This is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. Race, racialization, and white supremacist racism in the United States operates in a very particular & peculiar way. If you pay close attention, anti-Black racism manages to violate some of the key logics of capitalism, demonstrating how white supremacy is an alternative exchange/value system that is tethered to capitalism. In other words, both of those systems of domination/hegemony need each other & capitalism will only bend its rules for white supremacy and cishetpatriarchy.
In light of the recent pile of innocent Black bodies murdered at the hands of the necropolitical state, I decided to share some of my thoughts on the current issues of the high mortality rate of people of African descent in the U.S. at the hands of white supremacy & police brutality and the issues with regards to low quality of life in the U.S. (this also happens abroad but bear with me as I use the U.S. as a case study of sorts).
Blackness & Black bodies are magical. Black bodies function as these mysterious objects that when consumed/appropriated by White people & Non-Black People of Color (NBPoCs) it provides them with power. If you pay close attention to the history of red-lining in the U.S. and the history behind the modern Black Ghettos and the development of racial inequality in America (see “When Affirmative Action Was White” by Ira Katznelson or “Black Wealth/White” Wealth by Melvin Oliver & Thomas Shapiro) you’ll start to notice a telling trend: Black people are magical.
Now the “magical negro” is not a new ideal, its one that has been commonly seen in folklore & American cinema, the magical negro is a Black person who possesses special insight or powers & is usually the Black buddy who comes to the aid of a white protagonist. The magical negro is a form of a very particular kind of tokenism, you aren’t just the only lonely negro face in a very white place but you also possess these magical abilities that are used in service to white protagonists(e.g. The Green Mile). We commonly see this when white people proclaim that they can’t be racist because their ” (insert here)” is Black when research has shown that 75% of white Americans don’t have non-white friends. But has anybody noticed that a Black person claiming to have white friends never really does get anything from being friends with them, & it never provides them with the social, political, or economic power they need? Yeah, I noticed it too.