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The Racial Contract


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Table of Contents

The Racial Contract is political, moral, and epistemological
The Racial Contract is a historical actuality
The Racial Contract is an exploitation contract
The Racial Contract norms (and races) space
The Racial Contract norms (and races) the individual
The Racial Contract underwrites the modernsocial contract
The Racial Contract has to be enforced throughviolence and ideological conditioning
The Racial Contract historically tracks the actual moral/political consciousness of (most) white moral agents
The Racial Contract has always been recognized by nonwhites as the real moral/political agreement to be challenged
The "Racial Contract" as a theory is explanatorily superior to the raceless social contract

About the Author

The late Charles Mills (d. 2021) was Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center, after previously teaching at the University of Oklahoma, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University. His books include Blackness Visible and Black Rights/White Wrongs.
Tommie Shelby is the Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University.


Mills radically challenges us to reevaluate how we think about social contract theory, the concept of race, and the structure of our political systems. This is a very important book indeed.
*teaching philosophy*

Mills contends that the ground zero of Western democratic societies is not the mythical social contract that has prevailed among political philosophers but a 'racial contract.'

This book is a testament to Mills's expertise as a philosopher, a scholar, and a downright intelligent writer.
*Small Axe*

An important and timely reminder of the ways in which a philosophy which ignores race is bound up with the privileging of whiteness.
*Women's Philosophy Review*

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