32 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2005 Last revised: 2 Oct 2009
Slavery is death. The body of this death is white-over-black, white-over-black only, and that continually. The body of this death is eternal and therefore with us still. Slavery is white-over-black, segregation is white-over-black, neosegregation is white-over-black, and all of it is death. White-over-black is the death that it is the slave's calling to produce. The slave produces this death through its juridical prayers for equality of right. The slave perfects its own slavery in this manner. Rights cannot be equal. There are always ambiguities. The ambiguities are always available for a white-over-black reading. The fact of white-over-black, of the general habit of reading things in white-over-black ways, which is what prompts the slave to pray for equality of right in the first place, shows that whatever is granted will be read in the general way, white-over-black. The fact of white-over-black shows the way that we have been trained. We follow our training into our future and so rights are white-over-black, white-over-black only, and that continually. The dream of equal rights, so important to slaves, results only in the continued fact of white-over-black.
If the dream is the disguise of the wish then the dream of equal rights is the disguise of the slave's own desire for white-over-black, for death. The slave's unacknowledgable death drive is the secret of the commodity and its fetish. Contra Marx, commodities do speak. Commodities speak of equality of right, equality of right only, and that continually.
Keywords: slaves, slave, slavery, segregation, neosegregation, nonsegregation, Civil Rights Movement, abolition, white-over-black, Brown v. Board of Education, Plessy v. Ferguson, Frederick Douglass
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Farley, Anthony Paul, Perfecting Slavery. Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=655243