As Europeans invaded the Caribbean, deforming and decimating the indigenous “Caribs,” they began to use the islands as an experimental archipelago in terms of both the social organization of categories of human the ecological arrangements of flora and fauna.
It is the mutilation of land, personhood, spirituality, sexuality, and creativity.
“No human contact, but relations of domination and submission.” It was a process of alienation from geography, self, and the possibility of relation.
The “collision of the Old and New” covers over the friction of a less smooth, more corporeal set of racialized violences.
In the language of exchange, it might be assumed that something was given rather than just taken.
On his second voyage in 1493 to the New World (modern Dominica), Columbus initiates the first transatlantic slave voyage, a shipment of several hundred Taino people sent from Hispaniola to Spain.
In 1496, he returns from his second voyage, carrying around thirty Native American slaves.
Wynter argues that the importance of the New World is in its dual processes of the “reduction of Man to Labour and of Nature to Land under the impulsion of the market economy.” Wynter forcefully demonstrates how “Man” appears as the ontological signification of Whiteness and how this rational man is established as the biologically selected being, established first through Cartesian man and then through biologism as an advanced evolutionary subject within concepts of geologic time.
Weheliye calls this “dis-dentification, wherein whiteness connotes the full humanity only gleaned in relation to the lack of humanity in blackness.” The effect of this doubling of Man/Whiteness in the natal moment of “his” heuristic formation disabuses the idea of humanity as an ontological category that has a nonracialized primacy.
Weheliye argues, “In black culture this category becomes a designation that shows its finitudes and exclusions very clearly, thereby denaturalizing the ‘human’ as a universal formation while at the same time laying claim to it.” In reclaiming humanity as a heuristic operation rather than an ontological formation, Wynter plots the historic formation of Man as a racialized subject that is exclusionary at the point of origin, and precisely because of the history of those murderous origins.