Summarize The Introduction of “Represent and Destroy” for a Specific Community
The introduction of the book “Represent and Destroy” presents the theory of racial
formation and the systems after World War II. The post-war race-liberal orders follow a
genealogy of phases including racial liberalism, liberal multiculturalism, and neoliberal
multiculturalism. I share the summary of this book to the group of friends who are my course
mates, to show how race remained central to the global events during this period and the antiracist believed that there existed no difference between the European oppression, racial
segregation, and the colonial rule.
The material politics of antiracist knowledge provides the historical and theoretical
background of the post-World War II racial break. It gets described as the setting of the
condition for the sea change in the racial orders of the world and the consolidation of anti-racism
in the US. The break introduced a new racial project that replaced the white supremacy
characterized by its anti-racist and liberal capitalist. The post-World War II racial break gets
defined as the global accumulation of the socio-political forces that combined to remove the
ancient world racial system.
The racial break got produced by the anti-racist and the anti-colonial movements who
were against the racial violence and white supremacy in the US. Significantly, the break
managed to bring about change in the expansion of democracy through decolonization and
gaining of independence. It also led to the introduction of new civil rights, empowerment, racial
desegregation, and implementation of policies by the States that recognized subdued cultures.
The anti-racist movements politicized race, increased its contradiction, and demanded the end of
white supremacy. The incomplete racial formation resulted to racial dualism consisting of two
contradicting worlds of white supremacy and racial justice.
The idea of racial break makes Melamed develop the foundation of his discussions. He
argues that the racial break period was complete and it has given rise to the modern racial project
of anti-racist and liberal capitalist that surpass the abilities of white supremacy rather than
replacing it entirely. He contradicts the opinion of former scholars like Winant who proposes that
the period remained incomplete.
The world embraced capitalism rule that constituted a racialized global structure. White
supremacy entered the modern cultural systems and created a racialized Western knowledge
based on political and economic racial projects. Racial capitalism clarifies the economic
dimension of racial developments. It indicates that racialism remains a force and a historical
agency of capitalism as long as the racial directions of the modern society get persuaded by
development, expansion, and organization of the capitalist relations. The break period can
therefore get described by the combination of the forces of colonial capitalism, white supremacy,
and the state of the nation patterns.
Racial liberalism escalated from the geo-historical conditions of the racial break. The
global conflict of the race at the onset of the racial break facilitated the movement towards
equality and establishment of racial liberalism networks. The networks remained aimed at
absorbing the new ideological concepts, and develop the abilities to manage the emerging racial
orders. The Federal government realized the necessity to centralize race issues and incorporated
the knowledgeable Blacks who got nurtured by the early racial-liberal contributors. Some used
the already published handbooks like the “American Dilemma” that suggested the significance of
race and anti-racism in the racial-liberal world.
The American race problem got linked to political issues which characterized the Negros
as an opportunity to legitimate itself as the leader of the decolonizing world. Racism also got
related to the attitude and prejudice of the Whites hence a psychological and moral issue
Melamed 21). Achieving racial justice in such society meant including the African-Americans as
part of the community of Americans. It encompassed equal opportunity, possessive
individualism, abstract equality, and market liberties that promoted anti-racism.
The difference between the pre and the post-racial liberalism break is that the former
concentrated on changing the attitude of the Whites, the latter focused on a country-wide social
engineering. The latter remained aimed at creating a culture in America where Whites had no
prejudice and the Blacks absorbed as part of the US community. Racial liberalism constituted the
provision of education programs on understanding the Blacks and their living conditions. It also
included the production of materials on national reforms, education initiates and race relations.
The circulation of race novels got aimed at unifying racial-liberal ideologies, to understand race
matters, and to influence subject formation by the creation of race liberal identities.
Racial liberalism, therefore, presented itself as the model that made the market economy
non-political by the inclusion of the African-Americans. It also provided the ideology explaining
the increasing class inequality with the Blacks racial formation, the rise of professional AfricanAmericans and explains why the Us invests in postcolonial nations. Racial liberalism remains
connected with the normative of politics, economy, culture for the assimilation of the Blacks.
Liberal multiculturalism occurred after the downfall of racial liberalism which faced
opposition from alternative anti-racism (Melamed 27). It got introduced to manage the growing
social and economic inequality through stressing on desegregation, symbolic equality and
tolerant from the whites. There existed need to find ways to politically mobilize race beyond the
limits set by racial liberalism which incorporated anti-colonial of the racial break period making
it official anti-racism. Liberal multi-culturalism re-instated such limits by defusing the materialist
anti-racism of the new based race. It also deployed literary discourse as a cultural idea to make
the knowledge of anti-racist productive for the next phase of developing capitalism.
Liberal multiculturalism worked as a powerful anti-racism model of normative through
nation-wide projects based on education and socialization in colleges. It gave training to students
to become professionals and internalize liberalism as part of their sense of identity and social
mission. Also, its knowledge increased the bio-political explanation of the class inequality and
the living conditions of the Blacks. It produced the understanding that made the racially diverse
middle class acceptable, allowed for post-Keynesian, and then expanded the transitional
capitalism abroad. It also provided weak terms of social solidarity and affirmation of positive
cultural pluralism. Globally, it made America get the description of the internalized model of
Neoliberal multiculturalism developed in the 1990s as a world-historical configuration of
governance and social life premised on the idea that the market remains better than the state at
distributing resources and managing human life. It signifies how the neoliberals govern the biopolitical life to govern and rationalize forms of humanity. At the global stake, it has led to
differentiated citizenship that ensure governments protects the vulnerable to capital from whether
they are citizens of the nation or not.
The rise of social movements who fought for anti-racism through diverse issues during
this period to identify the hand of neoliberalism’s uneven system of capital accumulation. The
sovereignty of neoliberalism requires the knowledge of systems that rationalize its bi- politics
hence has to conduct monopoly over the social practices that impact its beliefs. It managed to
disguise the idea that neoliberalism is a form of racial capitalism. Neoliberal multiculturalism has
striven deracialized anti-racist references and concepts associated with multiculturalism.
Globally, it has produced difference as a valorized area of knowledge and has ideologically
correlated ethical, technical and political positions towards transformation to what benefits
neoliberal agendas. Ironically, the restricted goals of anti-racism in the United States has formed
the foundation for capitalism globally.
In conclusion, the introductory chapter presents the concept of racism and anti-racism in
the United States and even globally. It also describes the phases of development of antiracism by
giving the race-liberal systems consisting of racial liberalism, liberal multiculturalism, and
Melamed, J. “Represent and Destroy: Producing Discourses of Certainty with Official AntiRacism.” University of Minnesota Press, 24, 2011, pp. 1-50.
ANALYSIS OF A SCENE FROM THE FILM ‘KILLER OF SHEEP’
Perhaps it would be imperative to state that there is a need to view the context of the film
from a wider sociocultural aspect that it represents rather than just a piece of literature. It is a
film that took more than three decades before it was produced and maybe, it is a story of modern
America. It has been described as a film that highlights various aspects of the American society
together, piece them together and give the viewer a feeling that borders on realism. Perhaps, it is
as real as it appears since one cannot help but develop a sentiment of attachment to some of the
depictions, which almost feel non-fictional.
The essay will focus on how the scene of the children playing by roadside tell a wider
context of the African American society and the widening gap that continues to haunt the
Americans between the rich and the poor. It is a reflection of the ignorance that the society has
taken to the real issues that some Americans face, and the mirage that is the American Dream. If
the dream exists, the film demonstrates that it applies selectively.
There is the use of intercuts as the children who are playing and the adults as an
illustration of the various contradictions. There is the intercut of a child who is darting behind a
plywood shield repeatedly. It is at this instance that the camera shows two groups of children,
who are playing in what can be described as ‘a rubbish-strewn wasteland, throwing rocks at one
another from behind barriers’ (Dittmar, 153). One of the boys is hurt in the process, and he starts
crying, coupled with bleeding. The other boys gather around, forget about their play and it turns
out the boy is not badly hurt. The children drift to the rail system and idly throw stones at the
passing trains. Interestingly, the scenes of these children are unrehearsed, and this shows one of
the major inclinations that the essay seeks to highlight; of inequality.
The children are doing this because they do not have the toys to play with. One child puts
on a scary Halloween mask and is harassed because he is confused as an adult in such a mask. It
would be important to create a link between this scene and what Stan does, of herding the sheep
to their noose, clipping them to a conveyor belt and then watching them as they bleed to death. It
is the ignorance of these two groups, the sheep who feel contented to die without fighting back,
and without any significant contribution.
The children are also ignorantly playing, unaware of the stakes that poverty holds for
them, and the odds that they have to deal with, to have a better life than Stan. It is the life of a
family that lives with values and nobility, but with minimal opportunities. The people lead a
contextual life, limited by their opportunities or lack of it, and go nowhere.
Is this how the people who lack opportunities in the American society have to contend
with? It is not the intention of the essay to take racial sentiments, but the film makes a case for
this aspect that would make the overlook of this aspect an injustice to the implication of the film.
The statistics are there for scrutiny, and it all starts with the fact that most of the African
Americans have one-seventh of the average income that is enjoyed by their white counterparts. It
is a national shame that is contrasted by the indifference of the children who are playing with
rocks, and perhaps the bleeding is a foreshadowing of the future that awaits them. It is an
allusion to the difficulties that such children have to face in the so-called ‘land of opportunities
for all.’ It is what the scene seeks to bring what the creator could have been trying to show; how
it feels to be a stranger in a strange land, that one is supposed to call home.
The butcher and the butchered is one analogy that could perhaps show the helpless
nature, and the might that those who have the means wield over the innocent and the vulnerable.
Is this what ails America? That there is a clique that has the rules to bend, even if it is to the
detriment of the masses? It is a debatable question, but what is not in dispute is that the African
Americans do not have equal opportunities in such a war. The general feeling that the film
communicates is that no one is getting ahead, no one is making any tangible progress, whether
actively employed or not, and this is what one needs to ask, regarding the reality, has the
opportunities in America been evenly distributed for all?
There should be more than a question of opportunities when it comes to these issues. That
racial equality is just but a mirage, and that opportunities in America are just but restricted to a
few individuals. The major issue is that of values, and whether in a capitalist society such as the
USA, is there a space for a virtuous life? The film does not seem to show on where it falls on the
aspect of values and how it seeks to educate its audience.
Perhaps, it is the realization that America should be the last country to talk about values
and virtues, because individualism is the most celebrated societal aspect. It is an issue that could
serve to offer some insight on what has been ailing the society, with children resorting to drug
abuse, escalating divorce cases because of the economic constraints and this does not make any
sense on how the values are supposed to help in such a society. It would be imperative to
retaliate that the film seeks provoke a debate, from a moral aspect and the sociological views that
it raises, and the economic relation, with regards to opportunities available for the American
masses, especially the African Americans.
If so, why has the inequality gap continue to rise? There have been strides, but what of
the taxes, the cost of living and other fiscal factors, who do they favor? Is the country becoming
a land of indifference such as the child playing or the sheep being led to a slaughterhouse, hope
Dittmar, Linda. "All that Hollywood allows: Film and the working class." Class and the College
Classroom: Essays on Teaching (2013): 153.
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Producing Discourses of Certainty
with Official Antiracisms
Represent and Destroy presents a new theory of U.S. racial formation
and of world-embracing racial systems after World War II, as well as
a new historical-materialist understanding of U.S. literary studies as a
critical site of geopolitical struggle around the meaning and significance of race. It argues that as white supremacy gradually became
residual after World War II, it was replaced by a formally antiracist,
liberal-capitalist modernity whose driving force has been a series of
successive official or state-recognized U.S. antiracisms: racial liberalism (1940s to 1960s), liberal multiculturalism (1980s to 1990s), and
neoliberal multiculturalism (2000s). These antiracisms have functioned as unifying discourses for U.S. state, society, and global ascendancy and as material forces for postwar global capitalist expansion.
This book focuses on the material politics of antiracist knowledges,
particularly on how official antiracisms have established control over
the discourses of rationality regarding the practices that impact the
constitution of successive state-capital formations, from state-oriented
Cold War expansionism to post-Keynesian market-oriented transnational capitalism to contemporary neoliberalism. Represent and
Destroy identifies the incorporation of antiracism into postwar U.S.
governmentality as decisive. It has limited sanctioned antiracist discourses to those that take for granted the benevolence of U.S. global
ascendancy and integrate the knowledge architecture of state-capital
formations (e.g., property rights, free markets, and financial deregulation) into what racial equality may signify, and what may signify as
racial equality. In contrast to antiracist struggles led by social movements, official U.S. antiracisms since World War II have disconnected
❯ 1 ❮
2 ❯ Introduction
racism from material conditions, even as they have detrimentally limited the horizon for overcoming racism to U.S. global capitalism.
Represent and Destroy further identifies official or state-recognized
antiracisms as liberal modes of instituting normative and rationalizing power. It attributes the efficacy of antiracisms in this regard to the
trick of racialization, a process that constitutes differential relations of
human value and valuelessness according to specific material circumstances and geopolitical conditions while appearing to be (and being)
a rationally inevitable normative system that merely sorts human beings
into categories of difference. In other words, racialization displaces its
differential value making into world-ordering systems of difference,
concealing its performative work with its constantive work. As official
antiracisms validate some orders of difference and make others illegible, they exert their strongest influence in a viral fashion by shaping the
content of modern knowledge systems (e.g., law, politics, and economy) and delimiting permissible expressions of personhood. Racial
liberalism, liberal multiculturalism, and neoliberal multiculturalism
have innovated racial procedures beyond color lines, often incorporating antiracist terms of value, so that new terms of racialized privilege
emerge (liberal, multicultural, global citizen), along with new terms of
racialized stigma (unpatriotic, monocultural, illegal). Flexible privilege/
stigma divides precipitate out of the conditions for which they provide
sense making; symptomatic and descriptive, racialization naturalizes
the privileges of those who benefit from present socioeconomic arrangements and makes the dispossessions of those cut off from wealth
and institutional power appear fair.
Throughout, Represent and Destroy stresses the importance of literary studies for producing, transmitting, and implanting race-liberal
orders. This importance follows from the postwar institutionalization
of literature as the most efficacious tool for Americans to use to get
to know difference—to describe, teach, learn about, and situate themselves with respect to racial difference and to know the truth about the
difference that racial difference makes (or does not make). Represent
and Destroy examines the importance of specific literary studies discourses for the active historical-material production of successive
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