Economics of Racism II: The Roots of Inequality, USA

Economics of Racism II: The Roots of Inequality, USA

Economics of Racism II: The Roots of Inequality, USA

Economics of Racism II: The Roots of Inequality, USA


A completely new edition. Reexamines the facts and explores their new dimensions, the issues and remedies for the 1990s and the next millennium.


Racism and the struggles swirling around it have taken center stage in the political life of the United States. Of course racism has been virulent throughout U.S. history, a country built on the labor of African slaves, as well as on the exploitation of other immigrant workers. The Civil War in the 1860s ended legal slavery, but after the defeat of postwar Reconstruction, plantation owners and capitalists subjected Black people to a semi-slave "Jim Crow" regime in the South until the mass struggles of African Americans erupted in the mid- 1950s.

That Civil Rights Movement, involving millions of Black people and their white supporters, reached its climax during the mid-1960s. The mass struggles led to laws passed by Congress that compelled the retreat of racist ruling cliques in southern states. Some essential goals were partly won: the right to enter public places and to purchase all services offered to the general public without being segregated or otherwise discriminated against; the right to vote and to be elected to office.

Those victories remain far from complete. Many eating places evaded the law by establishing themselves as "whites only" private clubs. School desegregation was fractionally accomplished, and in many northern cities has decreased. Gerrymandering and other ploys still reduce the effectiveness of minorities' votes. There are still many cities, suburbs, sections of towns that are out-of-bounds to Black homeowners. Police brutality and murder of Blacks and all racial minorities continues on a critical scale.

In fact, in the 1980s and the 1990s, there has been a serious escalation in the racist offensive. It embraces all aspects of life--economic, cultural, social, political--even to so basic a feature as the right to exist. Slavery, with its crude inhumanity, meant vast profits for the slave owners. The current racist offensive is also motivated by greed. Huge profits are realized from the under- paid labor and inflated living costs charged the rapidly growing minority population. Moreover, increasingly, the living standards of white workers are pulled down by the extra exploitation imposed on the victims of racism.

The right-wing political offensive against elected Black officials has a similar impact, as in the U.S. system, elected incumbents are key to appointing their constituents to government jobs and access to government contracts. In addition, the right-biased judicial system strikes one blow after another against affirmative action, the principal mechanism designed to reduce discrimination against African Americans.

Then, too, racist prejudices are inflamed by cultural attacks that, on the one . . .

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