Black History Month || The Economics of Racism

There has always been racism. But it developed as a leading principle of thought and perception in the context of colonialism. That’s understandable. When you have your boot on someone’s neck, you have to justify it. The justification has to be their depravity. It’s very striking to see this in the case of people who aren’t very different from one another. Take a look at the British conquest of Ireland, the earliest of the Western colonial conquests. It was described in the same terms as the conquest of Africa. The Irish were a different race. They weren’t human. They weren’t like us. We had to crush and destroy them. No. It has to do with conquest, with oppression. If you’re robbing somebody, oppressing them, dictating their lives, it’s a very rare person who can say: “Look, I’m a monster. I’m doing this for my own good.” Even Himmler didn’t say that. A standard technique of belief formation goes along with oppression, whether it’s throwing them in gas chambers or charging them too much at a corner store, or anything in between. The standard reaction is to say: ‘It’s their depravity. That’s why I’m doing it. Maybe I’m even doing them good.’ If it’s their depravity, there’s got to be something about them that makes them different from me. What’s different about them will be whatever you can find.”

~Noam Chomsky

When I read that quote from Chomsky, it changed my thinking on racism completely. Racism after that point was inexorably linked to economics.  Whether its the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, plantation owners, the ring leaders of the global sex-trade someone is making serious money off the suffering and abuse of others. As long as people make money from the abuse of others and those people can influence political policy things won’t change. I can give you two clear examples of this in action.

Case #1

downloadFrance forces former colonies to pay for the advantages gained during colonialism. When these governments don’t cough up the money troops are sent in. 61% of the coups in Africa take place in Francophone Africa. At this moment 14 African countries are obliged by France, through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control. This system continues because it puts 500 billions dollars/year from Africa to France’s treasury year in year out. The leader’s that bend to Frances will are supported and rewarded by France with lavish lifestyle while their people endure extreme poverty, and desperation.

Case # 2

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

marijuana-dbc04668ba596d1d11bbfdcab899d5bdcf6b293a-s6-c30This quote came from Harry Anslinger, the father of the war on weed, fully embraced racism as a tool to demonize marijuana.  states throughout the south began implementing drug laws as part of the explicitly racist Jim Crow system, with southern lawmakers being quite open about the racist motivations behind the law. From an ACLU report it has been shown that: Despite the fact that marijuana is used at comparable rates by whites and Blacks, state and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against Black people and communities. In 2010, a Black person was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person — a disparity that increased 32.7% between 2001 and 2010. In the states with the worst disparities, Blacks were on average over six times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the worst offending counties across the country,Blacks were over 10, 15, even 30 times more likely to be arrested than white residents in the same county.

Truth be told marijuana convictions keep the prisons full, and feed the prison industrial complex. Also those convicted of marijuana possession and sale upon release from jail cannot vote or get student loans for college. We cannot deal with racism in our communities if we don’t deal with industries that financial benefit from it. These industries have a vested interest in keeping people bigoted and ill-informed. But it’s not only a domestic issue. The problems of racism extend far beyond American borders

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