by Matthew Chase

*To catch up on Part 1, click here

Civilized nobility is a main staple to the vampire mythology. Up to this point in the historical and media narratives, the vampire has been consistently framed as belonging to a noble family or coven. This nobility is indicated as a result of royal or upper-class lineage, with the white power structure unsurprisingly reflecting a Western aristocracy. The vampire is elite, as their characteristic pale skin signifies who exactly is supposed to benefit from the systems of racial oppression. Yet as terrifying and monstrous as the vampire might prove to be, humanity is nonetheless finding itself equally drawn to it inexplicably. The vampire is particularly appealing for the sense of power, privilege, and excess that comes with being one. Perhaps the most renowned quality to the vampire other than its infamous blood-thirst is its immortality. This is not necessarily exclusive to the vampire either, as whiteness also carries with it the gift of immortality to those who can afford it. Although it might not be physical immortality, white immortality is instead grounded in wealth and specifically the inheritance of wealth.

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Historical systems of racism are not just oppressive, but privileging as the wealthy elite are overwhelmingly white. This wealth remains in the hands of vampiric whiteness, a monstrous redistribution among the already wealthy (i.e., the vampire nobility). The infographic above demonstrates the entrenched and growing affluence of vampiric white America, its reach extending from the past to the future, foreboding a legacy of racial wealth inequalities. It is no accident, and it will not go away.

It would take literally centuries for families of color to have the same kind of wealth that an average white family has today. Home ownership provides white families substantially more wealth than black families, whether they’re higher-class or working-class. The wealth divide is not just represented in income levels, but it also crosses educational achievement, career trajectories, and other spheres of everyday life. Schools today are returning to segregation-era status quo, where white schools receive more funding and resources to maximize their students’ academic performances while students of color continue to fall behind. Systematic gaps in offered wages and job opportunities persist and increase, boiling down to racial discrimination practices. The wealthiest one percent of whites own half of all U.S. financial assets (e.g., stocks, bonds, cash, etc.), and the wealthiest fifteen percent of whites own almost all of them. Most contemporary vampire narratives no longer are bound to the request-permission tradition when it comes to entering a home, and it shows in our reality. Why ask for permission to enter when the vampire already owns the home they are trespassing?

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It is not to suggest that permission had ever been asked in the first place. Even before whiteness became racialized, and even before the vampire became a narrative of racial supremacy, their histories were nonetheless built on blood and conquest. The United States emerged as a global superpower in no small part to a Western culture of conquest that employed strategies of violence, land dispossession, and ideological persecution against marginalized peoples. Exploitation paved allowed for this culture of conquest to gain the technologies, the soldiers, and the brutality necessary for westward expansion to the Americas. Undead capitalism is the latest incarnation of this culture. Just as the vampire seeks out humans for sustenance and power, the colonialist seeks out resources like territories and even fellow humans for the same agenda, “penetrating” what were framed as virginal lands. Yet they were in reality lands enriched with advanced social systems and thriving economies that the Western world would come to drain and adapt for the sake of its own supremacy. The vampire is now symbolic of the colonial systems of dominance and oppression.

The final part of this series is coming soon to a blog near you.

“The essential and defining characteristic of childhood is not the effortless merging of dream and reality, but only alienation. There are no words for childhood’s dark turns and exhalations. A wise child recognizes it and submits to the necessary consequences. A child who counts the cost is a child no longer.” – Stephen King, Salem’s Lot