- “To produce Blackness is to produce a social link of subjection and a body of extraction, that is, a body entirely exposed to the will of the master, a body from which great effort is made to extract maximum profit. An exploitable object, the Black Man is also the name of a wound, the symbol of a person at the mercy of the whip and suffering in a field of struggle that opposes socioracially segmented groups and factions” (Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason, p. 18).
- The production of whiteness in America began with the exclusion of Black inhabitants of the colonies from privileges and rights granted to white colonists. Juridically, the black individual has been established to be a non-person. The constitution of race allowed for Non-European Individuals to have their ontological status demoted. The forced mobility of the Black Individual has been a primary factor in the production of Black Subjectivity since the emergence of the triangular trade. Aided by genomics and advances in technology, the production of racial subjects has re-emerged nearly everywhere. In the context of a rise in white nationalism, large swaths of communities are subjected to ‘racial categorization’ that transform immigrants into ‘an essential category of difference’ (Ibid, 23).
- “On one level, then, Black reason consists of a collection of voices, pronouncements, discourses, forms of knowledge, commentary, and non sense, whose object is things or people of African origin. [Black Reason] provide[s] the justifications for the arithmetic of racial domination” (Ibid, 27). Black Reason extends into the molecular, finding itself in every nook and cranny of Western Subjectivity. Race is not simply an aesthetic category, it is a byproduct of ressentiment. We must distinguish between a ‘call to race‘, the goal of which is “to imagine and create a different space, where isolation would guarantee protection”, and ‘racial assignation‘, “a more or less coded way of dividing and organizing a multiplicity, of fixing and distributing it according to a hierarchy, of allocating it to more or less impermeable spaces according to a logic of enclosure” (Ibid, 34 – 35). The ‘processes of racialization’ aims to force movement as precisely as possible “in a way that diminishes threats and secures general safety” (Ibid, 35).
- “As phenomena, racism and the phobia of others share a great deal” (Ibid, 36). Racism will not be ended by the dissolution of the capitalist mode of production alone. “The noun “Black” is […] the name given to the product of a process that transforms [African Individuals] into living ore from which metal is extracted”, where it was utilized in the ‘New World’ and converted into financial currency in Europe. This was a “structuring dimension of early capitalism” (Ibid, 40). Fanon correctly assessed that the Black Individual was an invention of Whites, “a fantasy produced by European imagination” (Ibid, 43). “The process of racialization was to establish clear distinctions between laborers of European origin and Africans” (Ibid, 44). “[The following] [t]hree historical determinants […] explain the power of the fantasy of Whiteness. In most settler colonies, Whiteness was transformed “into a dogma and a habitus”. “[T]he fantasy of Whiteness involves a constellation of objects of desire and public signs of privilege”. “The fantasy of Whiteness draws part of its self-assurance from structural violence and the ways in which it contributes on a planetary scale to the profoundly unequal redistribution of the resources on life and the privileges of citizenship”, which benefits from technological developments, political organization, and ‘cruelty without measure’. (Ibid, 45)
This text is an excerpt of a forthcoming publication “Networked Ressentiment”.