by Alan Spector
Presidential Speech given at the 2013 Annual Convention of the Association for Humanist Sociology
An apple growing on a farm in Western Michigan. Another apple growing wild on a tree outside of Rome, 2,000 years ago. A Yamaha motorcycle. So, which of these have the most in common. The obvious answer, and it is a correct answer, is the two apples. But is there another way to look at the question? ‘‘Sociological Imagination,’’ as conceived by C. Wright Mills and utilized by many social scientists, provokes us to consider not just what things are ‘‘in themselves’’ but also what they ‘‘are’’ in their broader contexts and relationships to people, institutions, and broader social processes. Certainly, the two apples have a great deal in common. What does it take to create an apple? A seed, proper soil, water, and sunlight and time. But the modern, farmed apple also needs something else—it needs the belief of the farmer that growing that apple might help create a profit. Today’s apple and today’s motorcycle have something in common: They both need entrepreneurs who believe that they can make a profit from that enterprise. And, therefore, they both need a particular type of political economic climate that favors the development of both the apple and the motorcycle. Continue reading “RACISM and CAPITALISM: EXPLORING the DYNAMIC BETWEEN CLASS OPPRESSION and RACIAL OPPRESSION”
by Karyn Pomerantz
The rash of sexual harassment charges has generated much attention and rage at women’s treatment in the workplace. Many of these charges have political consequences as they target many Hollywood Democratic Party donors and Republican and Democratic politicians. While mostly upper class women have come forward to accuse celebrities and politicians, sexual violence and abuse are common among all women. Continue reading “Fight the Oppression of Women: From Sexual Assaults to Capitalist Exploitation”
By the editors
Thousands of women are organizing for reproductive rights and justice with the Women’s March on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC while many others march in cities across the US. Continue reading “Stop the Oppression of Women: Build a Multiracial, Anti-Racist Movement”
The current debate over immigration policy in the United States revolves around how many immigrants we should let in and what we should do about those immigrants that are here without authorization. Continue reading “IMMIGRATION POLICY IN THE US: IT’S ALL ABOUT RACE”
By the Editors
The Charlotte NC chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), an organization for white antiracists, just called for disbanding in order to build solidarity among all groups. This is a very significant step forward. Continue reading “From MICRO Aggression to MACRO Oppression”
by Ellen Isaacs, August 7, 2016
Appeared on Counterpunch, 8/9/16
THE PLATFORM OF THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES has been created by a large coalition of black activists and has caused a great deal of discussion and controversy, especially over the criticism of Israel. We admire the detailed way in which the oppression of black people in the U. S. has been catalogued, and note that the authors call for unity with other oppressed people – women, immigrants, gender-different, poor workers, and indigenous peoples. The platform also correctly assesses the ways in which the U. S. attacks and kills workers around the world, from Asia to Africa to South America to the Middle East. Continue reading “THE PLATFORM OF THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES MISSING: A CLASS ANALYSIS OF RACISM”
By Alan Spector, Professor of Sociology at Purdue North West and long time anti-racist, anti-war activist, firstname.lastname@example.org . This was written in 1998 but is still current.
The image of a police car appears in the rear view mirror as the driver of a car glances up. Proceeding for five or six blocks, the driver notices that the police car is still following. As the driver makes a right turn, the police car follows, and seven blocks further down the street, the driver is quite aware that the police car is still following behind — no lights, no siren, no request to pull over….just following. While it may well be a coincidence, the driver may nevertheless start to experience anxiety. “Did I commit a traffic violation? Will I have to take a day off of work to go to court? Will there be a fine? Will I get points against my driver’s license? Will my car insurance go up by several hundred dollars?” Anxiety. For perhaps 80% of the population in the U.S., this kind of experience creates anxiety. For much of the other 20%, however, the anxiety is much more intense. For the young black male driving through Gary, Indiana at 11 p.m., the anxiety includes: “Will my car be searched? Will I be humiliated? Will my car be damaged? Will I be roughed up? How should I act? If I’m quiet, the cop might think I’m being hostile. If I’m friendly, he might think I’m being sarcastic. My friend was arrested for disorderly conduct last week in a traffic stop. How should I act? What’s going to happen now?” Continue reading “Racism is Not about White Skin Privilege”
(From Lerone Bennett, The Shaping of Black America. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1975, pp. 61-82. Originally published in Ebony, vol. 25 (August, 1970), pp. 71- 77).
A nation is a choice. It chooses itself at fateful forks in the road by turning left or right, by giving up something or taking something — and in the giving up and the taking, in the deciding and not deciding, the nation becomes. And ever afterwards, the nation and the people who make up the nation are defined by the fork and by the decision that was made there, as well as by the decision that was not made there. For the decision, once made, engraves itself into the landscape, engraves itself into things, into institutions, nerves, muscles, tendons; and the first decision requires a second decision, and the second decision requires a third, and it goes on and on, spiraling in an inexorable process which distorts everything and alienates everybody.
Continue reading ““The Road Not Taken” by Lerone Bennett”
What is racism?
Racism is a system that disadvantages one group over another through economic, political, and ideological practices and policies. Structural racism reflects the history of US policies that serve those in power in a society. Those in power who own companies or control financial institutions (the ruling class) need to increase their profits by holding down costs and speeding up production. From the beginning of US history, the planters looked for the cheapest labor and chose African men and women to work their land. To justify their choice, they promoted the concept of race-that African people deserved enslavement while European white people could be “free” and earn wages. The ruling class, the landowners and bankers of that time, structured society to give themselves power and access to wealth while relegating the workers to low or no wages based on what they defined as “race.”
Continue reading “What is racism?”
THE FALLACY OF WHITE SKIN PRIVILEGE
The concept of white skin privilege acknowledges the differences in exploitation and oppression faced by blacks and whites; yet it frames the lower levels of exploitation as a benefit for whites. This either encourages white workers to support the system because they get a bit more, or to believe that they are part of the system that is exploiting blacks, or to feel guilty because they are less exploited. None of these suppositions are true, and all may decrease the motivation of whites to unite with blacks to fight back. Continue reading “RACISM HURTS ALL WORKERS”