Capitalism = Systemic Racism? (part 2)

Given the criticisms of and interest in my last post on capitalism and systemic racism (notice, as Seattle points out in a comment to that last post, this is systemic racism I am talking about not just individual racism), let me elaborate a bit by condensing some arguments I make in The White Racial Frame book.

Recall the specifics of Karl Marx’s analysis of the world-shattering significance of this European imperialism:

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. . . . Capital comes dripping from head to foot from every pore with blood and dirt.

Clearly, the early rise of Western capitalism on the world scene is very rooted in the global seizing of the land, resources, and labor of people of color by violent means. That is, this global oppression was soon systemic and fully racialized in a white racial framing of superior whites and inferior people of color (i.e., in systemic racism). This global theft of Native American and African labor by state-sanctioned capitalistic enterprises did not end after the first century of European wealth generation, but lasted for centuries, to the present.

From the 16th to the 19th centuries the European colonial invaders forced a political-economic and demographic reorganization of a large part of the globe at the expense of many indigenous peoples of color. The Spanish nation state was the first to plunder on a large scale indigenous societies in the Americas for land, mineral, and labor resources, but its growing wealth was soon countered by imperial expansion of English, Dutch, and French nation-states and private companies seeking wealth from overseas exploitation. European nation-states and private companies, such as English firms operating in the Caribbean and North America, discovered huge profits were to be made from overseas agricultural plantations using enslaved African labor on indigenous lands. Researchers have shown (see sources here) that by the end of the 18th century the lion’s share of profits coming into British coffers came from overseas slave plantations producing agricultural products.

In North America, English colonies were often state enterprises created under auspices of the king or state-fostered enterprises developed by entrepreneurs, plantation owners, and merchants. English joint stock companies were formed by merchants under the auspices of James I. Employees of the Southern Company settled Jamestown, the English colony that brought in the first enslaved African laborers. A principal objective of colonization was to secure land and raw materials and develop markets. Once land was taken, the Europeans’ search for labor led to the extensive use of the African slave trade, critical to exploitation of land and other resources of the Americas. The private-sector and state-sector collaborated in global exploitation and enslavement, soon rationalized in a white racial framing. (See the evidence in, for example, Eric Williams Capitalism and Slavery.)

Celebrated social scientist Max Weber wrote famously of the “Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism” in assessing the fostering conditions before and around modern capitalism. However, in this European economic expansion one sees what might more accurately be termed the “predatory ethic” of Western capitalism. Central to European colonialism and capitalism was a predatory ethic that asserted the right of Europeans to take the land and labor of others by violence for their own individual and collective gain.

We should underscore a key dimension of this European colonialism, one that critical analysts of capitalism have seldom emphasized: the highly racialized reality of this European colonization and early capitalism. Marxist analysts and numerous other critical analysts have ignored or downplayed the racist architecture of centuries of Western colonialism. Most major groups that were central to both early and later European accumulation of wealth in this global colonizing system were non-European, and each of these groups was soon denigrated (the word literally means “blackened”) in an increasingly developed Eurocentric white framing of colonialism and the colonial societies thereby created.


  1. Blaque Swan

    Exactly! The OWSer’s are okay with economic injustice and wealth inequality. It’s their being denigrated that’s causing such anxiety. So long as they were part of the 70%, they were okay. But now that they’ve been pressed down with the rest of us, now that they’re part of the 99%, there’s a problem.

    Think about it, right? Like I commented on the first post, only in the country’s best economic years has the black yearly unemployment rate been as low as what the white unemployment rate is now. Since 1972 (which was a far back as the Bureau of Labor Statistics thingamagig []went for African Americans), our lowest unemployment rate came in 2000 at 7.6%. The next lowest was 8.3% in 2007, just to give you some perspective. A quick look easily places the average unemployment rate for blacks in the double digits; as since 1972, our employment rate has only gone as low as single digits 7 times. And of course we’ve been told to take personal responsibility for our problems. We’ve been told we are too lazy, don’t take education seriously enough, are too promiscuous, too dependent on guvment handouts, etc. Blah, blah, blah, you get the idea.

    Meanwhile, white unemployment rate has only just reach its peak at 8.7% in 2010. And now that it’s starting to look as if the average white American is lazy or uneducated . . . now that even white women’s marriage rates and single motherhood are starting too look like those of black women – you know, those domineering, emasculating Amazons – “Oh, my! There’s a problem!” And whether it’s the tea partyists, who equate taxes to white slavery, or the occupiers, who rejected John Lewis’s initial request to speak a few moments at Occupy Atlanta, or whether it’s those women who’re going on “slut walks” . . . whoever it is and whatever their professed cause, white folks refuse to be treated like people of color. They refuse to have their privilege denied.

    Of course, none of these people will admit to race playing a roll in their activism. But mind you, benign neglect is neglect nonetheless. It’s as though white America have seen their neighbors’ houses on fire – you know, they catch glimpses of the burning houses through the window. But if asked if their were fires raging in their neighborhood, they’d say no. Only when the fire reached their picket fences did they bother to call 911.

    Now, I didn’t read all the comments on the first post. While I’m aware that there were some criticisms, I know nothing of the specifics and have no clue what this post is responding to. Is their any serious doubt that Europe and its diaspora accumulated their wealth at the expense of people of color? If not for the wealth generated by slavery, there would’ve been neither the industrial nor the American revolution. Even the tea the original Party threw overboard was cultivated by African slaves in the Caribbean. (Thanks for wasting all those days of labor.) And part of their ruse was putting on red-face.

    Once the system was in place in the Europe and the colonies, it began to feed itself. The coffee, sugar, and tea cultivated by slave-labor were the 18th century’s “energy drinks” for the factory worker heroes of Charles Dickens novels. And to imfort’s point on the previous post, while it’s true that not all white Southerners of 19th century America owned slaves, it’s also true that they hoped one day they would.

    When it comes to economic justice, it’s been blacks who’ve fought to join labor unions or form sharecroppers’ unions. We’ve been fighting for justice since we got here, and we’ve been more than willing to join with our white comrades in such efforts. So like imfort points out, if we were to join whites in occupying Wall St, exactly how would that help us? Once the economy has been righted, and white unemployment goes back below 6%, won’t we still be the “99%”?

    • Seattle in Texas

      President Obama could have used these folks much earlier, as when Senator Sanders was trying to filibuster the economic Wall Street bail outs, and during the last elections that served to heavily tilt the house in favor of the republicans…. Where were they then? 🙁

      In terms of the wealth Europe acquired at the hands of people of color…I personally tend to think of that not so much being practiced in the same way it was/is in the U.S. They went out and brutally colonized the nations of color (which includes stealing people to for slavery on different lands and genocide of course), destroyed their cultures and traditional ways of life, and laying claim to the natural resources thereby further exploiting the natural lands and environments, then implementing ruthless social orders on the raped colonized nations that serve to feed the capitalist while keeping all the blood and despair within the confounds of the colonized nations of color….

      I suppose for me, the state of the U.S. and its relationship with England prior to the Revolutionary War comes to mind…something along those lines with relation to the global colonization coupled with slavery being practiced in the U.S. while westward expansion was clearing out the AI groups through genocide…. Much unjustified accumulated wealth that goes way back and concentrated in very few….

      • cordoba blue

        I know this doesn’t count for much with you because it doesn’t “fit” into your neat little categories of good guy/bad guy..but Africa was no paradise before Europeans began exploiting its people and resources. Northern Africans (mostly Muslims from Persia) used Sub-Saharan black Africans for slaves for several thousand years before New World European colonists began transporting them. Also, and I know you’ve heard this but refuse to acknowledge because you call it “derailing” or “denial” or some convenient catch phrase, African slaves would have been impossible to round up as easily as they were without the help of other Africans.
        Africans selling Africans into slavery was Big Business according to Professor Henry Louis Gates. He says that the image of white men throwing nets over Africans in western African coastal villages is inaccurate. It was other Africans who conquered other “kingdoms” and then sold these captives to whites for guns, metal knives, whatever. There were African middle-men who sold and traded other Africans.This is not to diminish the horrors of what white people did to Africans. They didn’t have to buy the slaves, but the Africans didn’t have to sell them either. It was an agreed upon arrangement between two willing participants.
        Many Cherokee Indians also owned black slaves. This is a Youtube posting called “Black Slaves: Red Masters”. Many of these slaves were included in Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and took part in the Trail of Tears. And Native Americans were not kinder masters than whites, by any means. Please read this comment by the now-chief of the Cherokee Native Americans. She says she knows about this and it was not an aspect of her Native American history she’s proud of. Many blacks were sold from one Cherokee to another.

        But what many African Americans are afraid of (and you are too) is that this will lessen the culpability of the white race. No, it doesn’t. But historical accuracy is always important, is it not? If you hate the white race for the transgressions they inflicted on black people, you must also hate other races too. If you don’t, then you are not being a true historian. You are using white people as scapegoats for the cause of all evil. Which is a little absurd, don’t you think? Like if white people disappeared off the face of the earth, everybody would be holding hands in brotherly love and dreamily staring into each other’s eyes. It’s sad that you really believe this. It’s so naive and child-like.
        There are genuine reasons to become an anti-racist. We don’t need to “pad the details with fallacies” or recreate history exactly to our liking. And we don’t need to pretend that there are things happening within the black community (men getting women pregnant and then leaving them to raise children alone) that can’t be fixed by the black community itself. To address problematic behavior that is hampering some African Americans from achieving a comfortable life style does not equate with maintaining the “status quo” as you term it. The status quo within many black communities of generating fatherless children is absolutely not one “status” I personally would like to see continue.Because too many children are suffering terribly.

        • Seattle in Texas

          First off, I’m not a historian. Second, I really don’t understand how all this stuff goes over your head. You seem educated. While it’s historically true what you said, who were the primary beneficiaries (both short and long term) of the oppression people of color were exerting on other people of color? Who were the primary beneficiaries (both as individuals and groups and nations) of the bloody and lethal colonization throughout the world? What do you think influenced them (people of color) to do so (engage in the slave trade and practice slavery, as well as even genocide against their own) in the first place? They didn’t just come up with it on their own and it was not pre-colonization and where they voluntarily encouraged European colonization to come forth. And why do you suggest Africa was not paradise before the Europeans invaded and colonized? Not that I would suggest anywhere in the world has ever been a paradise, but why would you excuse Africa’s colonial and post-colonial’s state of extreme devastation by suggesting, from the white racial/racist frame, that it wasn’t a paradise then? And how do you not see African American poverty in contemporary times as the direct result of slavery and Jim Crow? And then go on to suggest it’s Blacks who need to be held accountable for their oppression and the issues they face today as a group, are those they need to fix independently of white society or the greater U.S. society? (do not any of the racist social structures need any modification to help reduce the effects of all types of racism that plagues Black America today so their living circumstances can be improved as a whole?) As if all the exploitation and wealth of whites is then justified. And are you aware of not only the systemic racism that affects groups of color, but the deeply embedded institutional racism to serves to also works against them? Are you aware of how white privilege operates in this society in terms of different treatments resulting in different outcomes, such as, in the criminal justice system, educational system, and on and on and on? So what, in your world the whites just ignore history and their role racial oppression plays–or acknowledge it, but then suggest nobody is held accountable in any way and it’s up to the oppressed communities to fix it themselves (without any changes in the social structures)? The U.S. shouldn’t give any apologies or reparations to AI or AA groups for the massive crimes against humanity this nation is guilty of? The U.S. shouldn’t change its policies so that all people could live in environments that are truly “pro-family” where all their minimum needs are met without it being labeled as “welfare” or “charity cases” or “laziness”, etc., etc., etc.? Oh but wait, that would require a re-distribution of resources and some re-socialization of the masses…even more honest presentations of history in the history books and other texts students are fed during the K-12 years.

          Why don’t you read any of the literature on racism and the anit-racist literature? It’s clear you are familiar with some stuff, but then you twist it around into inherently racist conclusions. And considering you refuse to actually read the texts that would help you make more sense of the arguments made on this site, well technically you shouldn’t have to as it’s all spelled out for you throughout this blogsite (they spoonfeed you here)–how do you not get it? Your deep commitment to white supremacy and the right is apparent–and considering you are only willing to see things from the racist standpoint, why do you come here?

          I will watch the videos you left–I’m sure they are worthwhile, as some of the links you have left before have actually been good.

          Well, awwww shucks, I will leave you one in return:

          • Blaque Swan

            As a historian, I can sure you that no one believes Africa’s participation in the slave trade was truly voluntary. It may have started out that way – whether selling debtors as slaves or things of that nature (you know, like European debtors’ prisons and prison colonies). When it comes to invading other ethnic communities for slaves, it’s wrong to think of it as “Africans selling Africans.” A better way to think of it is as the Ibo selling Yoruba, the way Germans might’ve sold the Gauls. It’s also very, very important to remember that American style slavery didn’t exist in Africa. In Africa, you weren’t a slave for life, it wasn’t something you were born into, and the brutality and violence of American slavery was exceedingly rare in Africa. In fact, Arab slave-traders didn’t regard African slavery as “slavery” and felt American slavery was the worst sort. It wasn’t long at all before Africans wanted no part in the slavery trade. What would then happen is that Europeans would threaten to take slaves from one group if they wouldn’t sell members of another. Many African chiefs and chieftesses had to fight Europeans in order to end their involvement in the slave trade. Queen Nzinga Mbande of Angola comes to mind. She kept her kingdom out of the slave trade for a seriously long time.

            Another thing that’s important to bare in mind is that very early during the period of Europe’s American invasion, African slaves and Europeans indentured servants banded together to rebel. But after a few too many of these bi-racial uprisings, the upper crust decided to separate the groups and give European servants more rights and privileges than had the African slaves.

            Besides, Europeans were actually impressed by Africans upon their initial meeting. Today, we low-rate oral traditions, but upon those first trades (of goods, not people), the Africans’ memory of the terms and details of trade were as reliable as any European written account. Europeans were incredibly impressed by that. Plus, the Africans smelled good, what with their daily bathing and all. (You’re familiar with Palmolive Oil, yes?) It was only after Europeans realized the benefits of life-long slave labor that Africans become indolent and brutish, etc.

            Moreover, so what if some black Americans owned other blacks as slaves and actually treated them as such? What’s that got to do with the price of cotton? Not all European colonialists joined the revolutionary cause, and in fact, some of the more strenuous battles in rural/country areas were between revolutionaries and loyalists. There’s always going to be a sell-out in the group. So to any argument relying on, “well Africans sold other Africans,” or some such things, I say, “And?”

          • Seattle in Texas

            Thank you–was that not beautifully said? It was. My own education on Africa and the history of Africa is a bit sparse, but I know it wasn’t like the way white historians like to suggest, re-create, and/or fabricate….

            …and historians don’t have to be racist to be historians, right? *googly eyes* Maybe some historians would wish that to be the case…. Thank god, however, it’s not so….

        • Imagine

          That’s funny because I know a hella more white men who abandoned their kids than black men including my own father. Now isn’t that a coincidence. Why don’t white men need to take responsibility for their abandoned and unwanted children? Why are you always attacking the Blacks when white people do the same damn s***? I thought it takes two to make a life so why is all the burden put on the black men? Your wrong about black men not playing a role in a child’s life. Every black man I know supports his children if he has any and his families children in someway. Such as through being an uncle or cousin, and even nephews. I guess black people have no feelings when it comes to family according to you. Black mother will take care of their children regardless if their is a fatherly figure or not. If you care so much about black children you should care more about eradicating racism than worry about single parent black homes because the kids are going to experience more damages from racism in society than they will in the safety of their own families poor or not and single or not. Do you know how many father slaves were killed or stripped from their children? Black men were not aloud to be husbands or fathers during slavery. I assume you will put the blame on Black men for not being fathers to their children back than too?? Am I right?… OR.. Am I right?

          You explained yourself with this quote “If you hate the white race for the transgressions they inflicted on black people, you must also hate other races too. If you don’t, then you are not being a true historian.” So let me know if I’m correct you have to be actively racist to be a historian?? I don’t get it…. let me read it again.. Okay, I don’t get it..

          Another question. “You are using white people as scapegoats for the cause of all evil. ” If you cannot see what happened historically between the whites and blacks and other groups of colors.. why were the whites aloud to put laws against black people? Did the whites not beat them, use them, enslave them, rape them, torment them, abandoned their offspring with black mothers which they still do today? If I came from a black family that lived through Jim Crow and Slavery I would view the white society as evil myself. But… not the anti-racist whits because there were some good whites back then.

          • cordoba blue

            But… not the anti-racist whits because there were some good whites back then.

            So, back-in-the-day, there were some good whites? Now, those people are gone? Where did they go?
            Also, it’s an epidemic among poor black families that men are indeed getting women pregnant and then leaving. This is why black males join gangs, so they have some male role model..whether it’s positive or negative.
            May I ask how you make your living? Own your own business? Work for a company? Work for any organization that got it’s start-up through the dreaded capitalist/free enterprise system? Yes, no? must work for a state operated institution. In that case, are you paid according to your expertise or the same as everyone else, even though you have/don’t have an education? Because (boo!) you probably are part and parcel of the capitalist system you claim to despise.
            And if it’s so despicable, China or Cuba will be happy to accept a new citizen, comrade. Just remember, you won’t be able to criticize the gov in these systems. No name-calling of politicians, no creativity, no “I get to pick my job and where I live”. None of that. Tsk, tsk. You get an id number, an apartment, an assigned job. If you work your butt off, you get the same as the guy down the assembly line who pretends to work all day while reading Sponge Bob cartoons. Anyway, bon voyage! Write a postcard from Havana. Love, Cordoba 🙂

          • Seattle in Texas

            First off I second everything Imagine says above…Imagine, that person is a trip….

            Cordoba, so your suggesting all Black males are gang members and abandon their children? And like Imagine says above, what about white men who bring children in the world and don’t take no responsibility? What, and you don’t think whites don’t join gangs too??? It’s only Blacks? Seriously? Where do you think the gang stuff came from to begin with anyway? And do you think a fathers who are in gangs, affiliated, or previously involved, would love their children any less than white middle class white man? Speaking of white men and gangs, the Freemasonry stuff is all over Texas–somebody suggested you have to look at the Masons no different than the stereotypical “gangs” as they are basically “gangs” with rituals, territories, etc., and all. Where did the gang stuff come from in the Black communities? Not just Black communities for that matter, but white, Latino, Asian, etc., etc., etc.?

            Why do you assume getting rid of racism and other inequalities in the U.S. will inevitably lead to the type of lifestyle you suggest with regard to China and Cuba? You never answered me on Tito btw….

          • Imagine

            I’m sorry it took me a while to respond cordoba, but working in this capitalist system is stealing all my valuable time. Anyway, as I was saying racism in America is mainly due to politics and a long history of racial rankings. The anti-racist whites who disagreed with the racist whites viewed black people as human beings just like them and there have been some. Where did they go? Many were murdered for wanting to help black people. Why is it always this and that about black males with you..? What about white males? I know a couple of white men who have slept with black females and got them pregnant and left. What about white men like that? Is it not the same on what you say only black men are doing? Well it probably doesn’t affect you because you’re probably white yourself. Now you’re saying this is why black males join gangs… how about the “white gangs” like the KKK, so its okay for white males to rape and murder blacks and get away with it just because they believe blacks should have no equal rights? As far as gangs, there probably wouldn’t be any in the first place if there weren’t any racism and inequality. How about discrimination do you think whites discriminate against black? I know blacks discriminate against whites due to the fact that many white people lie about the black race and make them look like wild and violent human beings. But that’s not the same as whites discriminating against blacks and I know there’s a lot of discriminating by whites against blacks. And my make of living doesn’t matter. I don’t want to act like I’m above anyone or that I’m better than anyone. I’d rather help a situation than let one get worse. I see jobs of all sorts’ hospitals, fast-food, doctors, police men, and much more. Most jobs you need a degree in order to find a good paying job. With fast-food jobs I have met people that are retiring from there and people who work part time while others are in school. Sorry but I do not work at an operated institution. If I did I’d most likely meet you there. I don’t agree with the capitalist system and see no need for it. I was born in America FYI I will criticize this nation and government due to racism, racial ranking, and greed as much as I want. There’s a lot that needs to be changed in this nation. If it takes me to say these words to you than you are racist otherwise I wouldn’t even come back and take the time to respond to you. I won’t blame you for your upbringing and the influence your parents and grandparents brought upon you along with growing up in a racist nation. It’s okay, you can still change for the good. And with Cuba, and I know you ain’t be talkin smack bout Che. And don’t worry I will respond back to you if you have another dumb comment in response to me. A’ight, I gotta bounce. Peace out homeslice

      • Blaque Swan

        Where were they then?

        Exactly. I said on the first post that this is one reason I, personally, find the US OWS a bit insulting. I was advocating for this sort of thing very early on. If there had been an OWS January 2009, perhaps the bailouts would’ve had more strings attached. Maybe we’d have the public option, or universal medicare. I’m resisting the temptation to say “too little, too late.” I guess “better late than never” is more appropo.

        As for European colonialism, what makes it all the more frustrating to me is that Europe just left. Just up and left and has never paid reparations or restitution or anything. They just up and left. Be it Africa, Asia, or the Americas. Even today, the idea of Europe paying reparations to Africa, the Americas, and Asia is not taken seriously. Australia is like the US in that European settlements took hold. But as far as I’m aware, not much is done in terms of reparations and restitution to the aboriginal peoples. Much the same way not much is done in terms of R&R to US and Canada’s First Nations.

        And if that weren’t enough, US pollution is hurting Africa’s climate. I’m aware that some people reject that idea as ridiculous in that US pollution can’t reach Africa. But if nuclear radiation from Japan can’t make it to the US east coast, certainly our pollution can reach Africa. One estimate I’m aware of has the cost to African agriculture at hundreds of billions. And btw, if trade with Africa was increased by 5%, aid could be cut by 50%.

        When it comes to all the violence on the continent, ie war(s) in DRC-Congo, blood diamonds, etc – where do we think the weapons and funding are coming from?

        • Seattle in Texas

          I didn’t catch it in the first post–but yeah? Where were they? Things could potentially on a very different path for the U.S. And agree with everything else–you always you say it best, Blaque Swan 🙂

          • Seattle in Texas

            you do you do–and with the finest accuracy, honesty, class and elegance…and that’s what makes this site better is that you will indeed always say it 😀

  2. cordoba blue

    Joe, I acknowledge that the colonialism and capitalism, AS PRACTICED by the white European settlers to the New World, included subjugating non-white peoples: Native Americans and Africans in particular.
    However, by definition, the practice of capitalism does not automatically mean racism will be inherent in this practice. One can implement capitalism without practicing racism whatsoever. The fact that white Europeans did this does not mean that it is the capitalism itself that is the problem. Maybe this post gave commentators pause because many Americans make their living by practicing capitalism and free enterprise. Nobody is willing to throw capitalism under the bus. Perhaps because the alternatives, as shown by history (fascism and communism) scare the heck out of most Americans.
    Many novels were written about life in the Soviet Union: Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World. They all emphasized the extreme de-humanization that extreme socialism creates. I don’t think America is ready to give up the right to be an individual, to think creatively, to practice freedom of religion, due process under the law, to keep what one earns for oneself and have the right to earn as much as you’re willing to work for. Nobody is losing sight of the positive aspects of American life because there are still so many of them.
    I think to ask people to dismiss capitalism is to ask people to throw away everything they actually value about America. Isn’t the whole purpose of fighting racism to give all ethnic groups the benefits this country offers? And isn’t a free enterprise/ capitalist system one of those benefits? I just don’t think people are ready to throw the baby away with the bath water.

    • Imagine

      “Nobody is willing to throw capitalism under the bus.”

      Why are you speaking for everybody?? Cuz, I and most I know would gladly throw capitalism under the bus I’d even keep running back and forth over it just to make sure it’s dead and it doesn’t come back to life. WHY would you not throw it under the bus??? Hello??

  3. cordoba blue

    Blacque Swan stated that blacks fought to form labor unions: “When it comes to economic justice, it’s been blacks who’ve fought to join labor unions or form sharecroppers’ unions.”
    Blacks have actually been discouraged BY WHITES, from assisting whites, in forming labor unions for decades.
    Economist Ray Marshall, although a prounion secretary of labor under President Jimmy Carter, made his academic reputation by documenting how unions excluded blacks from membership in the 1930s and 1940s. Marshall also wrote of incidents in which union members assaulted black workers hired to replace them during strikes. During the 1911 strike against the Illinois Central, noted Marshall, whites killed two black strikebreakers and wounded three others at McComb, Mississippi. He also noted that white strikers killed ten black firemen in 1911 because the New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railroad had granted them equal seniority. Not surprisingly, therefore, black leader Booker T. Washington opposed unions all his life, and W. E. B. DuBois called unions the greatest enemy of the black working class. Another interesting fact: the “union label” was started in the 1880s to proclaim that a product was made by white rather than yellow (Chinese) hands.
    Furthermore, when black people have legally objected to racism within the work place BY UNION MEMBERS they were not supported.
    Case in Point: Trade unions have been said to have ineffective policies on racism and sexism, such that a union is justified in not supporting a member taking action against another member. This was demonstrated by the 1987 judgment in the Weaver v NATFHE case in the UK, in which a black Muslim woman brought a complaint of workplace racist harassment against a co-trade unionist.
    The court found that the union, had it offered assistance to the plaintiff, would be in violation of its duty to protect the tenure of the accused member, and this judgment remains the precedent for cases in which union members who make complaints to the employer of racist or sexist harassment against member(s) of the same union cannot obtain union advice or assistance; this applies irrespective of the merit of the complaint.[38]
    Labor Unions have not been the friend of the black man unfortunately. White people began the protest of unfair labor practices in the 1800’s and infrequently allowed black people to participate.White people who joined unions saw African Americans as competition for white job positions.

    In the early 19th century, many men from large cities put together the organization which we now call the Trade Union Movement. Individuals who were members of unions at this time were skilled, experienced, and knew how to get the job done. Their main reasoning for starting this movement was to put on strikes.
    However, they did not have enough men to fulfill their needs and the unions which began this trendy movement collapsed quickly. The Mechanics’ Union Trade Association was the next approach to bring workers together. In 1827, this union was the first U.S. labor organization which brought together workers of divergent occupations. This was “the first city-wide federation of American workers, which recognized that all labor, regardless of trades, had common problems that could be solved only by united efforts as a class.” This organization took off when carpentry workers from Philadelphia went on strike to protest their pay wages and working hours. This union strike was only a premonition of what was to come in the future.
    Today in America, trade unions have not been as effective in the past because so many corporations out-source their labor needs to other countries, especially the Asian basin. This is one of the primary factors of unemployment in America today. If this trend continues, even with a highly skilled work force, American workers will never be able to compete with foreign workers willing to do the same job for much less money.

    • Seattle in Texas

      cordoba bluew–I think Blaque Swan made her point by stating that they fought to join labor unions and organize sharecroppers’ unions, thus I wasn’t sure if you were actually elaborating on her comment with explaining further the role racism played in discouraging Black workers from participation and involvement with white dominated union activities and memberships? It was not in the best interest of the white working class to divide by racist racial constructs, by doing so they empowered the owners of the means of production…these same responses go back to slavery with paid labor versus slave labor–the people were pitted against each other not by their own choosing and in the proletariat’s (as a collective) worst interest, thereby securing obscene levels of profits for years to come through the massive oppression of the workers of all colors.

      What do you think the culprit is that causes people to act so irrationally that they end up favoring less power and greater oppression over the very empowering ideals unions claim to embrace–solidarity, collectivism, workers rights, etc.? And do you see the role systemic racism plays in all this?

  4. cordoba blue

    Seattle posted: It was not in the best interest of the white working class to divide by racist racial constructs, by doing so they empowered the owners of the means of production.
    I agree. And of course I was trying to explain how racism played a part even within an organization devoted to equitable treatment. Why did you have to ask? You insist on demonizing me and all white people so relentlessly that it blinds you to the anti-racist comments made by whites. Like, “Did a white person say that? I thought all whites had tails, horns, claws, and carried a red trident!”
    Why would I stick around this long if I didn’t hate racism? Just because I think you’re naive and wide-eyed and pout alot, doesn’t mean I approve of cruelty toward other races. It’s just very difficult to communicat with you. You should stop reading my comments. They only confuse you. Sorry you get befuddled when you read my stuff. 🙁

    • Seattle in Texas

      awww poor cordoba blue, 🙁 Actually I was going to stop reading your comments but you responded to one of mine with your usual racist responses…and for whatever reason I read it. If you hate racism so much, then why aren’t you in favor of eradicating racism, as Imagine observed above? Why do you consistently defend and excuse white supremacy? Why are you against white society being accountable and taking responsibility for its history? I can continue on with the why’s…but I think the biggest one really is why aren’t you in favor of eradicating racism if you hate it so much?

      Nonetheless, I’m glad, well actually surprised, that we actually agree on something–that is amazing in and of itself. And I’m glad you were elaborating on Blaque Swan’s post–nicely done. I was going to say, if you were trying to be antagonistic towards her as usual, I think you actually failed that time…. 😉

  5. ThirtyNine4Ever

    I still say that capitalism by definition does not mean that systematic racism will follow. Just because all historical evidence shows otherwise does not mean that conclusion is correct. There would have to be no possible capitalistic system without systematic racism for that to be correct.

    • Blaque Swan

      Yeah, it depends on the situation. In strictest economic terms, capitalism doesn’t equal racism. But . . . we’re not really discussing capitalism in its strictest economic terms, you know?

      Already, capitalism by definition involves wealth inequality because ability is naturally unequally distributed throughout society. Then add in human nature for stereotyping and same-group bias . . .

      • cordoba blue

        Finally, somebody actually stated we’re not discussing capitalism in economic terms. Yet, would somebody please give me an ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM that most Americans would accept?
        Nobody is offering to do this. What’s the implication? Wealth “equality” in the Soviet Union did not work. Everybody in Russia wanted to defect to America. Plus, people in Cuba who immigrate to America have nothing but negative things to say about Cuba. People who I tutor from China say it’s so much easier to get an education in the United States because there are so many more colleges and community colleges.
        So what’s the implication with the capitalist-haters? If we rid ourselves of capitalism, will racism disappear? I’d really appreciate an answer after all these numerous arguments and counter-arguments.

    • Seattle in Texas

      Then, how would have capitalism been carried out without inevitably resulting in systemic racism? How would the capitalists stratified human populations (both within and between nations and countries) in non-racial/racist ways? How would they have colonized nations of color in ethical and non-racialized/racist ways? How would they have accumulated world domination and massive amounts of wealth without invading and conquering nations of color? Could capitalism have exploded the same without genocide, slavery, theft of land, etc., at the cost of people and nations of color? I’m trying to imagine capitalism could exist without not just systemic racism, but any racism. How would populations throughout the world be stratified in the world of capitalism in a non-racialized/racist way? (both by people and nations?) And even if the U.S. said “Okay okay, to make capitalism ‘fair’ we need to assign equal portions of people by all racial and ethnic groups to the different positions of the economic hierarchy so that we have equal amounts of abject poverty, poverty, lower class, middle class, middle upper, and upper class between all groups” those of color at the bottom still will not have victims of all types of racism. In addition, the attempt to make all groups proportionately “equal” within the stratified capitalist system would fade because of differences in inherited wealth and accumulation of social capital, etc. between groups over the last few centuries.

      If capitalism does not equal systemic racism, then equal numbers of people by racialized/racist social constructs would have been victims of slavery and genocide, as well as land theft, etc. For some reason, this logic did not make sense to the European colonizers. Why is that?

      In terms of invading and conquering other nations–people needed to be de-humanized so that the genocide, slavery, and bloodshed could be justified and perceived as “ethical” in the minds of the capitalists and colonizers, such as through conceptions of manifest destiny and enlightenment that spurred Social Darwinism that made whites virtuous and godly in contrast to people of color. And I don’t think the victims of racist colonization and capitalism were like as follows (except with the intro saying: “Here’s one for the people and nations of color!”

      But I suppose it’s as Blaque Swan says above, it depends on how strictly you adhere to the definition of capitalism…(?) And I would suggest further the adherence of the strictness in definition would likely vary by people who are members of the majority group in power vs. members of groups who’ve been on the receiving end of the inhumane results of capitalism and systemic racism….

  6. 2spirit

    The articles of capitalism and systematic racism reminds me of Anibal Quijano’s coloniality of power. Just as Karl Marx, Quijano addresses how Europe accumulated capital from the colonies by genocide, land theft and resources, as well as enslavement and rape of Native people and Africans. Another issue that he strongly addresses is that racism developed in the colonies and how eventually it created the wealth and power of Europe and the U.S.. Whereas Europeans at home and abroad worked for some type of salary, Native Americans and African Americans did forced labor without pay. Capitalism during colonialism created a dichotomy of who gets paid and who doesn’t. Along with linking racism with capitalism, Quijano discusses the repression and erasure of cultural identities and forms of knowledge of Native people as well of African Americans with the imposition of Western forms of knowledge by claiming as being the only legitimate and objective form.

    I enjoy reading Racism Review and I found these last two articles to be intense and powerful. I also found very informative reading some of the comments.

  7. cordoba blue

    Can we just say where this was supposed to go? There’s an uneven distribution of wealth in America. Now, let’s say we divide this wealth absolutely evenly. Everybody earns the same amount of money. Period.
    Let’s see what happens next. Some people, who are motivated, will still work harder than others. Some people who never were motivated, will just sit on their fanny all day and be glad they can buy beans without working.
    And then (and this is the part I wonder about) RACISM WILL DISAPPEAR! Really? Like African Americans will embrace white people and start inter-marrying like crazy. Asians in America will begin inter-marrying like crazy with Latinos. Latinos will begin having the babies of African Americans. Native Americans will begin having Chinese children. WoW! It’s that simple.
    It’s fun to “hate the status quo”. But very difficult to make logical workable changes. Government programs within a free enterprise system can greatly aid poor people. And allow poor people to climb up the meritocracy system like they should be allowed to do without hindrance.
    But some people think EVEN THAT’S NOT ENOUGH. No! People who worked their whole lives, if they’re white, should have their savings taken away and given to anybody who’s poor..even if they’re poor (white or black) because they dropped out of high school and now sell coke on the streets. Even if they’re poor (white or black) because they robbed a convenience store and are now serving time in the state pen.
    And the other people (and of course this includes African Americans!) who worked their patoot off for years have all their savings taken away and given to the coke dealer. WoW! Talk about dismantling white supremacy! That’ll show them! This “tactic” is not about white supremacy or fighting racism. It’s about motivation. SOME PEOPLE JUST AREN’T MOTIVATED all day long.
    There are African Americans who have achieved middle class status because they were motivated. Do they still suffer from racism? Yes, but at least they live in a decent house and can send their children to college. Racism is emotional and psychological. We can eradicate some of it with education.
    However, some of it is not so easily addressed. Some ethnic groups will never fully accept, socially anyway, some other ethnic groups. But, as I see it, we can’t address the social/psychological aspects of racism. We can address the legal and economic aspects however. If we remedy those, we can hope someday that the social front will take care of itself. We can’t give people lobotomies to compel them to stop thinking in racist least I don’t think so. lol!

  8. marcg

    Henry Louis Gates is an Uncle Tom. EVERY serious anti-racist in the US (that knows who he is) knows that.

    I like the OP (parts 1&2). Very interesting. Discussing what this means for the OWS movement is much more interesting than trying to educate one poster exhibiting subtle racism. I’m down here in the ATL and the occupy scene is pretty weak, pretty pathetic. All the criticisms in these threads would apply here.

    Anyone in this discussion participate in Occupy Oakland? They seem to have dealt with racial divisions better.

    • Seattle in Texas

      Hello marcg,

      I’m in Texas and I have no comment on the action down here. But in response to the other comment–join in and strengthen the discussions. I liked that article Joe put in Part I at the beginning on the criticisms of Wall Street and how the author actually got at systemic racism–good stuff. Anyway, I hope you will help strengthen the discussions on here. And it’s up to you on whether you engage with cordoba blue or not…I keep falling in a trap and engaging finding my time much wasted.

      And the same goes for anybody that’s reading and interested–regardless of level of education and so on. We go the trolls…or try…and some still manage to occasionally get through some how….

  9. cordoba blue

    @ marcg:
    Atlanta has one of the largest black populations in America. And you’re saying the OWS movement there is weak? Why is that? Aren’t African Americans psyched up about this movement in Atlanta? And if they’re not, then why not? Don’t they think they can make a difference?

  10. John D. Foster

    While systemic racism and capitalism might not be synonymous, systemic racism and capitalism in the U.S. are awfully close. Furthermore, I think it’s problematic for neo-Marxians and others to believe that ushering in socialism would help to eliminate systemic racism, for that matter. Not to sound too deterministic, but as Joe has written before, we live in a “total racist society” and systemic racism permeates all major social institutions. I think cordoba and others would benefit by reading Oliver C. Cox’s “Caste, Class, and Race” in which he argued that the capitalists installed fascism in order to defeat proletariat-led revolution (i.e., communism). For a good summary on this, see As we continue to languish in Afghanistan, see the tax cuts for the wealthy extended, and poverty increase despite electing Obama proves how much Cox’s work remains relevant to this day. Another great read on this issue from Cox is his “Capitalism & American Leadership” (

    • Blaque Swan

      Furthermore, I think it’s problematic for neo-Marxians and others to believe that ushering in socialism would help to eliminate systemic racism, for that matter.


      Yeah, it’s important to remember that. Thanks for the reality check. Not that capitalism even in the absence of any racism is something to build towards, by any means. But the central problem is race, not the particular economic system. If for no other reason than were it not for racism, white members of neither the 99% or the 53% would regularly, and knowingly, vote against their own economic self-interest.

      • Seattle in Texas

        That’s true about the economic systems and racism…though I would not give up support for things that ensure all people, regardless of who they are or “how hard they work” have their basic needs met (healthcare, food, shelter) and I certainly would not give up my own support for the lone wolf, Senator Sanders and his strides…. But it’s very true that there would still be racism in a socialist economic system, or any for that matter….because as you note, the central problem is race

        But! I am very surprised about how whites do regularly and even knowingly actually do vote against their own economic self-interest!! …or maybe really not knowingly? I don’t really know. Poor through middle class whites in Texas are heavily anti-union, anti-Obama, etc., etc., etc., very much pro-republican… 🙁 (I’m sure plenty more beyond Texas…) and they would rather vote and organize “by color” than “with color”…. Not to say democrats don’t have issues too, but….

        • Blaque Swan

          Millions of white Republicans proudly situation social issues as more important than economic issues. Especially religious Republicans. I resist the urge to go through all the contradictions in such a stance, but there you have it. Once upon a time, the South was solidly Democratic, then there was the Civil Rights Movement (and subsequently gender and sexual orientation movements), then all of a sudden, the white South becomes solidly Republican.

          Racism notwithstanding, I’d go for socialism everyday of the week. The biggest hurdle to overcoming racism in either system is getting white America to acknowledge its existence. (If it’ll help anyone get the medicine down, having a pro-white bias has the same negative impact as an anti-black bias.) Disparities will exist in either system because both involve a market where race becomes forms of capital and credit.

          Also, I wanna thank Dr. Foster for the suggested readings, too. Cox’s CASTE, CLASS, AND RACE is available for free at

          And just for clarification – I don’t wanna give the wrong impression – I’m a historian in that I got my BA in history. I’m not a professional historian, not a teacher or a museum curator. The degree gives me the right to call myself a historian (I checked!), and as much as possible I do stay read; as a matter of etiquette and personal integrity, I don’t share information I can’t credibly source. I do know what counts as good history and what doesn’t, ie primary vs secondary resources, etc. But I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve visited various archives across the country. I haven’t. Just the one at college working on my senior honor’s thesis when I got sick.

          • Seattle in Texas

            Well, I don’t think level of degrees really say much about people and what they know vs. what they really understand, or in being in touch with the world and so on–as some folks say, there’s “book sense” and “common sense” and/or “street sense”. There are many folks who’ve never stepped foot in a college that are better experts in history than folks that have graduate level degrees in the field. Same with sociology, and so on. But in short, a good illustration is with your presentation on how we should look at Africa with relation to slavery is better and more accurate than other folks with higher degrees and who’ve been apparently stamped with more “authority”, like Henry Louis Gates (I don’t and haven’t kept up with him btw)…which is why I personally would like to see people of all education levels on here–regardless of how things are expressed or presented. Anyway….

    • Seattle in Texas

      Thank you for the readings. I like the way you put that and it made me ponder on why I can easily think of systemic racism and capitalism basically being one in the same and even used synonymously or interchangeably in many respects, but how too, I can see them as being differentiated and used independently based on the context and exact focus of conversations.

      Personally I would have no problem speaking of capitalism as a “separate term” if systemic racism was a taken-for-granted concept/theory in society and the role racism played in the formation of the capitalist economic system was also taken-for-granted. If that were the case and it was assumed or understood by everybody when referring to, or using the term “capitalism” as a term “separate” from “systemic racism”, it would make less sense to argue whether they are different or the same, or equal, or whether capitalism –> systemic racism, however one wants to see it. But for now, with the term “capitalism” by definition as it currently sits, not including or acknowledging racism in its definition or its relationship with systemic racism, is problematic. It allows for capitalism to be talked about “race free” and in ways that deny the historical and contemporary realities of racism has played/plays and how that has privileged some at the direct cost of harming others and so forth. It allows for discussions on capitalism and racism to be convoluted and grossly distorted through people reducing the blame and misplacing the focus on the oppressed rather than the oppressors. The problem with using the term “capitalism” by itself and in the strictest sense allows for the deliberate denial of its correlation with systemic racism, which makes no sense when capitalism actually is situated within systemic racism–at least I would argue so…. The list could continue on, but I see the two terms so closely related that they can actually be used interchangeably in certain conversations (and how at times using them separate would be more appropriate…as long as the word is being used within a theoretical systemic racism framework), yet how the term “capitalism” is severally crippled when systemic racism is stripped away and/or ignored and the very definition of “capitalism” is then actually, by definition, technically incorrect and inaccurate…I don’t know if that made any sense…but the term capitalism needs to be updated and include racism….

    • Seattle in Texas

      and I mean, capitalism – systemic racism = colorblind capitalism??? :S It makes no sense to think of the two as separate if one wants to understand and use them accurately and within an honest context….

    • cordoba blue

      “I think it’s problematic for neo-Marxians and others to believe that ushering in socialism would help to eliminate systemic racism, for that matter.”
      Absolutely ditto. Because we do live in a total racist society, the elimination of capitalism will never eliminate racism. So why equate capitalism with racism in the first place? One did not cause the other. The biases on this site are really interesting. If I make an observation I get “booed”, but if John D Foster says the same thing it’s labeled a “reality check”.LOL! It’s really about “Hey who’s side you on anyhow!” Which is not very sophisticated.
      Sounds like the game Congress plays. Each political party wants credit if something positive happens in this country,and each party wants to assign blame to the other party for anything negative. I think we need to be careful it’s not our egos we are defending instead of the concept of anti-racism.
      I think my idea that anti-racism needs to be legislated, and is and not a concept that will gain momentum by asking the liberal white left to keep running on the “sympathy” ticket, is a very valid one. Use laws and mandates to back other ethnic groups (because it’s not just whites who are racists) into corners, wherein they must practice business not based on creed or color.
      The termination of affirmative action was one of the most devastating blows to racial equality this country ever enacted. It was horrible. And so historically predictable too, unfortunately.AA was the type of legislation with teeth. That’s what we need.

  11. cordoba blue

    “There are many folks who’ve never stepped foot in a college that are better experts in history than folks that have graduate level degrees in the field. Same with sociology, and so on.”
    So people who’ve never set foot in a college know more about history, in many instances, than people with graduate degrees in history? Have you ever had a history discussion with someone who dropped out of high school? I’ve had plenty. It’s pretty interesting. This is an exact replica of one of those conversations:
    Me: Can you tell me anything about American history? Just anything.
    Student: Abraham Lincoln
    Me: What about Abraham Lincoln?
    Student: Emancipation
    Me: And what does Emancipation mean?
    Student: I’m not sure.
    Me: What do you think it means?
    Student: I heard the word, but I forgot what it means.
    Me: OK. Can you tell me anything else?
    Student: WW II.
    Me: What about WW II?
    STudent: The Holocaust.
    Me: What was the Holocaust?
    Student: The Holocaust was WW II!
    Me: Have you ever heard of Nazi Germany?
    Student: No.
    See, this kid was physically present in the classroom, but not psychologically there. He “didn’t like to read”. Had no intellectual curiosity whatsoever. This is what happens when you scorn “book lernin”. You pretty much end up with an empty bowl without any fruit inside. That’s not to say we shouldn’t read with a critical eye and read broadly: not from just one source but many. But, ladies and gents, it sure beats getting your history lessons “from street talk”.
    It’s this glorifying lack of education by “whoever”..liberal lefts, extreme idealists, hippie New Age “let’s derive wisdom from staring at pyramids rather than books” that excuses children from applying themselves in school.
    By the way, wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Wisdom involves how you apply your accumulated knowledge. However, knowledge can take you a long way if it’s coupled with logic and wisdom. And what you don’t know CAN HURT you. If you’re in the woods and eat poisonous plants because your knowledge base is deficient regarding which plants are safe to eat, well you won’t survive.
    Racism and its history works the same way. Henry Louis Gates made a life time career out of studying black history. Yet people claim, “You (no graduate degree, not even a teacher)know more than he does!” Or, “Nobody respects him. He’s a Tom!” These comments are emotionally driven. They’re not about logic. One is intended to flatter. The other is intended to insult because perhaps Gates discovered something in his vast research that didn’t “fit” into the commentator’s world view. So the people who’ve spend life times researching history take second place to “street smarts”? Again, this is emotion speaking, not logic. Not science based on empirical data.
    It’s fine to be emotional and passionate about your subject, but just throwing out opinions that have no basis in FACT is harmful if you really want to make progress.
    Sociology, especially, needs to be viewed with a scientific eye because it’s one of those soft subjects whose “findings” can sometimes be open to many interpretations: ie who participated in the study, what was their educational level, how many people participated, did they volunteer to participate or were they paid, where did you find the participants, who conducted the interview, how familiar with the subject was the interviewer, in what environment was the interview conducted, was the interviewee alone or with “influential” friends who might cause a conflict of interest when said interviewee was questions? Complicated.

    • Seattle in Texas

      I didn’t read everything you wrote–but the word “kid” did catch my eye…anybody ever tell you to never call children “kids” before? Like a person whose never been to college before and living in abject poverty?

  12. John D. Foster

    I’m sorry if you feel like you’re being picked on, cordoba. It’s a pretty interesting topic, i.e. can systemic racism be eradicated if AND ONLY IF capitalism (or the capitalists…careful not to reify the capitalist economy and/or social system) is overthrown? I like to think of avoiding determinism of any kind, economic or otherwise, but perhaps ushering in a socialist economy in the U.S. would lead to less racism. It seems like white Americans must be forced to share the pie with nonwhites, and I suppose that would mean less racial inequality, at least in terms of societal resources. On the other hand, movements towards “socialism” in this society have generally meant more resources allocated to whites while denying the same to blacks and other nonwhite Americans, e.g. Social Security, the Homestead Act, the G.I. Bill, FHA loans, etc. Meanwhile, “services” rendered to racial minorities were often inadequate or flat-out destructive to those who received them, e.g. poorly designed high-rise communities like Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis and Cabrini-Green in Chicago. If it sounds as if I’m going ’round in circles, it’s because I am; perhaps rather than seeing this as an “EITHER capitalism can exist without systemic racism OR it cannot” maybe there is some legitimacy to both views. I do agree that U.S. capitalism is unique because of our peculiar history–a history that is saturated with systemic/white racism.

  13. MindOverMatter

    Does Capitalism = Systemic Racism? Malcolm X answers the question plain and simple: “Capitalism, in its colonial question, breds racism” (Allen, Black Awakening in Capitalist America, 1969). When capitalism rearranges a people’s way of life and impose a new system of values foreign the native population which makes them inferior to the occupying nation…that is racism. This racism is systemic in regards to methods in which the occupying nation imposes its “superiority” over the native population usually in the form of violence. What resulted was the capital accumulation by whites off of the labor of “Third World” bodies.

    I would just like to say any form of racism plays the hand of capitalism in the game of world domination of people of color. Frantz Fanon argues racism is not a natural occurence, but a very element of culture. White culture has historically shown its heavily invested in racism whether it is the white male elites who own the means of productions or the white petty bourgeosie who police the elites property for a piece of white privilege. Capitialism is a European invention in which racism props up in order for whites to rationalize and justify the subjugation of people of color.

    We can get into Frantz Fanon if a candid discussion on white culture and racism is to be had. We can get into Robert Allen’s book I cited Malcolm X from to illustrate my case clearly in regards to corporate imperialism feeds off the labor of people of color. As we see with the OWS, whites are beginning to feel some inkling of what means to be Black in America. They now feel the bite of banks taking away from them…corporate imperialism is nothing new to Blacks. In fact, we have been complaining about this since we were able to legal hold property. But like it has been noted in this discussion, white privelege is not being “as recognized” by the white elite so whites feel they must make their presence known.

    • Blaque Swan

      Don’t get me wrong, I hope everyone confronted by police gets well. Don’t get me wrong.

      That said, a few bumps and bruises, and now there’s a problem with police brutality. Shooting black men who’re already handcuffed didn’t qualify as anything worthy of public scrutiny. But pepper spray burns? “Extra, extra!! Read all about it!”

      I completely hear what you’re saying.

  14. cordoba blue

    Seattle comments: “My participation on here is purely casual and informal. Thus, my views are not reflective of, or always in agreement with this site and/or in agreement and/or compatible with all the scholars who put up the main posts and/or participate in the comments.”
    Thanks for the qualifier. Sounds like a “Please agree to the following terms and conditions before signing” document. My views are not reflective/or necessarily in agreement with/or promoted by/ your sponsors. C’mon that’s funny Seattle, you have to admit!
    Actually, I think it’s courageous of you to tell the entire planet you were raised in such a liberal environment. I also think you have every right to your opinions. As an educator, however, I do take issue with children getting high before sitting down to “concentrate” on intermediate algebra. Most educators would agree. Most of the reason I take issue with your stuff is because you have a very whimsical notion of what it means to actually learn academic material. It does take work and some discipline, both concepts which you seem to find distasteful and somehow (and you’re right I don’t get this)racist. What’s racist about expecting any student to apply himself?
    I was waiting to get my car fixed yesterday and had a discussion with a black teacher who sat next to me. She was telling me how discipline in the classroom was getting more and more difficult to maintain because it seemed as if so many parents were not involved in the educational process of their children. School is not supposed to be day care. Teachers should not be burdened with teaching kids morals,values, table manners, diplomacy, tact,personal cleanliness, not to cuss, not to physically assault other children..the list is endless.
    It’s not that these issues don’t surface occasionally and shouldn’t be addressed, but not so much that the academic curriculum takes second place to the role that the child’s parents are responsible for! Yet more and more, we are disintegrating into a state where the state IS THE PARENT. Brave New World, but not so brave.
    It’s a myth ( at least it’s your myth Seattle) that black teachers are lax in the classroom toward other students of color. They are just as frustrated with children who refuse to take personal responsibility for their actions as any white teacher.
    The black lady I was speaking to in the car place told me both her parents were educators. Well, that fits. Educators know what it’s like in the trenches. We were also commenting on how parents HAVE NO IDEA what challenges the average teacher faces in the course of just one day. There was a survey done by Time Magazine about 20 years ago naming the most stressful professions. Teaching came in 3rd. I think air traffic controllers was first and police officers were second.
    It’s hard to even take role when kids are throwing pencils across the room, yelling about who was hooked up with whom last night, quibbling over who insulted whom about what, making fun of each other’s clothes, calling one girl fat and another girl too skinny or pimple-faced, telling another boy he’s so ugly he can’t get a girl, telling another boy he’s so dumb he “don’t know who your Mama is!” Anybody who thinks it’s a scene from Little House on the Prairie with the kids affectionally calling the teacher “Miss Lavinia”, has definitely taken the red pill and fallen down the rabbit hole.

  15. Seattle in Texas

    Whatever floats your boat. But it’s true–and yes, that was a disclaimer fyi…soooo. And nothing courageous–it just is what it is–it’s more common than what middle+ class professionals care to admit, at least publically. Bottom line is that I’m seriously tired of people like you acting like the white middle class is all perfect and does no wrong, then on top of it, trying to enforce your own racist and hypocritical thoughts and opinions on everybody else–as if there are no other people/groups in this society that may thing or feel otherwise, that being groups of color or white. But then when it’s addressed with whites, it’s some how only a phase and then they “grow up and get responsible”…uh hum. I’m stopping here because there’s too much to address and I don’t have the interest or time…but you should seriously reflect a bit more on your own assumptions.

    Then you apply this same logic here with regard to education–why don’t you check out C. Wright Mill’s discussion on the difference between a “personal problem” versus “social issue”…well, try to apply that to most social issues you try to grapple with.

    And again, your backwards in your thinking…if I agreed with everything you said–actually on occasion I do agree with something you might say, but approximately 95%+ I do not, all of my own education and time invested, would have been completely wasted. With that, had I had an education that operated out of your framework, I would have failed, completely. Not to say I have not had to study under folks like you…you remind me so much of this prof I once had who would claim she was totally anti-racist, yet had this strange crush on Thomas Malthus and co.

    Anyway, keep rambling. And keep throwing in your assumptions and twisting up my words–and include things I didn’t even say while doing so, as you did above, again.

    Again, you might want to check out some readings?? Just maybe? And it would be nice if you could do more reflecting on how the white group is treated quite different than groups of color, rather than being fixated on groups of color and how they need to change within this racist society.

    And I’m going to try again, to be done here–which cordoba am I responding to btw? I’m pretty sure there are at least two different people who come on here and post under this name…I’m almost willing to bet 3, but not 100% quite yet.

    • cordoba blue

      There’s only one cordoba. Totally telling the truth! I can’t believe you came up with the 3-cordoba meme. Too funny. I’m not even going to ask why.
      I guess when I get stoned, like your family usually was Seattle, I sound different? LOL! Who knows how your mind works.
      Stop pushing your superiority on me. You speak of tolerance, yet I find you extremely intolerant of the MIDDLE CLASS. Is this not a form of intolerance? Don’t you believe you are somehow philosophically above the middle class? Many people worked their entire lives to achieve middle class status, buy their own home, send their kids to college, save money for retirement etc. You spit and sneer on all that!
      I’m guessing because everything was handed to you on a silver platter so that’s why you scorn money (yucky!) Once you wrote on here, “A nice home and good food..that’s a white thing.” It was the most absurd thing I’ve ever read on here. Are you kidding? You know how many 3rd world families of all colors who are starving would cough up a lung for a “nice” home that wasn’t rat infested and decent food that wasn’t covered with worms or roaches?
      You are a spoiled affluent little girl with ingenuous ideas. Sorry, but nobody wants to buy into “the poor little rich girl”meme who suddenly decides that being poor is cool! It ain’t cool to starve to death.

  16. Seattle in Texas

    This trackback link exemplifies my point that higher education does not necessarily make one smarter or more legitimate…. “Wealth is ‘earned'” really? (so-what, sh*t work that offers little pay and generates no “wealth” is “earned” too? what about the “Distribution of poverty and oppression? Or the “Accumulation of ‘wealth'”? Maybe even take a stab at defining “wealth”) and “The current huge numbers in “wealth inequality” are solely caused by all the liberal/democratic policies of the last 50 years.” not to mention the rest of everything else on that page. Give me a break. Complete avoidance of anything that has to do with the role systemic racism, or any type of racism, has played in the economic inequality between whites and groups of color in this nation. Blaming basically Kennedy and ultimately LBJ for the current economic crisis for launching a war on poverty and attempting to dismantle the U.S. apartheid? Initially it was a steps in the right direction. Where’s the talk about the billions of dollars that has been completely wasted on the “War on Drugs” and the prison industry, and criminal “justice” system? What role has that played in reversing the antiracist strides that were made during the Civil Rights Movements? (while championed by the republicans, ultimately both major parties are responsible for?…) What about the billions of dollars poured into the “War on Terror”? What about the Wall Street white collar criminals that had their share in throwing the U.S. into obscene debt by apparently “earning” (I’m assuming whoever made that site would suggest they “earned” their wealth) the billions of dollars they flat out stole and got to keep (while still profiting massively on the debts of Americans that were generated by the folks who got the bailouts prior to the nation’s economic crises)?

    Total reinforcement of white supremacy and pretty lame. But a good example of how higher education does not always make one more smarter, wiser, more informed, more correct, more accurate, etc., if that person, or those people who created that page have a college education(s)…. And a good example of how people communicate one sided while withholding/avoiding the truth–a good example how the language used is designed to manipulate the ignorant (educated or not) and reinforce the “isms” in those who agree through conveying a very distorted and fundamentally racist presentation of history and social problems, up into contemporary times, here in the U.S.

    That would be a good link to use in a racial and ethnic relations course as a demonstration (snapshot the page to ensure the information is the same as shown at this moment in time)–or to use as a project in such a course by having the students critique it for an assignment.

  17. cordoba blue

    Seattle says:”But a good example of how higher education does not always make one more smarter, wiser, more informed, more correct, more accurate, etc.”
    I really wish you’d drop that sneering at higher education meme Seattle. If you believe street smart people are actually more knowledgable than college grads, I guess it begs the question,”More knowledgable in which areas?” If you’re talking about how to make home-made meth and selling it, then yeah, the street smart guy wins. Or hiding your weed from your street smart roommate, or breaking and entering your neighbor’s house, again, you are correct.
    But reading an insurance policy or your phone bill! That’s where I come in cause I can read. I think it’s extremely harmful to African American or ANY children for an adult to scoff at education. Education can literally save your life in many instances. For a person who calls themselves an adult to tell children that, “It’s OK to be street smart instead of all that book-stuff” is a travesty.
    On the other hand, not to worry.Too many American children already think education is ridiculous and embrace the street smart habits of smoking marijuana before “school” and thus have no earthly idea what’s going on in the classroom. You probably consider this a cool way to navigate through life. I guess it is if you want to spend it selling fries at McDonald’s for the next 40 years. This is why Europe and Asia are so far ahead of us academically. Because too many American kids think street smart will pay the bills. It won’t.
    Plus it’s insulting to African American children when you couple education with being white, and being street smart with being black. You are setting up a pattern that the children haven’t even considered yet. Not advisable.

  18. Seattle in Texas

    You clearly do not understand anything I say and you certainly don’t know how to “listen” and “hear” what others are saying. Obviously you are stuck in your own superiority. Whatever Cordoba. Again, have you ever studied the banner on this website?

    Thank you for at least hearing just enough not to refer to children as “kids”–those words come from a Native Texas Black woman who has lived in abject poverty all her life, is a descendent of slavery here in Texas, and is almost 100 years old–never been to college.

    The problems with the education system is that it is fundamentally racist–the education system itself, along with U.S. society in its entirety needs significant changing. It’s like a broken record on here–I’m not doing it any more and it’s a waste of time. If you understood anything about poverty, and poverty and racism, you would get that, at the very least–but you don’t. So whatever.

    And what is it with you and drugs? Seriously. You act like white people don’t do drugs or distribute–give me a f*cking break. When are the cops going to go and illegally raid the dorm houses on predominately white college campuses across the nation? Or raid white middle class homes and condos throughout white society? I just watched this documentary on “Meth” and it was presented as a “white” problem (at least in this presentation), thus, being treated as a serious issue where people “need rehabilitation” (rather than prison) with the goals of keeping the families together. Most of the areas this documentary covered was in the Pacific Northwest–surprise surprise. Yet I can guarantee you that families of color that might be plagued in some way with meth are going to face serious prison time and families. Same with any drug.

    In terms of marijuana use–I’m in favor of decriminalizing. It’s much more safe than most prescription drugs while helping with a variety of ailments from headaches, backaches, anxiety to cancer. However, it does have the opposite effect on some and those who don’t like it, prescribed or not, don’t have to use it. I personally think it’s not decriminalized because it would put much of the pharmaceutical industry out of business and the criminal justice system would have less reasoning to enforce its racist practices (while receiving less funding, etc.). I’m sorry, but I’ve never once seen a person get violent while stoned. Also, I grew up with adults smoking pot before marijuana was outlawed–no, not just Black and AI. OMG!! Some whites too!! HOLY COW!! What was the world like then? Some smoked others did not. It was treated much like alcohol where they would light up and wind down after work, just as people today crack open a beer after work. People were responsible–one word, simply “commonsense.” Recreational use among adolescents? Sure. I think there’s more recreational use today than there was back then simply because it’s been outlawed…but that’s a different topic. And I do see why some students of color would prefer to get stoned before they go to school while on that topic you decide to point out, even though white students too get stoned before they go to school–in terms of students of color in particular, they are entering into an environment that is quite backwards and against them in most every respect–including the curriculum. Blah blah blah–educate yourself a little if you so dare:

    On a final note, your timing is rather rude as I’m sure you well calculated and intended. There was a nice dialogue on Black philosophy going on and you try to come back with this crap again. I’m busy with other stuff and will be for the next couple of weeks, so here’s something keep you entertained…I figured it was right down your alley…ugh…

  19. cordoba blue

    Seattle says, “Also, I grew up with adults smoking pot before marijuana was outlawed.”
    I knew it! I called it way back didn’t I? I knew you were a affluent hippie. Now it all makes so much sense. No wonder you see the world while stoned all the time.
    I knew tons of friends in college (Oh NO! WHITE KIDS TOO!) who smoked weed and took hallucinogens. But after they graduated they became, I guess I would call it “responsible”, and stopped because they got married and had children to take care of. They didn’t want to be stoned while pregnant or parents. But as far as police giving white college students plenty of latitude, you are correct. They allow college kids tons of latitude and usually turn a blind eye to them using illegal drugs of any kind.
    The police are much harsher on black teenagers and young adults. It could be because they’re not enrolled in any kind of school, like college, and appear, anyway, to be directionless. It all depends on what lense you look at it through. But it’s defintely not just. I’ve seen this many times. Fraternity parties have many under-age students drinking and using illegal drugs and the police NEVER even poke their heads around.
    It’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy: “WE assume you’ll end up a criminal anyway, so why not just cuff you and get it over with.”
    I still think you’re on the wrong path with the “And I do see why some students of color would prefer to get stoned before they go to school”. This may sound facetious but have you ever ASKED an African American student why he/she gets stoned before school? Probably because school is boring and tons of kids would rather be stoned while bearing up under Why Teddy Roosevelt Was Called a Rough Rider.
    I personally know white kids who also got stoned EVERY DAY before school and many after school. I’m not getting too specific who. So it’s not about ill treatment. It’s a teenage thing in my opinion.
    Also, when I was a teacher, the teenagers specifically who had a very difficult time focusing (of any ethnic group) were often stoned or had hangovers, the old RED EYE. It was irresponsible and just put a big dent in their future possibilities. If you’re heads in the Jupiter when you have an opportunity to educate yourself, it’ll be tough to find employment in the competitive world after high school. But this is all that yucky middle class preaching you detest, so I’ll stop now. Common sense easily escapes you.
    Even police officers tell kids “Stay in School. Just Say NO to Drugs”. But you are indeed the exception Seattle.

  20. Seattle in Texas

    You’re definitely a trip cordoba blue. Thanks for constantly passing judgment on me and telling me who I am. I’ve gotta hand to ya–I’d seriously be so lost with out your input. And thanks for always taking upon yourself to put yourself above me to let me know when I’m right or wrong–setting me straight, you know. Glad your an expert in drugs, marijuana and hippies. Well, apparently an expert on everything. That’s great. What is the definition of an “affluent hippie” anyway?

    Again, everything I say goes over your head. Do what you gotta do and think what you want to think. Continue to repeat a direct quotes from comments that begins with, “Name says,” to begin your rants…really? Continue to avoid questions, readings, and leading the discussions astray off topic. Continue to rudely interrupt dialogues and be a distraction. Do what you gotta do.

    And thanks for disrupting the intellectually stimulating dialogue on Black philosophy with a ridiculously delayed response on this. Props to Black philosophy and the discussions on it at this site, as well as the scholars and commenters…recognition to Lucious T. Outlaw too, as he was introduced to me by a former philosophy professor back in Washington….

    I’m not engaging with you and your opinions and distractions anymore–it’s beyond old.

  21. Seattle in Texas

    oh and p.s.

    You might consider reading the most recent posts?? And if by “affluent hippie” you think I’m some how affiliated with this site or something? Actually, I’m not. I don’t even “know” anybody on this site except for a few commenters who occasionally swing by. My participation on here is purely casual and informal. Thus, my views are not reflective of, or always in agreement with this site and/or in agreement and/or compatible with all the scholars who put up the main posts and/or participate in the comments…such as on issues relating to the de-criminalization of marijuana and so on–so that should bring you some comfort…. I have no idea what you mean…unless your operating on your usual stereotypes??? But again, thanks for always telling me “who” I am …(?)….

    You might consider also reading things twice before you come to your bigoted conclusions. There’s a difference between saying “I understand” versus “I would encourage”. Anyway, be well, cordoba blue.


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