From Class to Race: Charles W. Mills

"All the issues we now think of as defining critical theory’s concerns were brought home to the racially subordinated, the colonized and enslaved, in the most intimate and brutal way: the human alienation, the instrumentalization and deformation of reason in the service of power, the critique of abstract individualism, the paradox of reconciling proclamations of humanism with mass murder, the need to harness normative theory to the practical task of human liberation. So if Marx's proletariat too often had to have proletarian consciousness "imputed".. to them, and if the relation between Marxism and the actual working-class outlook was often more a matter of faith and hopeful counterfactuals that actuality (what the workers would think if only…), then oppositional ideas on race have shaped the consciousness of the racially subordinated for centuries. If white workers have been alienated from their product, then people of color, especially black slaves, have been alienated from their personhood; if Enlightenment reason has been complicit with bourgeois projects, then it has been even more thoroughly corrupted by its accommodation to white supremacy; if liberal individualism has not always taken white workers fully into account, then it has often excluded nonwhites altogether; if it was a post-World War II challenge to explain how the "civilized" Germany of Goethe and Beethoven could have carried out the Jewish and Romani Holocausts, then it is a far older challenge to explain how "civilized" Europe as a whole could have carried out the savage genocide of indigenous populations and the barbaric enslavement of millions; and finally, if Marx's proletarians have been called upon to see and lose their chains (and have often seemed quite well-adjusted to them), then people of color (Native American populations, enslaved and later Jim Crowed Africans in the New World, the colonized) have historically had little difficulty in recognizing their oppression– after all, the chains were often literal!– and in seeking to throw it off. So if the ideal of fusing intellectual history with political practice has been the long-term goal of critical race theory of the racially subordinated, whose oppression has been more blatant and unmediated and for whom the urgency of their situation has necessitated a direct connection between the normative and practical emancipation." —"From Class to Race: Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism". Time out with Charles W. Mills + The Racial Contract: + Racial Liberalism: +