Summary Of The Racial Contract

1903 Words8 Pages
Nickolas Almodovar
In The Racial Contract, Mills aims to investigate the divisions of class and wealth by examining the profound impact of race on society. Although it is true that there are reoccurring systems of oppression where race is the dividing factor, Mills does not give enough acknowledgement to other identity determining factors such as gender nor does he elaborate on race—both of which play major roles in dividing society. He does touch upon the influence of money on decisions but links it to race alone. With a library of carefully chosen examples, Mills successfully highlights the Eurocentric influences on racist practice where each new manifesting practice is created to oppress a group of people based on physical observances.
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In his favor however, it is helpful to note that “…whiteness is not really a color at all, but a set of power relations.” Here, Mills acknowledges that race is more than a war on skin tones; it is the unequal distribution of power amongst two groups divided by one physical characteristic. The labels black and white are simplistic. However, by using this simple definition of Whiteness, black men would fall into that category with respect to black women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), black men earned nearly 20% more than women (relative to one another). This unequal distribution of wealth in society is symbolic of the unequal distribution of power in the same society. This unequal distribution in the text is not presented as a major concern. Mills refers to white women as philosophers (2) while black women are written here as wanting to adhere to beauty standards (52). Women also had to overcome “hegemonic classes”, not just blacks. This parallel of having to overcome an obstacle set by oppressors should be presented, especially since it leads to an unequal distribution of power and that is what the text addresses.
It is true; there is an “actual astonishing historical record of European atrocity against nonwhites” (Mills, 98). I would even argue that Mills missed important examples that belong in the text. One big example which would have attracted more people would have been the mention of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. This
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