Society

  • 04.08.14

    Race Is Fiction. Racism Is Not.

    In this Tedx talk, Francys Johnson looks at the promises that the United States of American has made to its citizens through its ideals, and founding documents, and yet how through racists laws and policies, a large segment has heed restricted from many of those ideals - among them: "life, liberty, and the pursuit ...

    In this Tedx talk, Francys Johnson looks at the promises that the United States of American has made to its citizens through its ideals, and founding documents, and yet how through racists laws and policies, a large segment has heed restricted from many of those ideals - among them: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    Johnson states that there are three things that he knows about American racism:

    1. Race itself is a fiction. There is no scientific, biological, proof of different races and in actuality, race is a complete social construct. Therefore, “All persons possess the same faculties for attaining the highest levels of intellectual, economic, political, social, and educational achievements” and where there are gaps they are not on account of the color of a person’s skin. They cannot be attributed to race but they can be attributed to racism and discrimination.
    2. Racism matters. Race plays and exaggerated role in American culture and in Americans's lives, especially those of African Americans who have higher chance of dying during infancy, mothers not having pre-natal care, fathers more likely to be unemployed, (and those who are employed can expect to earn only 72% of their white counterparts.) They are more likely to attend underperforming schools, more likely to be treated differently in the criminal justice system - whether they are tried as a juvenile or not, what kind of plea bargains they are given, if they will be tried under the death penalty. 
    3. People matter more. There are many values put forward by America's founding documents that are shared by all Americans. Johnson states that if we put people over politics (who gets what when where and how) we will find the solution to overcoming race.

    Ultimately, Johnson believes that "We have the ability to struggle with and confront race and deconstruct it where it legally exists. We need to stop separating people. If we root out and destroy any benefit created by race classification, it is only then that we will overcome it."

  • 01.01.07

    Towards A Socialist Theory Of Racism

    In the 1970s, Dr. Cornell West wrote a pamphlet on democratic socialism and why and how it could address racism. He did this by looking at various Marxist theories of racism, and then applying them to modern day America. These theories look at racism as a result of establishing and maintaining differences in the ...

    In the 1970s, Dr. Cornell West wrote a pamphlet on democratic socialism and why and how it could address racism. He did this by looking at various Marxist theories of racism, and then applying them to modern day America. 

    These theories look at racism as a result of establishing and maintaining differences in the workplace to xenophobic attitudes. 

    Dr. West then presents a theory of racism that goes beyond the Marxist theories. Marxist theories look at racism as a result of capitalism, when history shows that racism exists far beyond capitalistic countries - Dr. West states "Racism is as much a product of the interaction of cultural ways of life as it is of modern capitalism. A more adequate conception of racism should reflect this twofold context of cultural and economic realities in which racism has flourished."

    He concludes by talking about democratic socialism as a way to address racism in this country: "We must frankly acknowledge that a democratic socialist society will not necessarily eradicate racism. Yet a democratic socialist society is the best hope for alleviating and minimizing racism, particularly institutional forms of racism."