education that have taken place. Shall the nation head back in the direction of the rod and the one-room schoolhouse out of empty sentimentalism and the terror of a No. 2 pencil? 123 Who can doubt that black culture today lacks the autonomy and vitality it had before the age of mass communications and the advent of a national and subsequently global economy? 124 The problem is that Peller's work and that of other CRATS fails to provide even an outline for a substitute culture. What standards of performance would Peller adopt? What subjects would be taught in the schools and how would students of different backgrounds be taught to engage one another? 125 Without answers to such questions, must we not, at least tentatively, incline towards skepticism? Patricia Williams puts the issue of mainstream pressure on black culture into a broader perspective. For her the problem is the steamroller of middle-class values. Middle class, she writes, means variously, and contradictorily, "thrifty, greedy, smug, conventional, commonplace, respectable, hard-working, and shallow." 126 While not without redeeming aspects-a subject we will come to' 27 -this group of features, which according to Williams seems especially characteristic of the "amalgamated" white middle class,128 has led to a general "demand for conformity to what keeps being called the 'larger' American way, a coerced rather than willing assimilation .... "129 Middle-class values impose "high cost: . . . some 'successfully assimilated' ethnics have become so only by ... burying forever languages, customs and cultures." 130 What is the solution to the problem? Williams elaborates: [If we are] to be anything more than a loose society of mercenaries-of suppliers and demanders, of vendors and consumers-then we must recognize that other forms of group culture and identity exist. We must respect the dynamic power of these groups and cherish their contributions to our civil lives, rather than pretend they do not exist as a way of avoiding arguments about their accommodation. And in our law we must be on guard against either privileging a supposedly neutral "mass" culture that is in fact highly specific and historically contingent or legitimating a supposedly neutral ethic of individualism that is really a corporate group identity, radically constraining any sense of individual- ity, and silently advancing the claims of that group identity. 31 For Williams and Peller, then, it will be hard to find authentic blacks or other minorities until American culture is thoroughly decentralized. 132
Discussing race only reinforces it – turns the case – voting affirmative does nothing to eliminate race

Omi and Winant 93 (Michael and Howard, “On the Theoretical Status of the Concept of Race”, PDF, *Michael Omi Ph.D, M.A. both @ UC Santa Cruz and in sociology, Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies Department @ UC Berkeley, *Howard Winant, professor of sociology @ UC Berkeley, 1993,, RSpec)

Fields simply skips from emancipation to the present where disparages opponents of “racism” for unwittingly perpetuating it. In denunciatory terms she concludes by arguing for the concept’s abolition: Nothing handed down from the past could keep race alive if we did not constantly reinvent and re-ritualize it to fit our own terrain. If race lives on today, it can do so only because we continue to create and re-create it in our social life, continue to verify it, and thus continue to need a social vocabulary that will allow us to make sense, not of what our ancestors did then, but of what we choose to do now. (p. 118) Fields is unclear about how “we” should jettison the ideological construct of race, and one can well understand why. By her own logic, racial ideologies cannot be abolished by acts of will. One can only marvel at the ease with which she distinguishes the bad old slavery days of the past from the present, when we anachronistically cling, as if for no reason, to the illusion that races retains any meaning. WE foolishly “throw up our hands” and acquiesce in race-thinking, rather than…doing what? Denying the racially demarcated divisions in society? Training ourselves to be “color-blind?”

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