Journal Article — The Dual-State Character of U.S. Coloniality: Notes Toward Decolonization — by Steve Martinot

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Abstract

I begin with the story of Jack Johnson, the black prizefighter of the early 20th century who won the heavyweight championship against huge hostility. This introduces the operation of the color line in the U.S., not just as a boundary surrounding white supremacist society, but as the structure of obsessive anti-black populism, whose violence perpetrated against the black community in the U.S. reveals the operation of white racialized identity and its sense of social sanctity and impunity. I examine this white populism as representing a “state” that stands alternate to the Constitutional state. I call a “byelocolonial” state (“byelo-” from Greek meaning “white”), whose operations involve the entire history of white racist violence from the slave patrols and the KKK to police impunity and the prison industry today. I regard this dual state structure as exemplifying Fanon’s important point that the Hegelian master/slave dialectic is inadequate to describe colonialist domination, racism, and the structures of racialization as they appear in the U.S., because these phenomena operate by obviating mutual recognition. I relate Fanon to the dual state structure as a way of introducing a perspective of decolonization with respect to it.

Recommended Citation

Martinot, Steve. 2007. “The Dual-State Character of U.S. Coloniality: Notes Toward Decolonization.” Pp. 371-382 in Reflections on Fanon: The Violences of Colonialism and Racism, Inner and Global—Conversations with Frantz Fanon on the Meaning of Human Emancipation (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume V, Special Issue, 2007.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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