I’ve long been skeptical of the philosophical concept of the “social contract.” It always sounded anachronistic to me. The social contract is supposed to go back to prehistory, but the whole notion of a “contract” is actually a modern Western notion.
But I never thought about who gets to participate in the social contract. Back in 1997, Charles W. Mills published “The Racial Contract” in which he takes on philosophers like Rousseau, Hobbes, and Kant. Apparently, in that book he argues that the people who get to participate in the social contract are white people. And if white people are the only people who get to participate in the social contract, then people of other skins colors… well, maybe they aren’t really people, but sub-people.
Cornell just issued a 25th anniversary edition. I really should buy a copy and read it….