Dr. Tanya Jeffcoat
Intro to Fiction: African American Literature
12 March 2017
The Political Poison of Space Traders
Within Derick Bell’s Space Traders, the characters can be compared to late twentieth-century politicians. Within the story, the United States government is using a racist mindset—many of the white Americans believe the problems that the Traders are willing to fix are caused by the African American population. Tying this to Derrick Bell’s significance, the “trade” follows his theory of racial realism—race has been in place for so long that social consequences arise from it. It’s obvious that Bell is comparing the “trade” to the beginning of African American slave trading, and that slavery and this trade are occurring because racism is permanent in the United States. The fact that our society is operated and ran to accord for whites and undermine blacks allow for the repetition to occur. There are many political positions present within the story that allow for the assumption that Bell is comparing the story’s characters to late politicians.
Professor Golightly, an economics professor, was the African American protagonist in the story. He also served as member of the president’s cabinet. His beliefs revolved around the idea that African Americans need to be independent and stand up for themselves. While he has a unique perspective on the black population, African Americans tend to look at him more as an advocator for whites—he refers to himself as “Uncle Tom by my people.” Bell portrays him as a black conservative from the late-twentieth century racial feud—the two ideas of race at the time were centered around the conclusions that races reflected different species, or that it depicted the different variations between the one species of human. Golightly is not respected by the black population because of his conservative ideas and his support of anti-black views.
The traders also exemplify a late 1900 political standpoint—they are only worried about what they want and need—the African Americans—and they have no feelings of how the trade will affect America. When the traders use a voice similar to former president, Ronald Reagan, this showed their dominance in obtaining their wants.