Writer, Curator and Brand Strategist
@ Miss Rosen
based in New York City
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Miss Rosen is a journalist, curator, and brand strategist specializing in art, photography, and contemporary culture. She has contributed essays to books by...
OFF WHITE: Curated by Akintola Hanif
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The concept of “race” is a political, social, and economic construct designed maintain a system of double standards that sees one group benefit through the oppression and exploitation of everyone else. Its roots were planted in the Virginia colony during the late 1600s, when political leaders found themselves loathe to give up their bond servants, and the children born unto them, after their period of servitude had been completed. At the same time, it became clear peasants were as difficult to govern in the New World as they had been in the Old. Peasants were prone to band together and rise up against the ruling class, with no thought towards the fact that their ancestries differed from one another.
Desperate to find a solution to these quandaries, the leaders of Virginia invented a new group of people, legislating “whites” into existence in 1691. Under these new laws, they established the concept of race, where “whites” were given certain rights that “blacks” were denied. Divide-and-conquer is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and the played the card for it all it was worth. At the close of the seventeenth century, race was beholden to legal and economic control, weaving injustice into the fabric of the nation before it even existed as such.