Statement: The University of California is Racist.

The University of California is Racist. 

We believe that the trend towards privatization within the world’s leading public university system is reflective of historical and state-sanctioned anti-blackness, evidenced so blatantly not only by the nation’s neo-imperial policies abroad, but also by the University’s policies towards students and workers. 

Bodies of color are being routed away from the university system to feed into the prison and military industrial complexes. These are financial generators that produce and retain wealth to further American imperial megalomania. The growing divide between the rich and poor in the United States is not an accidental phenomenon. Closing the doors of the University to people of color—except to clean its halls, serve the food, or maintain the grounds as outsourced labor with miserable wages and no benefits—and abusing those allowed entrance who seek to unbar the door is a necessary step in creating a permanent underclass—an underclass miseducated about how their fragmentation contributes to their oppression. 

The abuse meted on black bodies is not for black bodies alone, but for those who stand in common cause with anti-racist and anti-imperial struggles. Privatization of the UC system is meant to harness the wealth of California’s people and put it directly into the pockets of the industries that profit by death—industries that kill our possibilities to create their profit. 

The interests of the state have always conflicted with the interests of people of color, beginning with the carving of the globe into racialized geopolitical entities. We know that the construction of a black/white dichotomy fragments communities of color.  Your academic institution deploys this dichotomy vis-à-vis elevating Eurocentric philosophy, history, political science and languages, for instance, as general education requirements while denigrating ethnic, gender, and queer studies as cursory or elective fields. Although students and workers across California fought to institutionalize Black, Ethnic, Native American, Chicano and Latino, Asian, Women’s, and Queer Studies programs within California’s UC, CSU, and community college system, this struggle was only one narrative amid a plethora of hard sought gains for many communities. However, if the institutionalization of these programs was seen as an end point, similar to the election of a Black man as US President or appointment of an African American as Chancellor of a University of California campus, then we would not feel the need to call the University of California racist. 

Moreover, UCI’s racist outsourcing practices and attacks on workers offer a startling glimpse into the grim future of the University of California system and the brutal reality currently facing working class communities. UCI is the State’s innovative new model for the new millennia’s neo-liberal hacienda. Outsourcing targets workers of color, particularly women, for super-exploitation. In California, these workers come from Latina/o immigrant communities that are especially susceptible to racist intimidation from the State. UCI takes advantage of this intense racism and uses it in the same terrorist manner as that of the U.S. when intervening in Central American countries.  

The demarcation of the globe into racialized centers parallels the philosophical justifications for imperial expansion and subjugation of non-white peoples. The natal alienation felt by Afro-Americans, and the terrorism inflicted upon all people of color are subtended in the deployment of white heteronormative capitalist patriarchy. In other words, in order to keep whiteness in power, capitalism must be maintained. Moreover, the maintenance of a global capitalist system depends on the ideological division between those who are allowed to accumulate wealth—a byproduct of slavery and other forms of genocide—and those who are systematically subjugated into positions of surplus labor.   And in order to maintain the power of white heteronormative capitalist privilege, state-sanctioned anti-blackness policies proliferated. And always, always, the state’s dematerialized body maintains the subjugation of women, particularly queer women of color and our transgender family, at the bottom of this hierarchy in the interests of maintaining white, male, capitalist domination.  

Whiteness depends on the construction of Blackness for its very existence, and this taxonomy feeds off of the destruction, the brutalization, the erasure of Black existence to maintain its hegemony. We implicate the University of California system along with the Military Industrial Complex, the Prison Industrial Complex, and the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the U.S. within this framework of power relations. This should come as no surprise.


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