The concept ‘race’ holds political power, Racismis a ‘doctrine of racial supremacy, thatone race is superior’ (Schaefer, 1990:16). It is used to construct ahierarchy of human kinds and naturalise notions of European superiority ultimatelyleading to a justification of European social dominance over other ‘racializedgroup’.
In these terms race is used in power relations, making it seem likeracism is innate which is one of the many reasons why eliminitivist urge to getrid of it. The instrumental reasoning of race has authorised racial projectssuch as slavery and colonialism. These projects have had the power of creating,inhabiting, transforming and destroying racial categories (Omi and Winant, 1994:55), representing particularracial groups as less than or deviant i.e. ‘black’ people less than ‘white’people. As a result, black racialized groups have been subject to public abuse,future police harassment, incarceration, ostracisedfrom their lands and voting rights taken away from them.
Taking theexample of the US settler colonialism, the encounter of indigenous people andU.S. settlers can be viewed as the founding moment for the formation of U.S.Whiteness. A racialized national identity came out of these projects; racializedconceptions were moved into the experience of the new world today. Settlerswere outsiders, who were trying to guarantee rights of the already occupiedland, in order for this to be possible it was necessary to create conceptionsof indigenous people as lesser beings, in need of civilisation and backward, andtherefore not worthy of consideration. In this situation, the ‘whites’ weresuperior in comparison to the indigenous/Native Americans.
Settler colonialismis an example of an organized and standardized belief system of a nationalidentity. These lands wereconsidered ‘land belonging to no one’ making it available for the whitesettlers. During this process, American settlers attached their identity to theland itself, and shared a goal amongst them, one of self-government (Stokes, 1997). European immigrants went to the United Statesto take advantages of this situation and therefore were granted Americancitizenship rights and were conceded equal among their peers. The process of organisation for taking lands and acquiring rights over italso had an impact on other groups, imposing a racial identity on them. For example, American colonisers made use ofenslaved Native Americans, immigrant white servants and Africans in order toprop up their wealth, in the process of this Americans came to favour blackchattel slaves, which was acontribution to the creation of theories of racial hierarchy. Black slaves were more profitable, and whatemerged out of these was a triadic system; white settlers, Native Americans andslave Africans who produce European and white American wealth. Colonizershave encoded the system of profit making to a doctrine of race, the AtlanticTriangle, Africa, America and Europe came to be dealt with as ‘Black, White andRed’ (Wolfe, 2011:273).
This establishmentcontributed to the US conception of race. The black and white binary came to bemapped on to different divisions that characterised American identity, forexample citizen/non-citizen, freedom/slavery and humans/animals. Race signified differencesamongst people; it implied a physical, biological, moral and other kinds ofinferiority. The ‘blacks’ have been ostracized by the whites and giventheir social roles as slaves exploited for the economic benefit of the society. Racial categorization has enabled thelogic of one type of supremacy over another; white supremacy. It hasperpetuated and maintains the institutional domination for the privileges ofsuch group.