On the Abolition of Racial Categories

On the Abolition of Racial Categories

This was originally published February 26th, 2021

This post was written in response to a post by Chatterton Williams that said “Any anti-racism that doesn’t hold as it’s ultimate goal the abolition of racial categories is never going to be able to solve the real problems we’re dealing with.” With which I full heartedly agree.

Race was made up by European Capitalists who wanted to justify stealing land, massacring indigenous people, and naturalize a form of slavery that history had never seen before. Italians in the U.S. have barely been considered white. Ashkenazi Jew’s status as being white is precarious and situational. The way that people seem to embrace essnetialism when it suits them has always been something that confused me and yet I knew saying so was taboo. Racial essentialism is weird and I don’t understand why people who claim to want to abolish whiteness seem to reinforce it so much.

I think moving beyond racial essentialism looks a lot to people like color blindness when in reality is isn’t. For me my growth has been from “we’re all human” meaning that people should be treated the same or something and race doesn’t matter to “we’re all human” but some humans face different challenges and are more intensely targeted and policed- therefore if my committment is to defending the humanity of others I need to see and recognize this and do what needs to be done to abolish those conditions.

Race is a filter through which you understand history and current material realities. And where my rejection lies in how anti-racist discourse ends up in practice at least as an online performance is this way it perpetuates essentialism and guilt.

I’m interested in abolishing white supremacy because I am commited to abolishing any institution that systemically targets certain human beinugs to be exploited and terrorized. Not because I am attached to myself as white and feel a sense of guilty obligation.

Because whitness is a made up construct. Whiteness doesn’t really exist, and seeing ourselves as essentially white rather than seeing our whiteness as a construct that impacts our reality under racialized capitalism doesn’t actually help us to understand how our oppressions are tied up in the oppressions of others. All oppressions are interlocking based on made up categories. We need to be challenging essentialism because it really does reinforce divides that keep us from building true solidarity.

Because whitness is a made up construct. Whiteness doesn’t really exist, and seeing ourselves as essentially white rather than seeing our whiteness as a construct that impacts our reality under racialized capitalism doesn’t actually help us to understand how our oppressions are tied up in the oppressions of others. All oppressions are interlocking based on made up categories. We need to be challenging essentialism because it really does reinforce divides that keep us from building true solidarity.

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