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Critical Race Theory and Whiteness as Property

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

If you don’t understand race, you know nothing about the United States. The catastrophes that descend on Black America must be seen “as a violent result of an ideology which results in economic and social policies predetermined to this effect.” Even the best off African Americans can’t save themselves. “The nation’s richest Black community, Prince George’s County, Maryland, is also home to the highest Black foreclosure rate.”

Critical Race Theory and Whiteness as Property

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

A fundamental anti-Blackness in this country demands the continuing inequities and also demands that they go unnoticed or improperly understood.”

In his Washington Post column last week Courtland Milloy made an interesting point. He was talking about the “economic levee” break that is currently washing away millions of “our homes… [and] jobs” when he also noted how much attention was going to the recent uprising in Egypt. He was quick to remind us that “we have a Cairo of our own,” he said, “a little town in Illinois where the unemployment rate is more than 14 percent and 33 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.” I don’t think it should be taken as a lack of solidarity as much as a warning, as he said, that we had better “wise up.” And I think that what we still have to wise up to is the underlying point, one made by Critical Race Theorists, that a fundamental anti-Blackness in this country demands the continuing inequities and also demands that they go unnoticed or improperly understood. Better to focus on the more distant effects of this nation’s policies than on those right here. Because no one in Milloy’s DC has forgotten the last time 2 million Black people showed up and that wasn’t even a revolution.

George Taylor once described the work of Critical Race Theorists as recognizing how this society sees “Whiteness as a property right” which is “an essential element of American [that is White] social stability.” Whiteness as a property right. The point has been made many times but in this particular phrasing and in this particular time it seems even more appropriate. If we see Whiteness as property we also see its necessary opposite, the absence of access, or the absence of Black opportunity for ownership. And if property, be it Whiteness or any other form is essential to social stability, it also means that Black access to property is anathema to the social order. There is a permanency here that demands and explains the hyper attention paid to Egypt and the absence of attention paid to similar kinds of suffering here in the United States, particularly among Black people.

Home and land ownership is what for the formerly enslaved represented a free and human identity.”

This also has real material impact. So, for instance, reports from last month show that home loss is increasing nationwide and that foreclosure rates will eventually surpass those of 2010. According to one analyst the “sea change” we are seeing is not a reduction in home loss but a shift in the cause from bad loans to “unemployment and economic displacement.” It is why Milloy also noted that the nation’s richest Black community, Prince George’s County, Maryland, is also home to the highest Black foreclosure rate. Even the best off can’t save themselves. But this is not simply about Black inferiority in money management. The reasons reach far deeper into the recesses of this nation’s history and culture than most realize or can allow themselves to conceive.

Consider the work of Georgetown University Law professor Emma Coleman Jordan. During her 2009 address to The Fourteenth Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society this Critical Race Theorist explained the current home foreclosure crisis in terms of what she calls this nation’s “algorithm of inequality.” Jordan, performing her own Critical Race Theory, explains the foundation of these foreclosures in similar terms and is clear that they are not at the root of this most recent financial crisis despite popular claim. No. Jordan explains that the issue is a crisis born out of African America’s original crisis, enslavement and the redevelopment of humanity. She points to 1865 and explains that the idea of home ownership has for Black people been about what she calls “the psychic dividing line between slavery and freedom.” Home and land ownership is what for the formerly enslaved represented a free and human identity. Add to that decades of myth-development, the myth of home-ownership as the key component to civilized participation in society, and you have what Jordan describes as a perfect storm of susceptibility to the “contractual trap doors beneath a noose of predatory lending terms.” Decades of propaganda followed by intense target marketing of sub-prime loans to Black people and voila: $200 billion in lost wealth.

Courtland Milloy suggests in his piece, facetiously or not, that Black people “scatter” into integrated neighborhoods where foreclosures are less likely to occur or where Black people are less likely to be targeted for them. On the other hand, Jordan’s solutions, while less pragmatic, are ultimately more substantial. She argues that we need to see these crises as a violent result of an ideology which results in economic and social policies predetermined to this effect. If we do not challenge this anti-Black and anti-human ideological structure we will remain persistently atop trap doors beneath nooses.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online visit us at www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Dr. Jared A. Ball can be reached via email at freemixradio@gmail.com.

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When a group of mostly white

When a group of mostly white  businessmen backed by wallstreet financial institutions targeted Black home owners with fraudulent predatory loans and, those same home owners wind up losing their homes while the  Wall street firms got reimbursed by the government,one does not need to be a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that the whole thing was  a major conspiracy driven by criminal elements of the private sector,Wall street and Washington.The plan was to remove real estate property from Black ownership and it worked perfectly.(Some whites were victimized also but that's what they call collateral damage during a war)It worked so well that they even had a Black man deliver to Wall street the money they used to fund this conspiracy...It had to be clear from the beginning to the Wall street firms investing in these loans that the logical result would be for thousands of people to lose their homes due to the fact that  they were being saddled with loans they could not repay.They also had to know that their bad investments were being protected by Washington..Once again,we got conned and remained silent.America is one major con game after another.

What did they know and when did they know it?

Shit, even Bernie Madoff says the banks knew a scam when they saw it.  Apparently the Hedge Funds knew a scam too, they made billions betting on major, catastrophic defaults, as did some of the Goldman Sachs and other so-called "investment banker" parasites.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/15/bernie-madoff-banks-fraud_n_823832.html 

The Value of Whiteness

In The Populist Moment, Lawrence Goodwyn describes how Woody Guthrie's invocations to unite, inclusively, against fascism could not stand against the elite's offer of white supremacy in lieu of the risks of revolution. Daniel Roediger, in Working Toward Whiteness describes how at one time Italians, Hungarians and other Eastern Europeans were considered un-white.  In exchange for abandoning all identification with their roots, joining the "melting pot" of racism, they could become white.  Only people of color were excluded, as was necessary if there was to be any basis for coopting white dissent on grounds of significant relative better-offness.  Derrick Bell, in Silent Covenants tells us how the civil rights movement disguised and reinforced the essentiality of white supremacy to pursuance of social control American style.



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