The Racial Contract

The Racial Contract The Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory deadpan to extraordinary radical use With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years Char

  • Title: The Racial Contract
  • Author: Charles W. Mills
  • ISBN: 9780801484636
  • Page: 433
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory, deadpan, to extraordinary radical use With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years, Charles W Mills demonstrates how this peculiar and unacknowledged contract has shaped a system of global European domination how it brings into existence whites and non whThe Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory, deadpan, to extraordinary radical use With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years, Charles W Mills demonstrates how this peculiar and unacknowledged contract has shaped a system of global European domination how it brings into existence whites and non whites, full persons and sub persons, how it influences white moral theory and moral psychology and how this system is imposed on non whites through ideological conditioning and violence The Racial Contract argues that the society we live in is a continuing white supremacist state Holding up a mirror to mainstream philosophy, this provocative book explains the evolving outline of the racial contract from the time of the New World conquest and subsequent colonialism to the written slavery contract, to the separate but equal system of segregation in the United States According to Mills, the contract has provided the theoretical architecture justifying an entire history of European atrocity against non whites, from David Hume s and Immanuel Kant s claims that blacks had inferior cognitive power, to the Holocaust, to the kind of imperialism in Asia that was demonstrated by the Vietnam War Mills suggests that the ghettoization of philosophical work on race is no accident This work challenges the assumption that mainstream theory is itself raceless Just as feminist theory has revealed orthodox political philosophy s invisible white male bias, Mills s explication of the racial contract exposes its racial underpinnings.

    One thought on “The Racial Contract”

    1. When I searched for this book on a message came back saying, "Did you mean Social Contract?" Which is a testament to the truth of Mills' thesis. He suggests the world is one structure to its core by white supremacy, and that political philosophy has largely ignored this fact in order to maintain it. I would love to think of myself and my world as "colorblind," but I mean let's face it, it can't be done. If nothing else, this book will be an eye-opener for people unfamiliar with the global histo [...]

    2. Was Kant a theorist of the Herrenvolk? Did Locke build his theory on the subjection of non-Whites? Yes, if you believe Charles W. Mills. According to him, the entire canon of Western thought is fundamentally racist. He claims that "global white supremacy" is at the heart of Western ideas.Mills's plea for an alternative historical account of the foundations of Western domination is at times inspiring and at times insane. Some of his arguments are brilliant, others laughable. It has to be admitted [...]

    3. This should be core reading for everyone, seriously. In 130 pages or so, Mills highlights the unintentional but more often intentional omission of race and racism in white dominated political systems. From slavery, colonialization, imperialism and apartheid, Mills provides an overview of the on going racial oppression suffered by the majority of the world's population via the Racial Contract. A contract that separates white, human individuals from non-white, barbaric sub-persons. This book came [...]

    4. I loved this book. I used it in a political philosophy class of mostly white men. Some of the students freaked out and focused on feeling offended. But the ones who worked past that were able to do interesting work on evaluation their own whiteness.

    5. 4 1/2 stars. Here's another book that I recommend everyone read. It provides a deep, biting critique of traditional social contract theory as being rooted not in equal persons with equal rights, but in a distinction between humans and sub-humans. Mills grounds this critique with numerous examples, examining the history of certain groups (usually whites, of course) dominating other groups seen as sub-human (usually non-whites). He also examines the reasons, and subsequent results, of why politica [...]

    6. Excellent survey of the racial nature of the politics of the world and how it infects all our discourse. The first half is more a critique of liberal ideas, showing how they are founded in racist distinctions, while the second half is more about the practise of them and how absolutely essential they are to understanding the world today. Does take seriously the issue of "borderline whites." (although it's still a bit dodgily done to me, at least he tries and doesn't dismiss it) Pretty great all r [...]

    7. Read an excerpt of this book online recently and was pulled in immediately. Something about all the anti-Obama sentiment is what compelled me. The author argues that racism, once a transparent social construct, has become a latent social construct, and the invisibility is pernicious. It has got me thinking about Eurocentricism, white apathy, and everyday moral complicity in the power structures. Between the moral issues it raises and the tight overview of social construct philosophies that it pr [...]

    8. Mills offers a concise and persuasive portrait of the way in which the social contract historically has (and continues to be) underwritten by a racial contract that excludes non-whites from the body politic. Positing that the racial contract is "political, moral, and epistemological", Mills demonstrates its invisibility to its benefactors (those privileged with unrestricted access to the social contract) and its all to daily visibility to those restricted by it.

    9. Professor Arthur is becoming a student.n. I read this book as a part of a grad level lit class I'll be taking at WVU called "Slavery In The American Memory." (I'm getting my mind ready to start applying to doctoral programs.) Mills breaks down ideas about the way the world views raise in a quick and engaging read that will challenge what anyone thinks they "know" about race. Not for the faint of heart or mind

    10. This work is a brilliant analysis of how racism is woven into the fabric of society. He argues that it is not possible to discuss any major framework - humanities, political science, philosophy, economics - without addressing how it was built upon racism and how racism is embedded in and informs it.

    11. This book provides a good theoretical/philosophical overview of how racism--specifically in terms of white supremacy--operates within the world. It was thorough, thought-provoking, and succinct, although I also found it a bit dense at times. If you're a white person who's philosophically-minded and looking to understand more about how the world around you has been and continues to be constructed on the foundation of white supremacy, hang out with Charles for a little while.

    12. This book highlights the illegitimate (but commonly implicitly accepted) authority of the "social contract," and it's historical roots while highlighting how the social contract obscures problematic structures of subjugation. Highly recommended!

    13. I’m a big fan of a few authors whose great work involves making sense of the massive stockpile of collected historical data by spotlighting the logic thread that connects chunks of it into potent influential viewpoints. The Racial Contract by Charles Mills is the one that rules them all, with the author revealing the foundational support structure upon which all Western philosophy and formal moral ethics theory is based. Pointedly, Mills reminds us that Immanuel Kant thought I was a subhuman, [...]

    14. I wouldn't have picked this up had it not been required reading for a college English class. Still, Mills makes some very insightful, although at times biased, points of the still existent racism that pervades our society.My issues with the book probably relate to those of all philosophy works: his prose is simply too dense. He uses five words when one word would satisfy. He repeats himself, cleverly rewording phrases to seem like he's presenting a new point. Mills is a philosophy professor, and [...]

    15. Torn giving 5 stars or "only" 4 stars. I'm giving 4 because of a few issues/questions.(1) What exactly do we do with the "racial contract"? Assuming a liberal, classical, American stance of e.g. "all men are created equal," how is this modified? Or does RC only point to and measure the gap between reality and ideal?(2) Isn't this in some (most) ways the same as taking the social contract and combining it with something like was it Singer who coined the term moral circles In any case, isn't the c [...]

    16. Challenging read in some ways, but revelatory. defines racial contract as a set of agreements between White, fully human persons and nonwhite subpersons. nonwhites are seen as morally inferior and given subordinate civil standing, while whites deal with one another relatively equally. allows for exploitation of nonwhites while also ignoring the fact that the contract exists. is always aimed at economically privileging a white minority. makes the point that white is a race, Whiteness is an operat [...]

    17. Great book, Mills looks at past conflict and current economic, political, and social constructs through a white-privleged lens arguing that Locke's, Hobbes', and Kant's social contract is only ideal while a Racial contract, or a contract that gives privilege to the white race, is real and is the foundation of society. Definitely made me look at how racism affected nonwhite individuals in the past and in the present mentally and blew my mind multiple times, one of my favorite books I've read.

    18. If someone made me Supreme Dictator of the Universe, I'd make everyone read this book. Not sure what to say, beyond that. I'm not a philosopher and I don't know anything about social contract theory, so it was slow going at first, but I got the gist after the opening section and I really, really loved it. Underlines everywhere.

    19. Everyone should read this book. Mills replaces standard social contract theory with an idea that includes race - and thereby explains the damage done to much of the world by the theories of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Kant (among others). Race, to Mills, may not be a biological reality, but it is real, and must be confronted rather than ignored.

    20. The Racial Contract is one of the most important books I have ever read. It ranks with Said's Orientalism, with Fanon, with Angela Davis' works. If you have any interest in understanding how racism works, how it shaped history and continues to shape our world today, this is well worth reading. And taking notes.

    21. I've been reading about racism and African American issues for the past 5-7 years; this 130-page book provides an umbrella that embraces seemingly everything that I've read, positing convincingly that racism—the idea of white supremacy—is not an abberration but in fact the foundation of the global politics and political philosophy of the past 500 years.

    22. Absolutely amazing and brilliant book. Wow, is all I can say.I think the next book to read is "Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance" which came out 10 years later and is inspired by the concepts Mills brought up in "Racial Contract".

    23. Perfectly sums up the current racial crisis in the United States. It is short, but leaves no stone unturned as it tackles each facet of white-black racial tensions. Touches on some other races, but mostly faces on those two and their historic differences.

    24. Easily the most important book of contemporary sociological and philosophical theories. If you seek to understand the world we live in and how we became what we are, start here. Everything will make sense after this has sunk in.

    25. I have read a very tiny bit of this book, and quite a number of Mills' papers. Anyway, enough to know he is basically perfect.

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