Our alternative is to enter a constant interrogation of the black positionality to render civil society incoherent
Wilderson, ’10 [2010, Frank B. Wilderson is an Associate Professor of African-American Studies at UC Irvine and has a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, “Red, White & Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms,”]
STRANGE AS it might seem, this book project began in South Africa. During the last years of apartheid I worked for revolutionary change in both an underground and above-ground capacity, for the Charterist Movement in general and the ANC in particular. During this period, I began to see how essential an unflinching paradigmatic analysis is to a movement dedicated to the complete overthrow of an existing order. The neoliberal compromisesthat the radical elements of the Chartist Movement made with the moderate elements were due, in large part, to our inability or unwillingness to hold the moderates' feet to the fire of a political agenda predicated on an unflinching paradigmatic analysis. Instead, we allowed our energies and points of attention to be displaced by and onto pragmatic considerations. Simply put, we abdicated the power to pose the question—and the power to pose the question is the greatest power of all. Elsewhere, I have written about this unfortunate turn of events (Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid), so I'll not rehearse the details here. Suffice it to say, this book germinated in the many political and academic discussions and debates that I was fortunate enough to be a part of at a historic moment and in a place where the word revolution was spoken in earnest, free of qualifiers and irony. For their past and ongoing ideas and interventions, I extend solidarity and appreciation to comrades Amanda Alexander, Franco Barchiesi, Teresa Barnes, Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai, Nigel Gibson, Steven Greenberg, Allan Horowitz, Bushy Kelebonye (deceased), Tefu Kelebonye, Ulrike Kistner, Kamogelo Lekubu, Andile Mngxitama, Prishani Naidoo, John Shai, and S'bu Zulu.
Burn it down
BURN IT DOWN YEEEEEEEEE
Farley 5, Anthony Paul is a Professor of Law at Boston College, “Perfecting Slavery,” http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=lsfp, NN
What is to be done? Two hundred years ago, when the slaves in Haiti rose up, they, of necessity, burned everything: They burned San Domingo flat so that at the end of the war it was a charred desert. Why do you burn everything? asked a French officer of a prisoner. We have a right to burn what we cultivate because a man has a right to dispose of his own labour, was the reply of this unknown anarchist. The slaves burned everything because everything was against them. Everything was against the slaves, the entire order that it was their lot to follow, the entire order in which they were positioned as worse than senseless things, every plantation, everything. “Leave nothing white behind you,” said Toussaint to those dedicated to the end of white-over black. “God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time.” The slaves burned everything, yes, but, unfortunately, they only burned everything in Haiti. Theirs was the greatest and most successful revolution in the history of the world but the failure of their fire to cross the waters was the great tragedy of the nineteenth century. At the dawn of the twentieth century, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, “The colorline belts the world.” Du Bois said that the problem of the twentieth century was the problem of the colorline. The problem, now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century is the problem of the colorline. The colorline continues to belt the world. Indeed, the slave power that is the United States now threatens an entire world with the death that it has become and so the slaves of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, those with nothing but their chains to lose, must, if they would be free, if they would escape slavery, win the entire world. We begin as children. We are called and we become our response to the call. Slaves are not called. What becomes of them? What becomes of the broken-hearted? The slaves are divided souls, they are brokenhearted, the slaves are split asunder by what they are called upon to become. The slaves are called upon to become objects but objecthood is not a calling. The slave, then, during its loneliest loneliness, is divided from itself. This is schizophrenia. The slaves are not called, or, rather, the slaves are called to not be. The slaves are called unfree but this the living can never be and so the slaves burst apart and die. The slaves begin as death, not as children, and death is not a beginning but an end.There is no progress and no exit from the undiscovered country of the slave, or so it seems.We are trained to think through a progress narrative, a grand narrative, the grandest narrative, that takes us up from slavery. There is no up from slavery. The progress from slavery to the end of history is the progress from white-over-black to white-over-black to white-overblack. The progress of slavery runs in the opposite direction of the past present future timeline. The slave only becomes the perfect slave at the end of the timeline, only under conditions of total juridical freedom. It is only under conditions of freedom, of bourgeois legality, that the slave can perfect itself as a slave by freely choosing to bow down before its master. The slave perfects itself as a slave by offering a prayer for equal rights. The system of marks is a plantation. The system of property is a plantation. The system of law is a plantation. These plantations, all part of the same system, hierarchy, produce white-overblack, white-over-black only, and that continually. The slave perfects itself as a slave through its prayers for equal rights. The plantation system will not commit suicide and the slave, as stated above, has knowing non-knowledge of this fact.The slave finds its way back from the undiscovered country only by burning down every plantation. When the slave prays for equal rights it makes the free choice to be dead, and it makes the free choice to not be. Education is the call. We are called to be and then we become something. We become that which we make of ourselves. We follow the call, we pursue a calling. Freedom is the only calling—it alone contains all possible directions, all of the choices that may later blossom into the fullness of our lives. We can only be free. Slavery is death. How do slaves die? Slaves are not born, they are made. The slave must be trained to be that which the living cannot be. The only thing that the living are not free to be is dead. The slave must be trained to follow the call that is not a call. The slave must be trained to pursue the calling that is not a calling. The slave must be trained to objecthood. The slave must become death.Slavery is white-over-black. White-over-black is death. White-over-black, death, then, is what the slave must become to pursue its calling that is not a calling.
AT: You’re White
The question is not whether or not we’re trying to be white anti-racists – it’s whether or not we acknowledge and understand our social location in the realm of white civil society – you’re right in the fact that we will never be able to be anti-racists but wrong in the fact that we should never combat anti-black violence
Applebaum 5, Barbara Applebaum, associate professor and chair of cultural foundations of education, is trained in philosophy of education. “In the name of morality: moral responsibility, whiteness and social justice education,” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057240500206089, NN
In a course on schooling and diversity, the topic for the week was different meanings∂ of racism. I asked my students, ‘Who comes to your mind when you think of white∂ people who are complicit in sustaining racism?’ Most of my white students gave∂ examples of overtly prejudiced people or groups – the Klu Klux Klan, the television∂ sitcom character Archie Bunker, someone they happened to know. Significantly,∂ they mentioned anyone except themselves. One student, however, meekly∂ responded, ‘all of us’. When challenged, this student explained that whereas racism∂ in the past was all about organizations like the Klu Klux Klan, Archie Bunker types∂ and Jim Crow laws, today racism is more subtle and often not seen by those who do∂ not have to experience it.∂ This opened up a heated exchange in which I attempted to explain the different∂ meanings of racism, accentuating what certain understandings of social injustice∂ they make available and what they keep hidden. Rather than being willing to engage∂ in the different meanings of racism and their implications, many of these∂ predominantly white students were obstinately focused on denying their complicity. They were more concerned with proving how they were good antiracist whites than∂ they were in trying to understand how systemic oppression works and the possibility∂ that they might have a role in sustaining such systems. In his journal, a white student∂ wrote, ‘In any situation you cannot be held responsible for something that you did∂ not do. Even on the smallest scale, if you don’t think that you’ve done anything∂ wrong, then you will be reluctant to change or to try and examine the problem’.∂ In their study of how white subjects perceive civil rights and equal opportunity,∂ Nancy Ditomaso and her colleagues (2003) attempt to demonstrate that one of the∂ ironic characteristics of white privilege is that white people do not have to think of∂ themselves as ‘racist’ for racial inequality to be reproduced (p. 189). The intimated∂ irony underlying what these researchers found is not that blatant, overt racism can be∂ implemented without the perpetrator’s awareness, but rather that the subtle but lethal∂ types of covert racism can be maintained even when whites believe themselves to be∂ part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Indeed, it is my contention that it is∂ especially when white people believe themselves to be good and moral antiracist citizens∂ that they may be contributing to the perpetuation of systemic injustice.∂ Although what I will refer to as the ‘traditional conception of moral responsibility’∂ has many enabling features that ground such values as autonomy, respect for persons∂ and equality, such a conception of moral responsibility can also authorize denials of∂ complicity on the part of my white students. In what follows, I first describe what I∂ mean by the ‘traditional conception of moral responsibility’. This is not to imply that∂ any particular moral philosopher or theorist holds this view, but rather the point is to∂ emphasize that it is a view widely assumed by my students and that aspects of this∂ view are implied and tacitly supported in the many debates around the meaning of∂ moral responsibility taken up by moral theorists. These both enabling and∂ disenabling features of the traditional conception of moral responsibility are evident∂ in moral theorizing about moral responsibility, not so much in debates around what∂ it means to be a moral agent but, more conspicuously, in discussions around the∂ criteria that make one morally accountable for particular actions. Then I will turn to∂ three seemingly good, antiracist discourses that my white students engage in around∂ issues of difference and inequality – the discourse of colour-blindness, the discourse∂ of meritocracy and the discourse of choice. I argue that the traditional conception of∂ moral responsibility authorizes these discourses and contributes to camouflaging∂ their limitations. By giving examples of how these discourses conceal systemic∂ oppression, hinder the development of cross-racial understanding, veil the relational∂ dimension of the social construction of race and promote a ‘race to innocence’, I∂ illustrate how such ostensibly moral discourses work to conceal the very complicity∂ that some social justice educators endeavour to expose.