|Imagine America on the first day of the 21st century. At the break of dawn, a thousand space ships descend from the sky, landing on the shores of the East Coast, bearing treasures of gold, safe nuclear power and detoxifying agents that could pay all debts and save the earth's environment. In exchange for these goods, guaranteed to rescue America from the excesses of its past, the Space Traders want just one thing -- to take all African Americans back to their home star.
What would our leaders do? White Americans were once capable of rationalizing Black slavery; would they be capable of justifying the trade of all African Americans to space, to improve their own lot on earth?
The situation is a chilling fantasy. But for Derrick Bell, the prominent civil rights activist and former Harvard Law School Professor, the danger is very real. In Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, Bell uses allegory and historical example to argue that racism has always been an integral, permanent and indestructible component of American society.