Wilderson ‘3 [Frank Wilderson revolutionary, “The Vengeance of Vertigo: Aphasia and Abjection in the Political Trials of Black Insurgents,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/79282989/Wilderson-the-Vengeance-of-Vertigo >:]
Racism disproportionately affects people of color – maximizing happiness only applies to white life
Peter 7, Peter is a staff writer for On Philosophy, an online ethics forum, “Utilitarianism Is Unjust,” https://onphilosophy.wordpress.com/2007/09/08/utilitarianism-is-unjust/, NN
A system is unjust when it treats people differently without a good reason for this different treatment. Obviously what counts as a good reason will be debatable, but to get started let us consider only reasons that all parties can understand as good reasons. Racism then is unjust because there is no good reason behind the unequal treatment given to the different races. Of course the racist does have a justification for their bias, they will claim that the other races are inferior. But this is not a reason that both parties will understand, while people of the same race as the racist may agree with him, few members of the races being oppressed will consider themselves naturally inferior. And the racist lacks objectively sound evidence that could in principle convince everyone of that judgment. On the other hand the fact that people receive different treatment according to their wealth in a capitalist system is not necessarily unfair. The justification for this unfair treatment is that the wealthy can spend more money, and hence catering to their needs receives more generous compensation. Thus pricing a good out of someone’s ability to purchase it isn’t unjust, because there is an objective fact of the matter that they simply can’t give as much to you for it as others may be able to. Of course this doesn’t mean that there may not be a good reason to moderate capitalism as well, the poor may argue that principle X implies that they should receive some special treatment. But this is not a rejection of the reasons behind the unequal treatment resulting from a difference in wealth, and hence such unequal treatment is not unjust.∂ According to this principle utilitarianism is unjust because it treats people differently based on their capacity for happiness; although utilitarians can appeal to their principles to justify this different treatment, so can racists, and like the racist the utilitarian arguments are not based on objective facts. But before we get into the details allow me to give examples of some groups of people who would be treated unfairly in a purely utilitarian system. The first are those who have no capacity for happiness or unhappiness. There are rare people born without this ability, and we can easily imagine possible species (such as the Vulcans from Star Trek) or conscious computers (such as Data, also from Star Trek) who lack it as well. Utilitarianism cares only about maximizing happiness or pleasure, and so these people effectively wouldn’t count; their treatment would be invisible to the system. Since we can’t make the Vulcans unhappy we would be free to exploit them, turn them into slaves, or whatever else would make us happy. And since we can’t make them happy there is no reason for the system to give them any of the rights or privileges that make us happy. Since they aren’t made unhappy by this treatment the total amount of happiness may be increased, and hence utilitarianism as a system would endorse it. Also treated unfairly are people who are in a permanent state of unhappiness. It isn’t inconceivable that someone might have a condition that prevents them from being happy, and, although many such people might choose to end their lives, there would probably be some who would still choose life. A utilitarian system would take that choice away from them, and to execute them immediately, since they will always be unhappy (negative happiness) eliminating them would increase the total amount of happiness.∂ If such actions could be considered just it would only be if we could somehow convince these people that abusing them on the basis of their capacity for happiness is reasonable, which means convincing them of the validity of utilitarianism. This may be impossible, and not just because utilitarianism advocates acting against their interests. Consider an alien species who is rational, and has emotions, but whose emotions don’t correspond to human emotions. While we are naturally motivated to try to be as happy as possible these aliens are naturally motivated to bring the strength of their Zeb and Geb emotions into balance. Could we convince these aliens that maximizing happiness is reason for them to be treated differently? I am sure that we could make them understand that we are motivated by happiness, and that we wish to maximize it. But they won’t see that as a good reason to let themselves be abused, just as we don’t see another’s desire to steal as good reason to let them steal. No, we will reply that we have interests of our own that stealing from us hurts, and there is no good reason to favor the desire to steal over the desire to be stolen from, and every reason to do the opposite. Similarly, the aliens will reply to us that maximizing total happiness is also against their interests, and that they can’t see a reason to systematically favor happiness over a balance of Zeb and Geb.∂ Moreover the aliens will wonder how happiness, a quirk of our physiological construction, can be invoked as an objective reason to treat people differently. Certainly our own happiness may be taken into account when we act, but it is irrational to act on the basis of other people’s happiness because we have no direct access to it. If someone comes up to us an tells us that they are extremely unhappy, but that a donation of $10 can make then happy again does this supposed suffering give us a reasons to give them money? Of course they could be lying, but they could be telling the truth as well, and since happiness is basically internal we aren’t in much of a position to tell the difference. And because happiness is internal there is nothing stopping us from distorting our judgments of it to justify all kinds of biases. For example, the racist can argue that other races have a diminished capacity for happiness, and that this justifies mistreating them to serve our own needs, and no one can disprove him. Thus it is reasonable to insist that actions be justified by an appeal to objectively measurable consequences that all parties can have a reason to endorse when it comes to creating a system for everyone to live under. And maximizing happiness isn’t among these.
Utility concerns and democratic happiness theory reify power of structures because whites are the only ones thought of as capable to have happiness
Powell 93, Thomas Powell is a prominent American author who writes books on philosophy and empire, “The Persistence of Racism in America,” https://books.google.com/books?id=9IBDlUpIB2sC&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118&dq=utilitarianism+and+racism&source=bl&ots=-TUgXs8HJl&sig=_IONzkbuR53K8zyYpv96LvkFOys&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8PWGVevEN8jk-AHQxoCICg&ved=0CF4Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=utilitarianism%20and%20racism&f=false, NN
In the nineteenth century, as both democracy and racism took shape, utilitarian thinking dominated the English-speaking world. The utility principle became the basis for democratic racism.Its goal became the greatest good of the greatest number of people like me, with habits, manners, attitudes and characteristics like mine. Romanticism accentuated differences, categorical and individual, and glorified the self-reliance and self-assertion that capitalism had already institutionalized. ∂ The universalist version of utilitarian thought never really captured America's allegiance, even at the peak of Utilitarianism as presented by John Stuart Mill. The idea of the greatest good of the greatest number seemed to require a concession that everyone's good was equivalent to everyone else's, which Americans found difficult to make, to say the least. But an ingenious adaptation of the principle was already available, combining egoistic and universal utilitarianism in capitalist fashion by assuming that to serve oneself is to serve the general welfare. After all, I can't be sure what will add to the aggregate happiness or good of the society in a general way, but I can be sure that if I increase my own happiness and those whose happiness contributes to mine, there ismore happiness among the greatest number that includes me. What had social utility was what worked for the happiness of most people; and most people were white. Cautioned most notably by James Madison in The Federalist, especially number ten, by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America, and by John C. Calhoun in his Disquisition and Discourse, American leaders generally took measures to prevent "tyranny of the majority." Our best political thinkers always realized that democracy in America meant broadly implementing the will of the majority, while at the same time protecting the rights of those who were not part of the majority. In the matter of race dispositions, however, tyranny of the majority flourished, strengthened by capitalism, utilitarianism, simplistic notions of democracy, and romanticism, all burgeoning in the nineteenth century, even as scientific racism gained momentum. The divergent and conflicting interests of whites have always determined how blacks were treated, and what rationalizations were needed to justify that treatment. After the Civil War, as constitutional and economic conflicts were agonizingly settled, reconciliation and reunification proceeded on the basis of tacit acceptance of racism.3 been before the development of full-blown scientific racism late in the century, the North generally and substantially shared Southern ideas of race. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, embraced popular racist views, despite his insistence on thinking for oneself. In fact, Emerson's special eloquence in making popular dispositions sound lofty or profound was devastating. The chief formulator of Transcendentalism, New England's moralistic idealism, was Theodore Parker. He wrote that Anglo-Saxons were the best of the Teutonic race, the best of the best, endowed with an "instinct for progress." Albeit under tremendous political pressure, Abraham Lincoln made explicitly racist statements in 1858, referring to a permanent "physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political (Apra.," In 1861 he was prepared to sacrifice blacks' freedom permanently if that would bring about regional reconciliation. Lincoln's views a a, dispositions represented quite well those of most Americans in the North. He disliked slavery and found it an embarrassment and a disgrace, particularly since emancipation in the British Empire in 1833. However, his feelings of revulsion toward slavery did not lead him to egalitarian acceptance of its victims. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, racism derived respectability from legal and Populist-democratic points of view, as well as from scientific arguments and theories of social science. It continued to derive 'righteous" feelings from the spirit of Redemption -- redeeming the South from the claimed outrages of Reconstruction and outside interference. Outside the South, racism gathered force from the dispositions associated with immigration restriction, especially "Anglo-Saxonism." By the end of the century, when white supremacists were instituting the most rigid segregation by law, scientific racism was so pervasive that vitriolic racist views found a receptive national audience, through even the most enlightened and liberal periodicals., As Thomas P. Bailey observed, the "Southern Way" was close to being the "American Way." Racism was democratic in the simplest sense: it had overwhelming popular acceptance and support. Preventing blacks from voting ensured that no white faction or party could use them against its white opposition. Their disfranchisement was progressive, proceeding in the name of liberalism, good government, and reform. White solidarity, sometimes exaggerated, nonetheless underlay much of Southern Progressivism in particular. Later, as blacks moved north Racism was democratic in the simplest sense: it had overwhelming popular acceptance and support. Preventing blacks from voting ensured that no white faction or party could use them against its white opposition. Their disfranchisement was progressive, proceeding in the name of liberalism, good government, and reform. White solidarity, sometimes exaggerated, nonetheless underlay much of Southern Progressivism in particular. Later, as blacks moved north in large numbers, the "problem" spread, and racist views intensified in the North (as witness events following World War One). But what underlies such views? ∂ To use Kovel's distinction, modern and particularly non-Southern racism is much more "aversive" than "dominative." In 1835, Tocqueville noted that ". .. the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it an intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known ...." Tocqueville was noting mainly the racism of aversion, avoidance of people who were looked down upon: the binary mind-set at work, emphasizing differences of we-they, us-them, and the analogous good-bad. It drew support from belief in superiority of abilities, "demonstrated" through equality of opportunity; from massive indoctrination in the ideology of capitalism; from traditions of individual responsibility, back to Arminianism, from an understanding of equality among equals in "virtue and talents"; from egoistic utilitarianism, from romanticism, and from democracy. In short, racism drew support from America's most cherished values and attitudes.