The invention and codification of “racial” difference as a means to allocate labor resources based on skin color and ethnicity, following Jewish and Christian notions of predestination and tribal exclusivity, has been the central organizing principle of European/North Atlantic economic expansionism and empires since the early sixteenth century. This resulted in the political disenfranchisement, enslavement, and genocide of entire populations, first in the Caribbean and then on a global scale, through a multitude of related systems of colonial exploitation that were supported by Canon, Roman, and English Common laws as well as defended and justified though a myriad of discourses on religion, social ontology, belonging, nationalism, and, most recently, identity politics and multiculturalism. The refractory nature of those practices of racial differentiation as they continue to inform the system of labor organization, laws, and political ideology today is what Aníbal Quijano calls the “coloniality of power” (2000, 533). This makes race as an abstract concept, racialism as the official promotion and execution of institutionalized racial differentiation, and racism as an ingrained cultural practice that continuously validates racial difference in everyday life the most insidious of modern ideological formulations. Despite continuous resistance, big and small, and major challenges to racialism on the battlefield and on paper, racialist ideology continues to outmaneuver all attempts to unravel its most ingrained and pernicious formulations in the coloniality of power.
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- Race and the Constitutive Inequality of the Modern/Colonial Condition
José F. Buscaglia-Salgado
- Palgrave Macmillan US