Derrick Bell's "Space Traders"

Essay by nextoneoutUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2002

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In looking at Derrick Bell's "The Space Traders" as an allegory, the characters personify the abstract subjects of late twentieth-century racial politics. In the text the politics of the United States revolves around anti-black thinking, and many white subjects believe that all the environmental and economical problems in the U.S. is due to the black race. Secondly, "the space trade" comprehends Bell's concept of "the permanence of racism" in the Unites States. Bell believes that "the space trade" is somewhat familiar to the first African slave trade, and that these two events occur because of "the permanence of racism" in our society and the structures that allow this repetition to exist. In this essay I will discuss the political positions of the subjects in "The Space Traders" and the extent in which they personify late twentieth-century racial politics, and then analyze "the space trade" and comprehend it with Bell's belief in "the permanence of racism" in the United States.

In "The Space Traders", Gleason Golightly, a black economics professor who is an unofficial cabinet member of the president, believes that black people need to stand on their own feet. Although he always has good intentions for the black race, he is considered an Uncle Tom by the black community because of his political positions. In "The Space Traders", Golightly says, "As you know, Mr. President, I have supported this administration's policies that have led to the repeal of some civil rights laws, to invalidation of most affirmative action programs, and to severe reduction in appropriations for public assistance. To put it mildly, the positions of mine that have received a great deal of media attention, have not been well received in African-American communities. Even so, I have been willing to be...