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The Racial Contract, By Charles W. Mills

1402 words - 6 pages

In society today, race can be viewed in a variety of ways, depending on the manner in which one was raised, as well as many other contributing factors. These views are often very conflicting, and as a result, lead to disagreement and controversy amongst groups. Throughout history, many communities have seen such problems arise over time, thus having a profound impact that can change society in both positive and negative ways. Such a concept is a common method through which Charles W. Mills explain his theories and beliefs in his written work, The Racial Contract. In this particular text, Mills explores numerous concepts regarding race, how it is viewed by different people, and the sense of ...view middle of the document...

The main question that Mills raises in his text is how these changes are viewed by different groups of people and how this has an impact on race. The society in which we live today is one with structure, a form of government, politics, technology, education, and more. These aspects of our society have required a steady development over a period of time rather than a contrarily instantaneous production. In many situations, people tend to view these developments in a positive way, considering the undeniable role that they play in our world today. However, at the same time, Mills makes the claim that there is another side to the argument as well, also undeniable, yet viewed in a completely opposite negative manner. In congruency with these developmental aspects, much has occurred that can be identified differently, such as slavery and violence for example. Mills argues that these two distinctions correspond with each other, but claims that they are seen positively by some and negatively by others. Those who possess the positive outlook, seem to ignore the negative or feel that what has been accomplished is more significant than what has been harmed. On the other hand, those who possess the negative outlook, view the situation oppositely, ignoring the positive or feeling that was been harmed is more significant than what has been accomplished.
From this basis through which Mills argues his ideas of The Racial Contract, the reader gains a sense of how race is formed through the distinction by those who have the positive outlook and those who have the negative outlook. Nevertheless, as race has continued to develop as a result of this separation between people, there are other factors that have contributed and led to its enhancement. In the text, “Racial Formation in the United States” by Michael Omi and Howard Winant, explain this particular concept from the social side of the situation, explaining in terms of what they call “social construction,” “racial projects,” etc. For example, in the text, the authors explain how different races are associated with different characteristics. In conjunction with this particular idea, they also claim that the way that these various characteristics are formulated and generated, are through the environment in which one was raised and was taught to look at these situations. For example, as explained, families in which certain beliefs regarding race are possessed, will likely continue on to have the same beliefs in the years to come. Such an explanation given by Omi and Winant can further be indirectly related to the ideas that Mills presents in The Racial Contract. As mentioned prior, Mills explains how often times people with either view the changes that have occurred in society with either a positive or negative outlook. Similarly to how Omi and Winant claim that the ideas one has about race are often times initiated by one’s family and their environment, such an idea can also be applied in terms of Mills’...

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