No one questions this satire (second video) or even catches the video as a satire, mostly because people associate black people with welfare and laziness till this day. These associations can stem from Durkheim’s ideas about symbolism or symbols. Many people may view a black female with the idea of the “Welfare Queen”. This intersects with the color-line, because it is known that after slavery and colonialism, people associated white with good and black with bad. If such symbols in terms of race were worshipped and stigmatized for so long, it is as if people have only ritualized them throughout their lives subliminally. For every time one sees such colorism and racism in his or her daily institution, or sees internalized attitudes of stigmata or scorn towards darker skinned person, the racist associations are even more becoming. Today many Americans deem that the use of welfare by blacks is their fault. They never think of the Tusla Oklahoma riot or other reasons behind the poverty and unemployment of African Americans. Nobody would deem that the slums or section 8 areas as shock worthy or even a problem, because for so long black people were a symbol of problems. Du Bois was a genius of his time, he used data analysis and qualitative measures to get at the heart of the “Negro Problem”, he was able to find racism, another form of oppression as the source. He mentioned that blacks were no different from once French Peasantry, probably alluding to the fact that oppression and pain projected onto one group was for the benefit of another. This pain was racism this time, not sexism or other tribal pains. We can measure the black slums by comparing them to richest the whites, and conclude that this projection of racism was arbitrary. Maybe the once Bauer and the peasants became magnificent. If sexism dissipated in the past allowing the woman to work and give American 11 trillion dollars in commerce, can one imagine the riches and the glory, as well as the solution to the Negro Problem …if Black Wall Street expanded? We can leave that to imagination, for people will deny any racism and imagine that it was other reasons that made black poor, or that even the Black “mini” Holocaust never existed. It “may” be evident that slavery or race tribalism created awful symbols of blacks, so awful that many remained arbitrarily racist. Whether it was the greedy institution or the individual, none aided the Negro in doing his or her best. “when one group of people suffer these little differences of treatment and discriminations and insults continually, the result is either discouragement, or bitterness, or over-sensitiveness, or recklessness. And a people feeling they cannot do their best” (343, Du Bois) such racism not only prevented blacks from doing their best, but isn’t obvious, if one was to be discriminated against before even work or even hated while working, wouldn’t that one end up in welfare. Many White Americans of today shake their head at welfare usage of blacks not knowing that it was that very discriminating stigma and racist view that led to the Negro problem in the first place. There are reasons why this holocaust had to kept secret, how silly and inconvenient would it be to lose so much money over racism? Maybe some said, “let them die” so that they can keep their riches, or gain cheap labor. Many black men born from single homes and welfare homes go to the Prison system later on in life. Maybe if we realize that there were real reasons by any Negro problem, we as a country could make billions upon billions of dollars, especially since the Negro is here to stay.
It was astounding to see the historian blame the London riots on the “black culture”. That goes to show that anything deviant that does not pertain to the roles mandated by the authorities and high class, ‘white’ society will be blame on the minorities of color. Now that I see why the riots occurred, it is baffling that it is even suggested riots being a consequence of ‘black/urban culture’. They are social issues, not racial ones. This is not limited to London, here in the United States it is extremely visible with how crime is portrayed in the media. White killers are always attached to some mental illness or temporary outrage, while any other race is immediately thought of as “evil” or “influenced by their culture” (poverty, stereotypical ‘urban culture’- for lack of a better term). In the Dominican Republic, Haitians born in the country are not granted citizenship- due to their darker skin tone (there’s a history of discrimination in the country because of racism), human rights organizations are outraged. The treatment of race in the media and the government only adds to the racial profiling of people in all aspects of society.
(In this tweet by comedian Katt Williams, he clearly differentiates between the handling of crimes in America according to one’s race/ethnicity- stereotypes are powerful if given constant attention).
In “The Souls of White Folk” (1920), a more radical critique of The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W. E. B. Du Bois addresses the idea that white privilege is invisible to Whites, whereas Blacks are considered “clairvoyant” because they are able to see both the hypocrisy and delusion of Whites and can see what it means to be White. In the past, “darker peoples” were considered to be “of dark, uncertain, and imperfect descent; of frailer, cheaper stuff; cowards in the face of mausers and maxims; [with] no feelings, aspirations, and loves; fools, illogical idiots; ‘half-devil and half-child’,” and were “useful to whites . . . to raise cotton, gather rubber, fetch ivory, dig diamonds, – and be paid what [white] men think they are worth” (368). He then discusses how society at the time was supposedly color coded as “everything great, good, efficient, fair, and honorable is ‘white’; everything mean, bad, blundering, cheating, and dishonorable is ‘yellow’; a bad taste is ‘brown’; and the devil is ‘black’,” and how racism was expressed in every form of media to promote the theme that “a White Man is always right and a Black Man has no rights which a white man is bound to respect” (369). While focusing on the political economy of race, racism, and whiteness, he also discusses the belief of white supremacy, in which the “white race” feels they are superior to other races and should therefore dominate other races by influencing institutions, both national and international, and underpinning Western imperialism and the global “status hierarchy” of nation-states. This causes him to suggest that “the European world is using black and brown men for all the uses which men know,” and “slowly but surely white culture is evolving the theory that ‘darkies’ are born beasts of burden for white folk,” for “it is the duty of white Europe to divide up the darker world and administer it for Europe’s good” (368).
There is nearly an abundance of films that deal with the topic of race/racism, all of which appear to epitomize Du Bois’s views on white supremacy. 1988’s Hairspray and its 2007 remake both emphasize how black people were inflicted by segregation in 1962 Baltimore, as they were placed in special education/detention in high school and were unable to participate on a popular dance show (despite the fact that there is a “Negro Day” on the show on the last Thursday of every month). Racism plays a major role in 1994’s Do the Right Thing, as tensions dangerously escalate for the white and black citizens of a Brooklyn neighborhood on the hottest day of the summer; one character even questions the local pizzeria’s “Wall of Fame” and demands how there should be some pictures of black celebrities on the wall, since the pizzeria is in a black neighborhood and sells pizza to black people. 2011’s The Help epitomizes black maids in the early 1960s and how they suffered unfair treatment while working for prestigious and uptight white families; at one point, one of the maids is fired for using the house bathroom instead of her outhouse during a thunderstorm. With the exception of Do the Right Thing, both Hairspray and The Help (and even this year’s 42) demonstrate how black people were able to overcome the discrimination that was placed upon them in order to prove that they too had a part to play in society and shouldn’t be shut out of it.
It’s amazing that government is still playing a part in racism to this day. I knew that racism still existed on a small scale but after watching this video I started to conceptualize things that I already knew . There has been evidence proving that people within the government play a major role in bringing drugs into the country. They are giving minorities the bait so that they can reel them in, imprison them and oppress them further. The drug laws in this country created to set minority groups up for failure. Blacks are five times more likely to go to jail for the same drug related offense as whites. You can get more prison time for a non-violent drug related offense than you can for some other violent crimes. One thing that I found interesting about the video is when they pointed out that stocks are traded on Wall Street based on the number of people in jail. That is Capitalism at it’s best.
Did racism create slavery or did slavery create racism?
Racism is defined as the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. In our history racism was prevalent for a very long time. There have been many debates as to whether racism is the product of slavery or vice versa. On the issue of slavery creating racism it can be argued that slavery came about because Europeans saw slavery as an easy way to capitalize on the new found land in the America. They were not capable of having the land cultivated by free laborers because at that time they did not have the means to pay them sufficiently and they could not withstand the amount of work that would have to be put into cultivating the land. Europeans became involved in the slave trade for capitalist reason. Slave labor was much more appealing and profitable than paying free laborers to work. In the process they had to dehumanize African Americans & bring them down to the level of property in order to justify slavery. Throughout history it shows that the founding fathers made an effort to leave slavery as a gray area by not including that actual word “SLAVERY” in the Constitution. They knew it was wrong morally but saw it as a necessity so nevertheless they allowed it to continue. On the other hand it can be argued that racism created slavery. People say that because Europeans saw themselves as the superior race this is why they felt comfortable enough to enslave another race. It was because Africans did not share the same language and culture that Europeans had that they deemed them uncivilized. Once they were deemed uncivilized then their status could be reduced from human to property. Thinking about things now I can finally choose a position…neither created the other…ignorance and capitalist instincts created them both. This just goes to show how capitalism has shaped this country from the very beginning.
Poster seen around CUNY campuses during the 1970s
From Democracy Now, 5/3/2013:
One day after the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur [a CUNY alumna, who grew up n Queens] became the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, we’re joined by another legendary African-American activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds. Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.” She argues that the FBI’s latest move, much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago, is politically motivated. “It seems to me that this act incorporates or reflects the very logic of terrorism,” Davis says. “I can’t help but think that it’s designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago seems like it was a long time ago. In the beginning of the 21st century, we’re still fighting around the very same issues — police violence, healthcare, education, people in prison.” A professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University, Hinds has represented Shakur since 1973. “This is a political act pushed by the state of New Jersey, by some members of Congress from Miami, and with the intent of putting pressure on the Cuban government and to inflame public opinion,” Hinds says. “There is no way to appeal someone being put on the terrorists list.”
In the video above, Angela Davis addresses issues we’ve recently been talking and writing about:
And let me say that I was quite surprised that in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, where, before the Tsarnaev brothers were discovered to be the alleged perpetrators, there was an attempt to represent the person who planted the bombs as either a black man or a dark-skin man with a hoodie, I believe—this racialization of what is represented as terrorism is an attempt to bring the old-style racism into conversation with modes of repression in the 21st century.
Read the full transcript here…
Andrea’s post reminded me of the relevance of this Bob Marley classic to our recent discussions. This video features the lyrics. For example, these below, which like Du Bois’ late writings and speeches, “internationalize” the problems of racism and racial inequality:
That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the color of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes –
Me say war.