Whiteness As Property Analysis

715 Words3 Pages
Fahad Albrahim
Response 1:

Review/Summary:

“Whiteness as property” is an article written by Cheryl Harris, in which she addresses the subject of racial identity and property in the United States. Throughout the article, professor Harris attempts to explain how the concept of whiteness was initiated to become a form of racial identity, which evolved into a property widely protected in American law (page 1713).
Harris tackles a number of facts that describe the roots of whiteness as property in American history at the expense of minorities such as Black and American natives (page 1709). Additionally, Harris describes how whiteness as property evolved to become seen as a racial privilege in which the whites gained more benefits, whether
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(Page 1785) Also, Harris does not believe that the white privilege will be ever removed because there is no historical or actual context where the whites will be ever exploited as the Blacks ever were (page 1785).

Critical Analysis:

I believe that Harris’s essay could be perceived through three aspects, which are (a) the historical context of the issue of racial classification and property, (b) The consequences of whiteness as property throughout the American history, and (c) the current situation of whiteness as property.

In terms of the historical context of the racial classification and property, the US witnessed a White dominance in territory, economy, politics and property privileges. Since the time of colonialism, Blacks and Indigenous peoples fell under the totalitarian ruling of colonists who have obviously favored their own race over others in order to expand their political, territorial and economic powers. As a result, the non-whites (notably the Blacks and Indians) were unjustly segregated and classified as inferior to the
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For example, in case of a legal dispute, the White is more likely to emerge victorious no matter how unjust and oppressing he could be. I agree with Harris, as the laws affirm self-determination and self-liberty for people, however, those rights were not granted equally. The Whites benefited from them in every way, leaving the Blacks unprotected.

Even after the emergence of the US constitution, rights were not granted equally. I believe that it is quite hypocritical from the US to possess a constitution, which is addressed to everyone, but not applied to everyone. For example, the fourteenth amendment, which clearly tackles the equal protection of the laws, only truly applies to the whites rather than all peoples in the United States. Therefore, I believe that the latter aspect confirms Harris’s claims of the privilege of being white.

Currently, the US has made gigantic improvements in terms of race classification and property. However, according to Harris, the white privilege is almost impossible to remove because the Whites have never gone through the humiliation in history as the
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