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Mills’ “The Racial Contract” and Peck’s “The Young Karl Marx” Essay

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Updated: Jul 15th, 2021

Response to the Mills Reading

In The Racial Contract, Mills discusses the concept of racism, which he refers to as global white supremacy, as a carefully planned agreement among European tribes to assert, maintain, and promote the idea that Whites are superior to other tribes in the world (Mills, 1997). Mills argues that white philosophers, who have dominated the fields of philosophy and political science for the last several decades, have endeavored to avoid portraying white supremacy as a philosophy or socio-political tool meant to make a portion of society more privileged than the rest of the population.

The truth, according to Mills, is that this concept has served as an effective political tool and philosophy for the past several centuries, making it possible for Whites to colonize the world. Moreover, the idea is currently facilitating white people’s ability to enjoy privileges that non-Whites lack in the United States.

I agree with Mills’ argument that white supremacy is a philosophy and a political tool that Europeans have used over the years to ensure their own benefit. I also agree with the argument that racism has become so entrenched in American society that some white people believe it is their right to be viewed as superior to those of other races (DiAngelo, 2018).

The emergence of white supremacist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan (The Klan), the American Nazi Party, and the White Aryan Resistance among others is a clear testimony to the degree to which racism is entrenched in American society. Members of these groups do not hesitate to state their racist views in public as well as their belief that the white race is superior to others. They recognize this view as a tool to continue dominating the world and are willing to do everything necessary to protect it.

Analysis of the Movie and Philosophical Themes

The movie The Young Karl Marx focuses on events in Europe during the Industrial Revolution, demonstrating the concept of social class and its significance in Europe at that time. The rich and powerful considered it normal to oppress and exploit the poor (Peck, 2018). Some primary themes in this film include the philosophies of Karl Marx and John Locke regarding politics and the economy. The film begins by showing soldiers attacking peasants who have gone to the forest to collect firewood. The peasants are not destroying the forest in any way; they are only gleaning the dry wood. It is important to note that such forest firewood would be of no use to the rich. However, the punishment for those found in the forest is so severe that some end up dying.

The class struggle between the “haves” or the bourgeoisie and the “have nots” or the proletariat as proposed by Karl Marx (MacGregor, 2014) is another theme that clearly emerges in this film. The bourgeoisie are keen on strengthening their hold on power by oppressing the poor and limiting the latter’s capacity to become successful members of society. They expect the poor to work hard while denying them the ability to benefit from their own work.

However, the proletariat have had enough, and they want a sense of freedom. They desire a society that shows appreciation for their work in the form of proper pay and equal opportunities. Socio-economic ideas tied to revolution, a concept that Karl Mark and Thomas Hobbes widely talked about in their philosophical works, is another theme that comes out in this film. The oppressed have nothing to lose and are willing to do anything to gain political and economic freedom, leading them to fight to gain their rights in the society that dictates their circumstances.

References

DiAngelo, R. J. (2018). White fragility: Why it’s so hard for White people to talk about racism. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

MacGregor, D. (2014). Hegel and Marx after the fall of communism. Cardiff, UK: University of Wales Press.

Mills, C. W. (1997). The racial contract. London, UK: Cornell University Press.

Peck, R. (Director). (2018). The young Karl Marx. Web.

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"Mills’ "The Racial Contract" and Peck's "The Young Karl Marx"." IvyPanda, 15 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/mills-the-racial-contract-and-pecks-the-young-karl-marx/.

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IvyPanda. "Mills’ "The Racial Contract" and Peck's "The Young Karl Marx"." July 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mills-the-racial-contract-and-pecks-the-young-karl-marx/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Mills’ "The Racial Contract" and Peck's "The Young Karl Marx"." July 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mills-the-racial-contract-and-pecks-the-young-karl-marx/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Mills’ "The Racial Contract" and Peck's "The Young Karl Marx"'. 15 July.

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