Capitalism and racism are two systems in the soiled fabric of America’s flag that many agree will never lower or end.
Until now, I don’t have many words on record about capitalism and how changing capitalism is key to ending racism.
I have to ask myself why I don’t have fighting and biting words for capitalism as a system of organized cruelty.
In her book, Killing Rage: Ending Racism, bell hooks writes that middle and upper-class Blacks focus on racism rather than class. (Ouch!)
Our class status can shape our experience, perspective, and communication about racism.
One poll by the Pew Research Center finds Blacks with college degrees are more likely to report instances of discrimination and racism. In addition, the Black middle and upper classes don’t stand on solid ground because racism makes them more likely to fall into lower classes.
But for those who fall, capitalism is an accomplice, an accomplice that demands the widest class divisions.
So, my absenteeism on this issue convicts me because a critique of racism without capitalism is selfish and shortsighted.
In her book, bell hooks also writes, “capitalism creates an environment of domination.”
This unrestrained capitalism possesses and spreads a lifelong predilection to hoard wealth, property, power, and privilege.
White America invented its brand of racism for capitalism.
According to sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, institutional racism has been “one of the most significant pillars” of the capitalist system.
Capitalism and racism have an unending collaboration.
This alliance is visible in environmental racism, wage gaps, food sources, housing prices, lending practices, the drug trade, healthcare, the criminal justice system, student loan debt, and even stereotypes.
We’ve seen businesses hide under capitalism as an excuse for dumping toxins in Black neighborhoods. It’s far too easy for business executives to say, “we’re not racists, we’re capitalists.” But for the people on the receiving end of that toxic line, that’s a distinction without a difference.
Many health disparities swell in Black communities from the noxious combination of capitalism and racism that leaves people parched in food deserts with no stocked, affordable, and quality grocery stores.
For those who wish to grow old in their homes, it’s capitalism that prices out long-time residents. That same capitalism allows preying banks to lend without end and use the most biting and bloodsucking practices.
If we want to talk about the drug trade, capitalism and racism push drug dealers to push drugs. For a pharmaceutical industry, that’s callous with a stupidity and a cupidity for cash, we can blame capitalism for the lack of regulation and access.
I believe no one should lack healthcare — which includes dental and mental health services — but healthcare and gaping wage gaps aren’t the concerns for a frighteningly frigid and rigid system of capitalism conjoined with racism.
With criminal justice, capitalism and the criminal justice system are an illicit pair that reproduce unequal brutalization. It’s capitalism that heavily arms police forces as their suppliers get richer. The prison system has a quenchless demand for more prisoners to fill their ready-made roles because of capitalism. But also, it’s class and capitalism that make it easier to avoid jail or get out of jail for the right type and price.
When I think about our schools, I see how capitalism and racism lead and lace them at every level. Then for Black college graduates, saddled in a rat race with student loan debt much heftier than white students, capitalism gives them little rewards.
And as industries either saturate or abandon captive communities, predatory capitalism can engineer stereotypes with its systematic and selective exploitation and exclusion.
My justice requires restitution for this mess. Real justice in America would rush and cheer holistic reparations and affirmative action, but it’s capitalism that will not pay and doesn’t care about the generational disadvantage it has caused by racism.
To see progress and to end racism, we must finger capitalism too.
And with all the ways predatory capitalism attacks us by race, we need many hands striving to change capitalism.
Capitalism and racism are symbiotic, and capitalism finances the system of racism.
Malcolm X rightly told white America they “can’t have capitalism without racism.”
It’s clear white America wants capitalism and racism. But for the rest of us — we must change capitalism to end racism.
Not enough people want the correct change. When people stop obsessing about the change in their pockets, the relationship between capitalism and racism will change.
But I wouldn’t bank on it.
I’m a Black Customer in Your Restaurant and I Have a Dilemma with Tipping
Can I Stop Worrying About This Now?
A serious question, can you imagine America without white supremacy?
Let’s try to imagine and make it a reality