Monday, October 26, 2009

a question for capitalists who care about racism

I mentioned this to a capitalist anti-racist recently: "For years, I wrestled with whether Malcolm X was right when he said you can't have capitalism without racism. Clearly, liberals and conservatives are working desperately to create capitalism without racism. But I've finally come to see that Malcolm X was right: if you don't redistribute wealth, the distribution of wealth will be racially disproportionate. If you do redistribute wealth, capitalism ends. It's a Catch-22 that anti-racists ignore. Do you have an answer?"

She didn't.

So I'm wondering if anyone does. Remember two things:

1. The distribution of wealth in many countries is racially disproportionate. (In the US, though there are twice as many whites in poverty as blacks or Hispanics, less than 10% of whites are officially in poverty, but 25% of blacks and 22% of Hispanics are.)

2. Most people stay in their economic class or in the class nearest to them. (From the New York Times' "How Class Works": "The United States, with a more egalitarian political tradition than many European nations, does not have significantly more mobility. In fact, it has less than Scandinavian countries like Denmark and roughly the same as Britain.")

Is there an answer? And, if not, does this mean anyone who is not a communist is a racist? Malcolm X would seem to agree; he said that when you find a white person who has "a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have this racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.”

ETA: Bonus link for people interested in the state of racism in England today: Racism and the tabloids