Using Heideggerian tool ontology to investigate antiblack racism in the United States, Ontological Branding: Power, Privilege, and White Supremacy in a Colorblind World provides a novel account of race and racial justice. Bonard Iván Molina García argues that race is best understood as a tool to brand persons of color, particularly Black persons, as subordinate in order to privilege whiteness as the proper state of persons in a world created by and for persons and in which all (and only) persons are equal. Persons of color, particularly Black persons, are thus excluded from full participation in the rights and privileges of personhood and instead relegated to ways of being in service to the white world. This white supremacist system was created through law, and despite significant changes, U.S. law’s current approach to racial justice through colorblindness only serves to safeguard white supremacy. Racial justice instead requires a critical race consciousness that accounts for the ontology of race. Racial justice requires ontological justice.
Bonard Iván Molina García is an international arbitration attorney and independent scholar based in Washington D.C.
Chapter 1: Tool Ontology
Chapter 2: Ontological Brands
Chapter 3: A Genealogy of (White) America
Chapter 4: The Pale and Inconspicuous Presence
Chapter 5: Ontological Justice as Racial Justice
About the Author
With his analysis of "ontological branding," Bonard Iván Molina García illuminates the ways that racial power is exercised without the intent or decision of any actor at all, as just part of what is taken for granted within the dominant mode of consciousness that Molina García unpacks so well. Molina García's central idea, that being itself is central to and a factor in the grammar of racial ideology, draws on difficult philosophical concepts that he renders both accessible and compelling. Molina García makes important contributions to the study of how race works in a liberal society that proclaims itself colorblind. Ontological Branding is a powerful and sophisticated new work of critical race theory.
A thoughtful, occasionally personal take on the complex and perennial problems of racial identity, subordination, and law. Using a classic philosophical approach to theories of being, Bonard Molina García invites us to think about what is so special about being a person, and therefore what is so destructive about the legacy and burdens of racism.
Ontological Branding offers some important insights on the superstructure of inequality in America and beyond, demonstrating how racism and other forms of oppression can persist beyond the conscious acts of malicious individuals. Here is a framework worth expanding upon in future scholarship, especially as regards the role of class throughout history, given that the bodies of serfs or the proletariat were literally regarded as tools for their rulers and employers. Molina García offers a real model for the application of Heidegger’s tool ontology far beyond matters of race and American history, potentially reshaping how we regard the nature of oppression at large.