First . . . racism is ordinary, not aberrationalnormal science, the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country. Second, most would agree that our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material. The first feature, ordinariness, means that racism is difficult to cure or address . . . . The second feature, sometimes called interest convergence or material determinism, adds a further dimension. Because racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class people (psychically), large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it . . . . A third theme of critical race theory, the social construction thesis, holds that race and races are products of social thought and relations. Not objective, inherent, or fixed, they correspond to no biological or genetic reality; rather, races are categories that society invents, manipulates, or retires when convenient.
Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction 7 (2001).
Are we men!! I ask you . . . are we MEN? Did our creator make us to be slaves to dust and ashes like ourselves? Are they not dying worms as well as we? . . . How we could be so submissive to a gang of men, whom we cannot tell whether they are as good as ourselves or not, I never conceive . . . . with our blood and tears. The greatest riches in all America have arisen from our blood and tears: And they will drive us from our property and homes, which we have earned with our blood.
Franklin & Moss, supra note 1, at 194.
Soon after the War of 1812 sectionalism was apparent as the North swung to manufacturing and the South, still wedded to agriculture, came to see clearly that the interests of the section were becoming antagonistic . . . . In the South . . . the plantation system tended to preserve frontier independence: there was little communal life, only slight civic responsibility, and little interest in various programs for the improvement of humanity.
Id. at 193.
I pity the poor in bondage that have none to help them; that is why I am here; not to gratify any personal animosity, revenge or vindictive spirit. It is my sympathy with the oppressed and wronged, that are as good as you and as precious in the sight of God . . . . Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.
Id. at 218.
The public symbols and constant reminders of [the African Americans] inferior position were the segregation statutes, or Jim Crow laws. They constituted the most elaborate and formal expression of sovereign white opinion upon the subject . . . . [The] enforcement [of] the segregation codes [was] comparable with the black codes of the old regime . . . . That code lent the sanction of law to a racial ostracism that extended to churches and schools, to housing and jobs, to eating and drinking. Whether by law or by custom, that ostracism extended to virtually all forms of public transportation, to sports and recreations, to hospitals, orphanages, prisons, and asylums, and ultimately to funeral homes, morgues, and cemeteries.
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow 7 (Commemorative ed. 2002).