Opportunity Hoarding and Critical Race Theory
Webster defines opportunity as a favorable juncture of circumstances. Another definition of opportunity is a combination of circumstances favorable for the purpose. Other descriptions are ‘advantageous chance,’ ‘an opening,’ and even ‘a break;’ leading one to the conclusion that opportunity is a positive and pleasant occurrence. In fact, opportunity is thought to be so pleasant that American poet and renowned essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “America is another name for opportunity.”
Hoarding, on the other hand, is characterized as not so pleasant excessive acquisition, caching, or perhaps storing a supply of something: often secretly – to keep for oneself. Hoarding, a term of exclusivity and a silent covenant of power, is the precursor of dysfunction, chaos, disconnect, and oppression. Hoarding can be a hushed stratagem of tyranny.
Charles Tilly (1998) How to Hoard Opportunities, in which he coined the phrase ‘opportunity hoarding’ writes: “When members of a categorically bounded network acquire access to a resource that is valuable, renewable, subject to monopoly, supportive of network activities, & enhanced by the network’s modus operandi, network members regularly hoard their access to the resource, creating beliefs & practices that sustain their control” (91). Opportunity hoarding can be an effective and potentially dangerous tactic of systematic and deliberate exclusion if the intent of the hoard is exploitation.
Born from legal scholarship, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a living, breathing, ever-growing undertaking of interdisciplinary scholars and activists interested in studying and changing the relationship between race, racism, and power. “CRT recognizes that racism is ingrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture” (UCLA).
The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. My believing this with all my heart does not change the facts that the original polices, laws, and procedures detailed in the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of America, was never intended to give justice, equality, human/civil rights to all its citizens. It was written to ensure power and superiority to White men of wealth, while continuing to oppress/suppress the poor and non-white citizens, especially former Black African Slaves.
August 21, 1858, Lincoln’s first debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Ottawa, Illinois. Read what Mr. Lincoln had to say about the idea of perfect social and political equality between the White man and the Negro: “There is a physical difference between the two,which in my judgement will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position.” Is it possible the physical difference Mr. Lincoln is speaking of is the color of their skin?
The government of the United States of America is founded on the principle that the White men with wealth and power are superior to all others, and that the poor, non-white, and Black American taxpaying citizens are subservient to them and should not ever be afforded perfect social and political equality. Opportunity hoarding is “When members of a categorically bounded network acquire access to a resource that is valuable, renewable, subject to monopoly, supportive of network activities, & enhanced by the network’s modus operandi, network members regularly hoard their access to the resource, creating beliefs & practices that sustain their control” (Tilly).
America is an opportunity hoarder of social justice and perfect social and political equality.
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