by Karyn Pomerantz
The constant drum beat of white supremacy has enabled the murderers of many people: black Bible Study members in Charlotte, Asian women workers in Georgia, Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh, and Latinx shoppers in Texas. Now a white supremacist has killed 10 black residents in Buffalo. Shopping, working, and worshipping while black, Latin, Jewish, and Asian can get you killed. This shooting is a horrific outcome of the racism in Buffalo and elsewhere.
These attacks appear to be the random work of deranged people. While mental illness may be a factor, these men are deeply influenced by racism. It is hard to predict the exact time and place of these murders, but the intentional and perpetual inculcation of racist ideas by US capitalism ensures that it will sow division and distrust and erupt in violence.
After the shooting, The Washington Post polled a national sample of black residents on its effects, revealing a high level of mistrust of white workers and the police:
- 70% believed half of whites held racist ideas
- 55% wanted more economic investment to alleviate poverty and neglected communities instead of increased policing favored by 24%
- 1 in 4 considered buying a gun (Washington Post, Poll: Black Americans fear more attacks after Buffalo. 5-22-2022, A3).
Some white faces appeared at the funerals and vigils, but more white residents must overcome the segregation and reach out to their black neighbors with support and activism. While living conditions and racist violence differ in degree between black and white residents, both groups have high rates of poverty, 31% and 18% respectively, both over the 13% in New York State (Census data, 2000-2020, https://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Buffalo-New-York.html).
This article describes how Buffalo businessmen promote segregation and racism to produce wealth for themselves and poor health, educational, and economic outcomes for black residents. It calls for building multiracial solidarity while rejecting the identity politics that divide us into separate silos.Continue reading “Shopping While Black: Fight Racist Violence with Multiracial Unity“