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1NC – Afro-Pessimism K
The only ethical demand is one that calls for the end of the world itself – the system of violent antagonisms means solving for contingent violence only reifies white supremacy and the liberal biopolitical state
Wilderson 10, Frank B Wilderson is a professor at UC Irvine, “Red, White, and Black: Cinema and Structure of US Antagonisms,” NN
Leaving aside for the moment their state of mind, it would seem that thestructure, that is to say the rebar, or better still the grammar oftheirdemands—and, by extension, the grammar of their suffering—was indeed an ethical grammar. Perhaps theirgrammarsaretheonlyethicalgrammarsavailabletomodernpoliticsandmodernitywritlarge, for theydrawourattentionnottothewayinwhichspaceandtimeareusedandabusedbyenfranchisedandviolentlypowerfulinterests,buttotheviolencethatunderwritesthemodernworld’scapacitytothink,act,andexistspatiallyandtemporally. The violence that robbed her of her body and him of his land provided the stage upon which other violent and consensual dramas could be enacted. Thus, theywouldhavetobecrazy, crazy enough tocallnotmerelytheactionsoftheworldtoaccountbuttocalltheworlditselftoaccount, and to account for them no less! Thewoman at Columbia wasnotdemandingtobeaparticipantinanunethicalnetworkofdistribution:shewasnotdemandingaplacewithincapital,apieceofthepie (the demand for her sofa notwithstanding). Rather, she was articulating a triangulation between, on the one hand, the loss of her body, the very dereliction of her corporeal integrity, what Hortense Spillers charts as the transition from being a being to becoming a “being for the captor” (206), the drama of value (the stage upon which surplus value is extracted from labor power through commodity production and sale); and on the other, the corporeal integrity that, once ripped from her body, fortified and extended the corporeal integrity of everyone else on the street. She gave birth to the commodity and to the Human, yet shehadneithersubjectivitynorasofatoshowforit. In her eyes, theworld—andnotitsmyriaddiscriminatorypractices,buttheworlditself—wasunethical. And yet, theworldpassesbyherwithouttheslightestinclinationtostopanddisabuseherofherclaim. Instead, it calls her “crazy.” And to what does the world attribute the Native American man’s insanity? “He’s crazy if he thinks he’s getting any money out of us”? Surely, that doesn’t make him crazy. Rather itissimplyanindicationthathedoesnothaveabigenoughgun.Whatarewetomakeofaworldthatrespondstothemostlucidenunciationofethicswithviolence?What are the foundational questions of the ethico-political? Why are these questions so scandalous that they are rarely posed politically, intellectually, and cinematically—unless they are posed obliquely and unconsciously, as if by accident? Return Turtle Island to the “Savage.” RepairthedemolishedsubjectivityoftheSlave. Twosimplesentences,thirteensimplewords,andthestructureofU.S.(andperhapsglobal)antagonismswouldbedismantled.An “ethicalmodernity” wouldnolongersoundlikeanoxymoron. From there wecouldbusyourselveswithimportantconflictsthathavebeenpromotedtothelevelofantagonisms:classstruggle,genderconflict,immigrantsrights. When pared down to thirteen words and two sentences, onecannotbutwonderwhyquestionsthatgototheheartoftheethico-political,questionsofpoliticalontology,aresounspeakableinintellectualmeditations,politicalbroadsides, and even socially and politically engaged feature films. Clearly they can be spoken, even a child could speak those lines, so they would pose no problem for a scholar, an activist, or a filmmaker. And yet, what is also clear—if the filmographies of socially and politically engaged directors, the archiveofprogressivescholars,andtheplethoraofLeft-wingbroadsidesareanythingtogoby—isthatwhatcansoeasilybespokenisnow(fivehundredyearsandtwohundredfiftymillionSettlers/Masterson)soubiquitouslyunspokenthatthesetwosimplesentences,thesethirteenwordsnotonlyrendertheirspeaker “crazy” butbecomethemselvesimpossibletoimagine. Soon it will be forty years since radical politics, Left-leaning scholarship, and socially engaged feature films began to speak the unspeakable. In the 1960s and early 1970s thequestionsaskedbyradicalpoliticsandscholarshipwerenot “ShouldtheU.S.beoverthrown?” oreven “Woulditbeoverthrown?” butratherwhenandhow—and, for some, what—wouldcomeinitswake.ThosesteadfastintheirconvictionthatthereremainedadiscernablequantumofethicsintheU.S.writlarge (and here I am speaking of everyone from Martin Luther King, Jr., prior to his 1968 shift, to the Tom Hayden wing of SDS, to the Julian Bond and Marion Barry faction of SNCC, to Bobbie Kennedy Democrats) wereaccountable, in their rhetorical machinations, totheparadigmaticzeitgeistoftheBlackPanthers,theAmericanIndianMovement,andtheWeatherUnderground.Radicalsandprogressivescouldderide,reject,orchastisearmedstrugglemercilesslyandcavalierlywithrespecttotacticsandthepossibilityof “success,” buttheycouldnotdismissrevolution-as-ethicbecausetheycouldnotmakeaconvincingcase—by way of a paradigmatic analysis—thattheU.S.wasanethicalformationandstillhopetomaintaincredibilityasradicalsandprogressives. EvenBobbyKennedy (a U.S. attorney general and presidential candidate) musedthatthelawanditsenforcershadnoethicalstandinginthepresenceofBlacks.1 One could (and many did) acknowledge America’s strength and power. Thisseldom, however, rosetothelevelofanethicalassessment,butratherremainedanassessmentoftheso-called “balanceofforces.” The political discourse of Blacks, and to a lesser extent Indians, circulated too widely to credibly wed the U.S. and ethics. The raw force of COINTELPRO put an end to this trajectory toward a possible hegemony of ethical accountability. Consequently, thepowerofBlacknessandRednesstoposethequestion—andthepowertoposethequestionisthegreatestpowerofall—retreatedasdidWhiteradicalsandprogressiveswho “retired” fromstruggle.Thequestion’secholiesburiedinthegravesofyoungBlackPanthers,AIMWarriors,andBlackLiberationArmysoldiers,orinprisoncellswheresomanyofthemhavebeenrotting (some in solitary confinement) forten,twenty,thirtyyears,andatthegatesoftheacademywherethe “crazies” shoutatpassers-by.Gonearenotonlytheyoungandvibrantvoicesthataffectedaseismicshiftonthepoliticallandscape,butalsotheintellectualprotocolsofinquiry,andwiththem a spate of feature films that became authorized, if not by an unabashed revolutionary polemic, then certainly by arevolutionaryzeitgeist. Isitstillpossibleforadreamofunfetteredethics,adreamoftheSettlementandtheSlaveestate’sdestruction,tomanifestitself at the ethical core of cinematic discourse, whenthisdreamisnolongeraconstituentelementofpoliticaldiscourse in the streets nor of intellectual discourse in the academy? The answer is “no” in the sense that, as history has shown, what cannot be articulated as political discourse in the streets is doubly foreclosed upon in screenplays and in scholarly prose; but “yes” in the sense that in eventhemosttaciturnhistoricalmomentssuchasours,thegrammarofBlackandRedsufferingbreaksinonthisforeclosure, albeit like the somatic compliance of hysterical symptoms—it registers in both cinema and scholarship as symptoms of awareness of the structural antagonisms. Between 1967 and 1980, we could think cinematically and intellectually of Blackness and Redness as having the coherence of full-blown discourses. But from 1980 to the present, BlacknessandRednessmanifestsonlyintherebarof cinematic and intellectual(political)discourse, that is, asunspokengrammars. Thisgrammarcanbediscernedinthecinematic strategies (lighting, camera angles, image composition, and acoustic strategies/design), even whenthescriptlaborsforthespectatortoimaginesocialturmoilthroughtherubricofconflict(thatis,arubricofproblemsthatcanbeposedandconceptuallysolved)asopposedtotherubricofantagonism(anirreconcilablestrugglebetweenentities,orpositionalities,theresolutionofwhichisnotdialecticalbutentailstheobliterationofoneofthepositions). In other words, even when films narrate a story in which Blacks or Indians are beleaguered with problems that the script insists are conceptually coherent (usually having to do with poverty or the absence of “family values”), the non-narrative, or cinematic, strategies of the film often disrupt this coherence by posing the irreconcilable questions of Red and Black political ontology—or non-ontology. Thegrammarofantagonismbreaksinonthemendacityofconflict. Semiotics and linguistics teach us that when we speak, our grammar goes unspoken. Our grammar is assumed. It is the structure through which the labor of speech is possible. Likewise, thegrammarofpoliticalethics—the grammar of assumptions regardingtheontologyofsuffering—whichunderwrite Film Theory and politicaldiscourse (in this book, discourse elaborated in direct relation to radical action), and which underwrite cinematic speech (in this book, Red, White, and Black films from the mid-1960s to the present) isalsounspoken. This notwithstanding, film theory, politicaldiscourse, and cinema assumeanontologicalgrammar,astructureofsuffering. And thestructureofsuffering which film theory, political discourse, and cinema assume crowdsoutotherstructuresofsuffering,regardlessofthesentimentofthefilmorthespiritofunitymobilizedbythepoliticaldiscourseinquestion. To put a finer point on it, structuresofontologicalsufferingstandinantagonistic,ratherthenconflictual,relationtooneanother (despite the fact that antagonists themselves may not be aware of the ontological positionality from which they speak). Though this is perhaps the most controversial and out-of-step claim of this book, it is, nonetheless, the foundation of the close reading of feature films and political theory that follows.
Blackness is always already hyper visible – the affirmative misses the point – some bodies will never have the access to anonymity because of the black aesthetic – the affirmative allows for whiteness to remain invisible and renders blackness as an attractor to violence
Yancy 13, George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at McAnulty College who focuses primarily on issues of social justice, “Walking While Black in the ‘White Gaze’” http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/walking-while-black-in-the-white-gaze/?_r=0, NN
My point here is to say that the white gaze is global and historically mobile. And its origins, while from Europe, are deeply seated in the making of America.∂ Black bodies in America continue to be reduced to their surfaces and to stereotypes that are constricting and false, that often force those black bodies to move through social spaces in ways that put white people at ease. We fear that our black bodies incite an accusation. We move in ways that help us to survive the procrustean gazes of white people. We dread that those who see us might feel the irrational fear to stand their ground rather than “finding common ground,” a reference that was made by Bernice King as she spoke about the legacy of her father at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.∂ The white gaze is also hegemonic, historically grounded in material relations of white power: it was deemed disrespectful for a black person to violate the white gaze by looking directly into the eyes of someone white. The white gaze is also ethically solipsistic: within it only whites have the capacity of making valid moral judgments.∂ Even with the unprecedented White House briefing, our national discourse regarding Trayvon Martin and questions of race have failed to produce a critical and historically conscious discourse that sheds light on what it means to be black in an anti-black America. If historical precedent says anything, this failure will only continue. Trayvon Martin, like so many black boys and men, was under surveillance (etymologically, “to keep watch”). Little did he know that on Feb. 26, 2012, that he would enter a space of social control and bodily policing, a kind of Benthamian panoptic nightmare that would truncate his being as suspicious; a space where he was, paradoxically, both invisible and yet hypervisible.∂ “I am invisible, understand, simply because people [in this case white people] refuse to see me.” Trayvon was invisible to Zimmerman, he was not seen as the black child that he was, trying to make it back home with Skittles and an iced tea. He was not seen as having done nothing wrong, as one who dreams and hopes.∂ As black, Trayvon was already known and rendered invisible. His childhood and humanity were already criminalized as part of a white racist narrative about black male bodies. Trayvon needed no introduction: “Look, the black; the criminal!”
Blackness operates on an ontological register – it is impossible to make blackness acceptable within civil society
Yancy 08, George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at McAnulty College who focuses primarily on issues of social justice, “Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race “ https://books.google.com/books?id=VQAfAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=%22On+the+elevator,+my+Black+body+is+ontologically+mapped,+its+coordinates+lead+to+that+which+is+always+immediately%22&source=bl&ots=11lq3QEyJG&sig=m116eKlVHrBtPWmV9AOYb9v0fZU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAGoVChMI7u-OluGUxgIVhz2MCh0F3gf2#v=onepage&q=%22On%20the%20elevator%2C%20my%20Black%20body%20is%20ontologically%20mapped%2C%20its%20coordinates%20lead%20to%20that%20which%20is%20always%20immediately%22&f=false, NN
On the elevator, my Black body is ontologically mapped, its cordinates lead to that which is always immediately visible: the Black surface. The point here is that the Black body in relation to the white gam appears in the form of a sheer exteriority, implying that the Black body "shows up," makes itself known M terms of its Black surface. There is only the visible, the concrete, the seen, all there, all at once: a single Black thing, =individuated, threatening, ominous, Black. The white woman thinks she takes no part in this construction: she acts the name of the serious... She apparently fails to see how he identity is shot through in terms of how she construe. me. This failure is to be expected given how white privilege renders invisible, indeed, militates against the recognition of various whitely ways of being-in-the-world. Sullivan notes that the 'habits of white privilege do not merely go noticed. They actively thwart the process of conscious reflation on them, which allows them to seem non-existent even as they continue to function..l.
Narrow reforms like the Aff are insufficient to solve racism. The plan just re-assures white, middle class America. That’ll divide and hamper grassroots movements that challenge Laws supporting the surveillance state
Kumar & Kundnani ‘15
Deepa Kumar is an associate professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire (Haymarket Books, 2012). Arun Kundnani is research fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. He is a writer and activist, and a professor at NYU. “Race, surveillance, and empire” – International Socialist Review - Issue #96 – Spring - http://isreview.org/issue/96/race-surveillance-and-empire
Today, we are once again in a period of revelation, concern, and debate on national security surveillance.Yet if real change is to be brought about, the racial history of surveillance will need to be fully confronted—or opposition to surveillance will once again be easily defeated by racial security narratives. The significance of the Snowden leaks is that they have laid out the depth of the NSA’s mass surveillance with the kind of proof that only an insider can have. The result has been a generalized level of alarmas people have become aware of how intrusive surveillance is in our society, but that alarm remains constrained within a public debatethat is highly abstract, legalistic, and centered on the privacy rights of the white middle class.On the one hand, most civil liberties advocates are focused on the technical detailsof potentiallegal reforms and new oversight mechanisms to safeguard privacy.Such initiatives are likely to bring little changebecause they fail to confront the racist and imperialist core of the surveillance system. On the other hand, most technologists believe the problem of government surveillance can be fixed simply by using better encryption tools. While encryption tools are useful in increasing the resources that a government agency would need to monitor an individual, they do nothing to unravel the larger surveillance apparatus. Meanwhile, executives of US tech corporations express concerns about loss of sales to foreign customers concerned about the privacy of data. In Washington and Silicon Valley, what should be a debate about basic political freedoms is simply a question of corporate profits.6 Another and perhaps deeper problem is the use of images of state surveillance that do not adequately fit the current situation—such as George Orwell’s discussion of totalitarian surveillance. Edward Snowden himself remarked that Orwell warned us of the dangers of the type of government surveillance we face today.70 Reference to Orwell’s 1984 has been widespread in the current debate; indeed, sales of the book were said to have soared following Snowden’s revelations.71 The argument that digital surveillance is a new form of Big Brother is, on one level, supported by the evidence. For those in certain targeted groups—Muslims, left-wing campaigners, radical journalists—state surveillance certainly looks Orwellian. But this level of scrutiny is not faced by the general public. The picture of surveillance today is therefore quite different from the classic images of surveillance that we find in Orwell’s 1984, which assumes an undifferentiated mass population subject to government control. What we have instead today in the United States is total surveillance, not on everyone, but on very specific groups of people, defined by their race, religion, or political ideology: people that NSA officials refer to as the“bad guys.” In March 2014, Rick Ledgett, deputy director of the NSA, told an audience:“Contrary to some of the stuff that’s been printed, we don’t sit there and grind out metadata profiles of average people.If you’re not connected toone of those valid intelligence targets, you are not of interest to us.”72 In the national security world,“connected to”can be the basis for targeting a whole racialor political community so, even assuming the accuracy of this comment, it points to the ways that national security surveillance can draw entire communities into its web, while reassuring “average people”(code for the normative white middle class) that they are not to be troubled. In the eyes of the national security state, this average person must also express no political views critical of the status quo. Better oversight of the sprawling national security apparatus and greater use of encryption in digital communication should be welcomed. But by themselves these are likely to do little more than reassure technologists, while racialized populations and political dissenters continue to experience massive surveillance. This is why the most effective challenges to the national security state have come not from legal reformersor technologistsbut from grassroots campaigning by the racialized groups most affected. In New York, the campaign against the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims has drawn its strength from building allianceswith other groups affected by racial profiling: Latinos and Blacks who suffer from hugely disproportionate rates of stop and frisk. In California’s Bay Area, a campaign against a Department of Homeland Security-funded Domain Awareness Center was successful because various constituencies were able to unite on the issue, including homeless people, the poor, Muslims, and Blacks. Similarly, a demographics unit planned by the Los Angeles Police Department, which would have profiled communities on the basis of race and religion, was shut down after a campaign that united various groups defined by race and class. The lesson here is that, while the national security state aims to create fear and to divide people, activists canorganize and build alliances across race lines to overcome that fear. To the extent that the national security state has targeted Occupy, the antiwar movement, environmental rights activists, radical journalists and campaigners, and whistleblowers, these groups have gravitated towards opposition to the national security state. But understanding the centrality of race and empire to national security surveillance means finding a basis for unity across different groups who experience similar kinds of policing: Muslim,Latino/a, Asian, Black, and white dissidents and radicals. It is on such a basis that we can see the beginnings of an effective multiracial opposition to the surveillance state and empire.
Racial equality under the law is not only impossible but the attempts to re-create and shift the puzzle pieces of civil society mean slavery is reinvented in different ways
Woan11, Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Law in the Graduate School of Binghamton University, “The value of resistance in a permanently white, civil society,” http://gradworks.umi.com/14/96/1496586.html NN
Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton, in then influential Black Power, describe reformist strategies as "playing ball" with the white man. They argue that reform plays the white man's game in order to gain rights, i.e. appeal to a white supremacist government that is the precise agent responsible for the original harms they are seeking to alleviate.9 While this may very well result in the granting of new rights previously denied, it maintains a hierarchical system between whites and nonwhites, since the latter will have to continue to appeal to the former to ask for rights they never should have been denied in the first place. This places the former in a position of power to accept or deny such requests. Thus, in Carmichael and Hamilton's view, attempting to resist white supremacy by working within white supremacist institutions maintains a dangerous system of power relations that lock in place the hierarchy between whites and nonwhites. / It is unfortunate enough that members of minority groups face public and private racial discrimination. It is worse, however, to place the burden of combating this discrimination on them. What Carmichael and Hamilton aptly point out is that the hierarchy between races mentioned above is what is responsible for this undue burden. There is not only the constant physical struggle of protesting, writing letters, and being dragged through litigation that can often get expensive, but there is the psychological struggle as well. Why am I not worthy of equal protection under the law? Why is it that others do not even notice the disparate impact of the law? Or, even worse, why is it that those who do notice, seem to not care? / What inevitably comes with these types of reformist strategies is an emotional struggle, namely, an inferiority complex that makes the victimized individual stop and wonder — who put the white man in charge of my body? Appeals to the federal government to repeal discriminatory acts that deny minorities rights becomes analogous to asking whites to eliminate such policies and to allow others access to the same rights they enjoy every day. The racial state becomes in charge of what nonwhites can and cannot do, and when nonwhites continue to go to whites asking them to pass certain policies, nonwhites further legitimate this system of power relations. It is difficult to see how true equality can be achieved wider such a system. / B. Missing the Root Cause: The Racial State / Omi and Winant further support this claim and explain that it is not merely individual policies passed by the United States federal government that are racist, but that racial oppression is a structure of the government itself.10 They describe this structure as the "racial state" to show that the state does not merely support racism, but rather, it supports the concept of race itself. As will be discussed later in this paper, Omi and Winant explain how the state is the agent that has defined race, and that this definition has evolved over time, to maintain the concept of race and support racism. / Given the existence of the racial state, Omi and Winant critique reformist strategies as falling short of achieving normative goals of eliminating racism since the reforms merely get re-equilibriated. A look at the history of racial victories in the United States further supports this critique. Racial victories for one minority were often made possible only with the entrapment of another racial minority. For example, while many celebrate the racial victory of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, many fail to see this happened the same year as Operation Wetback, which shifted the racial discrimination to a different population, removing close to one million illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans, from the United States.11 Moreover, soon after the ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments granting citizenship and suffrage to Blacks. Congress chose to deny citizenship to Chinese immigrants.12 In 1941, shortly after the establishment of the Committee on Fair Employment Practices permitted Blacks into defense industries, Japanese Americans were taken from their homes and sent off to internment camps. Pei-te Lien argues that all of these "coincidences" support critiques of reformist strategies that merely target individual policies, since without challenging the racial state as a whole, even the elimination of these individual policies will fail to eliminate racism, as they will simply replicate themselves or shift elsewhere and target racial minorities in different ways.14 / C. Separatist Movements / This helps to explain why political activists began adopting other more revolutionary strategies. Contrary to Martin Luther King Jr. and many of his followers during the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement emerged and began advocating for more separatist strategies that rejected making reformist appeals to the United States federal government. In his speech "The Ballot or the Bullet," Malcolm X argued: / When you take your case to Washington D.C., you're taking it to the criminal who's responsible: it's like miming from the wolf to the fox. They're all in cahoots together. They all work political chicanery and make you look like a chump before the eyes of the world. Here you are walking around in America, getting ready to be drafted and sent abroad, like a tin soldier, and when you get over there, people ask you what you are fighting for, and you have to stick your tongue in your cheek. No, take Uncle Sam to court, take him before the world. / Critics of reformist strategies, such as Malcolm X, understood the United States as being inherently racial and thus incapable of reform. They use the "coincidences" listed above as evidence to support this claim. They view the United States federal government as a racial state that will merely continue to define race in new and more modernized ways, ensuring the permanence of racism with the passage of new policies supporting these definitions. This is why they believe reformists are wrong to attack individual policies, rather than the racial state itself. / For example, the legal enforcement of a racially discriminatory housing covenant may have been justified due to a racist belief that members of the minority race restricted from acquiring title within that neighborhood is inferior to the Caucasian race. More specifically, one might support said covenant because one believes the inferiority of that minority race and the potential they might become your neighbor will result in a decrease in the fair market value of your property. After vigorous ongoing protests from civil rights activists, that particular law enforcing those covenants might get repealed. However, the reason for the repeal of that law might arise not from an ethical epiphany, but rather an economic rationale in which the homeowner is shown his property value will remain unaffected, or perhaps even increase. Thus, that particular act may get repealed, but the policymakers responsible for its original draft will still be in power, and will maintain the same beliefs that motivated that piece of legislation in the first place. Because there has been no ethical realization of the injustice in their conduct, the chances remain high that they will construct new, apparently different but equally discriminatory policies that will force activists to join forces once again and continue the same fight. / This is why it is not the individual policies, but the government itself that is the "preeminent site of racial conflict."17 Omi and Winant's proposal of the "racial state" views the government as "inherently racial," meaning it does not simply intervene in racial conflicts, but it is the locus of racial conflict.18 In addition to structuring conceptions of race, the government in the United States is in and of itself racially structured.19 State policies govern racial politics, heavily influencing the public on how race should be viewed. The ways in which it does so changes over time, often taking on a more invisible nature. For example, Omi and Winant describe the racial state as treating race in different ways throughout different periods of time, first as a biologically based essence, and then as an ideology, etc. These policies are followed by racial remedies offered by government institutions, in response to political pressures and in accordance to these different treatments of race, varying in degree depending on the magnitude of the threats those pressures pose to the order of society. Notable achievements during the Civil Rights Movement have served as a double-edged sword. While the reformist strategies utilized during that period helped make certain advances possible, it also drove other more overt expressions of racism underground. These more invisible instantiations of racial injustice are far more difficult to identify than its previously more explicit forms. Praising these victories risks giving off the illusion that the fight is over and that racism is a description of the past. / For example, the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment gave off the illusion that all citizens thereafter had equal access to the right to vote. Those who supported its ratification now felt entitled to the moral credentials necessary to legitimize their ability to express racially prejudiced attitudes.21 For example, voter turnout today remains relatively low for Asian-Americans, and many blame this on cultural differences between Asians and Americans.22 Asian-Americans are labeled as apathetic in the political community and they themselves have been attributed the blame for relatively low representation of Asian-Americans in the government today.23 This however, ignores the way in which other more invisible practices serve to obstruct Asian-Americans from being able to exercise their right to vote. / Research by the United States Election Assistance Commission by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, for example, indicates that restrictive voter identification requirements have effectively served to disenfranchise Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) from voting.24 In the 2004 election, researchers found APIs in states where voters were required to present proper identification at the polls were 8.5% less likely to vote.25 This study confirmed that voter ID requirements prevented a large number of APIs from voting.26 / Voter suppression tactics also play a large role in the disenfranchisement of APIs. According to a Voter Intimidation and Vote Suppression briefing paper by Demos, a national public policy center, an estimated 50 Asian Americans were selectively challenged at the polls in Alabama during August of 2004, as being ineligible to vote due to insufficient English-speaking skills.27 Many states have allowed this selective challenging of voters to take place at the polls, resulting in a feeling of fear, intimidation, and embarrassment among APIs, driving them away from the polls. / The danger in treasuring monumental victories such as the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment becomes apparent when people interpret this ratification as an indication that voting discrimination is no longer a problem, and that if the voter turnout of Asian-Americans is consistently low, it must be because they are politically apathetic or disinterested in American ideals. Because they originally supported the ratification of the amendment, whites can now feel as if they have the moral credentials to make conclusions such as the cultural differences rationale. The same can be seen after courts ordered the desegregation of public schools and after affirmative action programs became more widespread. People began assuming African-Americans now had an equal opportunity for education and that if they did not succeed, it must be a reflection of their intelligence or work-ethic, failing to see the ways the problem has not been solved, but rather disguised itself in other costumes, such as tracking programs in schools or teachers who view their presence as merely "affirmative action babies" and expect them to fail. / One might ask, then, why can we not change the racial state one policy at a time? Perhaps one could first work to gain the right to vote, and then move on to combat discriminatory identification requirements and political scare tactics. It would not seem entirely implausible to assume that the success of individual piecemeal reforms within the government could eventually result in a transformation of the institution itself. However, simply eliminating discriminatory policies is insufficient for an overhaul of a racial institution. / Understanding the motivating reasons for the elimination of individual racist policies is a critical factor in determining the success of a movement. While one justification for passing the Fifteenth Amendment might consist of arguments in favor of equality and exposing racial injustice, another justification might involve maintaining order and minimizing disruption, which is important to the federal government and its ability to run smoothly. Thus, the government often seeks out ways to normalize society through eliminating disruptions to preserve order. When those being denied certain rights grow significantly discontent, they rebel and become disruptions to the functioning of white, civil society. This can take the form of civil disobedience, such as protests, peaceful demonstrations, petitions, letters to the government, etc., or more revolutionary measures, such as damaging government offices or violently harassing officials to acknowledge the injustices and change policy. / All of these measures, however peaceful or violent, disrupt society. A town cannot run smoothly if protesters are filling up the streets or blocking frequently-used road paths, and most certainly cannot run smoothly if town halls are being lit on fire. Thus, in order to return to the desired homeostasis, those in power may often compromise and offer to rectify the situation at hand by granting rights to individuals through changes in legislation in order to appease them and "eliminate" the disruption (the protests, demonstrations, etc.). The lack of effort made towards protecting these rights bolsters Bell's argument that these reforms serve more of a symbolic value rather than functional. If still operating under the racial state, these piecemeal reforms will fail to solve the original racial injustices in the long term, as they will only succeed in establishing a new unstable equilibrium, only to be followed with the replication of new racial problems.28 These new problems will once again create resentment, generate protest, and the cycle will begin to replicate itself, ensuring the permanence of racism. Omi and Winant term this cycle of continuous disruption and restoration of order as the trajectory of racial politics.29 This trajectory supports the treatment of racism as inevitable since even if the racial state mitigates racial disruption over a particular policy and "restores order," another policy based off a new definition of race will emerge triggering another racial disruption, continuing this cycle of racial politics
The only option for the slave is to reclaim its own death through self-destruction – the black must become the suicide bomber of civil society and use itself as a weapon to break down white structures – it is the most powerful form of necropower to remain incoherent to the liberal interpretations of the sovereign
Sexton 10, Jared Sexton, professor at UC Irvine, “People-of-Color-Blindness: Notes on the Afterlife of Slavery” NN
The final object of contemplation in Mbembe’s rewriting of Agam- ben’s rewriting of Foucault’s biopolitics is the fin de siècle figure of resis- tance to the colonial occupation of Palestine: the (presumptively male) suicide bomber. The slave, “able to demonstrate the protean capabilities of the human bond through music and the very body that was supposedly possessed by another,” is thus contrasted subtly with the colonized native, whose “body is transformed into a weapon, not in a metaphorical sense but in a truly ballistic sense” — a cultural politics in lieu of an armed struggle in which “to large extent, resistance and self-destruction are synonymous.”35 Resistance to slavery in this account is self-preservative and forged by way of a demonstration of the capabilities of the human bond, whereas resis- tance to colonial occupation is self-destructive and consists in a demonstra- tion of the failure of the human bond, the limits of its protean capabilities. One could object, in an empiricist vein, that the slave too resists in ways that are quite nearly as self-destructive as an improvised explosive device and that the colonial subject too resists through the creation and perfor- mance of music and the stylization of the body, but that would be to miss the symptomatic value of Mbembe’s theorization.¶ Mbembe describes suicide bombing as being organized by “two apparently irreconcilable logics,” “the logic of martyrdom and the logic of survival,” and it is the express purpose of the rubric of necropolitics to meditate upon this unlikely logical convergence.36 However, there is a discrepancy at the heart of the enterprise. Rightly so, the theorization of necropolitics as a friendly critique of Agamben’s notion of bare life involves an excursus on certain “repressed topographies of cruelty,” including, first of all, slavery, in which “the lines between resistance and suicide, sacri- fice and redemption, martyrdom and freedom become blurred.”37 Yet, as noted, the logic of resistance-as-suicide-as-sacrifice-as-martyrdom is for Mbembe epitomized by the presumptively male suicide bomber at war with colonial occupation, “the most accomplished form of necropower” in the contemporary world, rather than Hartman’s resistant female slave, Celia, engaged in close-quarters combat with the sexual economy of slave society,¶ “the emblematic and paradoxical figure of the state of exception.”38 Why the unannounced transposition? Because the restricted notion of homo sacer — alongside the related notions of bare life and the state of exception— is being used in confusion to account for the effects of the biopolitics of race too generally. The homo sacer, “divested of political status and reduced to bare life,” is distinguished not by her vulnerability to a specific form or degree of state-sanctioned violence but by her social proscription from the honor of sacrifice.39 The homo sacer is banned from the witness-bearing function of martyrdom (from the ancient Greek martys, “witness”). Her suffering is therefore imperceptible or illegible as a rule. It is against the law to recognize her sovereignty or self-possession.