WTF is Racial Capitalism!!!


2 min read

Racial capitalism is a way to define capitalism as an economic system that requires stealing and oppressing a group that is dehumanized by a perceived difference (real or imagined) that makes them an underclass of workers, subjects, servants, slaves etc. for the upper class. The underclass is produced through the exploitation of some kind of difference (race, gender, nationality, immigration status, etc.) and that difference becomes the way they are kept under the boot of the system. The oppression of the underclass supports the power and wealth of the upper class.

The class that is under the boot lives a harder, shorter life with worse life outcomes. Black Geographers would call the oppression faced by the under class (the boot in the cartoon)  exposure to premature death. 

The underclass does NOT have to be Black, Brown, or Indigenous people or their nations (BIPOC= Black, Indigenous, & People of Color). Most non-racist people would agree there is nothing inherent to White people or BIPOC that puts them in their relative social positions. In fact, most anti-racists believe or would be easily convinced racial identities were created through Global European Terror. 

What is Global European Terror?: 500 years of European exploration, colonization, settlement, indigenous removal and genocide, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. These 500 years of Global European Terror created a connection between European nations that made them believe they are superior to the racial others. But this does not mean they ever thought ALL Europeans were equal. 

The Irish & the 'Negro' in this political cartoon are both shown as more monkey than the human-Anglo

Fully Human British Women vs
Monkey-ifed Irish Woman 

The Irish, Slavs, and Roma, were the first colonial subjects that were oppressed within Europe. And as the above cartoons show they were dehumanized in the culture of that time. The difference Anglos (The British) exploited was NATIONALISM. 

A woman holding a paper with yearly lower population numbers in Ireland during the Potato Famine

The Irish Potato Famine is a prime example of exposure to premature death (as is chattel slavery) for an underclass caused by capitalism. During the famine food production in Ireland was actually more than sufficient to support the population, but during the famines most brutal years, Ireland continued to export their food to the Empire--Britain. Ireland was/is a colony of Britain.

via GIPHY


Why does this matter???: It changes how we understand the relationship between capitalism, race, and racism today. If the above is true than racial identities are produced by capitalism and racism & white supremacy's true purpose is to sustain an underclass that is stolen from to maintain white dominance; + capitalism cannot exist without this under class that is exposed to premature death

I don't know about you, but that is not a consequence I'm willing to live with, no matter where I am on the social hierarchy. 

 If you've read this far, then I'm sure I don't need to tell you that the upper-class today is almost exclusively white and honorary whites + plus a few tokens and the exploited class is poor and working class whites and BIPOC.