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The Racial Contract

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In The Racial Contract, it is argued that contemporary structures of white domination in the United States operate by means of an epistemology of ignorance for white people. White people inadvertently suffer from cognitive dysfunctions such that they cannot understand the racially (and racistly) structured world in which they live and, indeed, helped create. For Mills, while no person of any race is self-transparent, becoming a white person entails a particularly extreme form of self-opacity regarding issues of race that corresponds with a conspicuously bad or offensive misunderstanding of the world. Recently with the invasion of Iraq, the president has proven that white people believe that they are correct when that in any given conflict it must quell the conflict through force rather than understanding of the predicament. It must be astonishing to a lot of white Bush supporters to learn that the horrible conditions in Iraq would only be made worse when a foreign country whose leader represents Christian ideals (which aren't the prevailing consensus in Iraq), believes that Iraqis people need another conflicting force in a country ravaged by extreme racism.

Because of the racialized moral psychology created by the racial contract, white people are ironically often unable to see race and racism. Although Mills does not make use of psychoanalysis, his work suggests both how and why psychoanalytic theory can be of help to critical race theory's project of examining race for the purpose of challenging racism and white privilege. While the white cognitive dysfunction described by Mills sometimes operates preconsciously, his concept of the epistemology of ignorance also points to the vast pools of human thought inaccessible to consciousness, and thus unconscious. This refers not to a mere gap or empty space; rather, it is something that is actively, dynamically produced, and which stubbornly maintains its existence. This means that as unconscious entity, racism's effectiveness is found in its ability to perpetuate itself as something invisible and unknowable. Most race theories that omit the unconscious operations of race and racism touches on only the tip of the iceberg that is white privilege. This is not to say that white privilege is only psychical. But the importance of the economic, political, geographical, and other aspects of white privilege should not lead us to overlook the psychological impact that race and racism have on people of all races. An impact would include the overpopulation of African-Americans in the correction systems of the United States today can lead people to believe that one's skin tone can relate to his probability of committing a crime. Crime takes place through oppressive structures such as white domination, and can take root existentially in people's personal lives. Racism has a long history of perpetuating itself through political, economic, national, educational and other institutions that are much larger, so to speak, than any individual. Yet part of the way that these institutions are able so effectively to privilege white people and exploit non-white people is through the development of individual attachments and commitments to them. It is a fact that drug legislation is a racially motivated social construct which is there to place non-whites in prison. It would be presumptuous to assume that there aren't any good intentions of drug legislation, but when the government decides to "crack down" on one drug more so than another, they are unconsciously saying that the group of people with possession of a certain drug has a tendency to do more evil. If the government changed legislature to seek out abusers of prescription drugs, it would be certain that there would be more



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