Shopping While Black: Fight Racist Violence with Multiracial Unity

Mourners in Buffalo, May 2022

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 readingShopping While Black: Fight Racist Violence with Multiracial Unity

CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH WITH A RESOLVE TO FIGHT RACISM

juneteenthby Ellen Isaacs              June 19, 2020

Junteenth, long celebrated by black Americans as the end of enslavement, has come into the consciousness of millions as the multiracial struggle against racism unfolds across the nation. it is a day both to celebrate the end of chattel slavery and rage about the long-delayed emancipation of 200,000 slaves in Texas, to resolve to continue the fight to end racist murders and  wage slavery and rage over the 150 year continuation of racism. Along with the celebration of this day by black Americans in honor of freedom and empowerment, we need to resolve to build on this moment of profound multiracial unity and also contemplate the many anti-racist battles that have been and must be fought by workers. Continue reading “CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH WITH A RESOLVE TO FIGHT RACISM”

A HISTORIC BOND BETWEEN FUGITIVE SLAVES AND NATIVE AMERICANS – THE STORY OF THE SEMINOLES

by Ellen Isaacs, December, 2019

From the beginning, the credo of the US ruling class has been divide and rule. Not a new idea, but one that has been perfected in this nation. Not only was the enslavement of Africans made possible by driving a wedge of prejudice and circumstance between blacks and poor whites, but another schism was sown between slaves and Native Americans.

Continue reading “A HISTORIC BOND BETWEEN FUGITIVE SLAVES AND NATIVE AMERICANS – THE STORY OF THE SEMINOLES”

Racism is Not about White Skin Privilege

By Alan Spector, Professor of Sociology at Purdue North West and long time anti-racist, anti-war activist, ajspecto@purdue.edu . 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”