Race & Murder

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Tue Apr 27 20:44:32 PDT 1999

Mark Rickling wrote:

> I would say
> that slavery and racism were mutually constitutive of each other -- one
> simply can't imagine slavery in the US without racism, and it makes little
> sense trying to figure out which gave rise to the other.

Nonsense. To begin with, slavery in the U.S. was primarily white to begin with: under the conditions of tobacco cultivation, 7 years of bondage was a lifetime, and white slaves were cheaper. It was only by a very complex process that "slavery" and "black slavery" and "racism" became identical.

"Mutually constitutive" is a question-begging phrase which has never explained anything -- and it certainly has never pointed the way to actually fighting something.

Your assumption, by making racism an independent force, leaves no way to fight it. Fields's assumptions, on the contrary, let us see some of the reasons that the black struggle of the '50s and '60s had such an impact. Blacks in complex motion (organized campaigns, riots, etc.) create huge contradictions in racialist ideology.


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