The roots of racism

An ad for a slave auction in 1840

Thabo Mophiring, a long-time Twitter friend, shared an article with me after I posted On Racism on this blog; “The Roots of Racism”, in which Lance Selfa discusses the origins of slavery at the dawn of capitalism and the ideology of white supremacy.

Here is a short introductory excerpt from the article:

Racism, it’s said, is as old as human society itself. As long as human beings have been around, the argument goes, they have always hated or feared people of a different nation or skin color. In other words, racism is just part of human nature.

If racism is part of human nature, then socialists have a real challenge on their hands. If racism is hard-wired into human biology, then we should despair of workers ever overcoming the divisions between them to fight for a socialist society free of racial inequality.Fortunately, racism isn’t part of human nature.

The best evidence for this assertion is the fact that racism has not always existed.Racism is a particular form of oppression. It stems from discrimination against a group of people based on the idea that some inherited characteristic, such as skin color, makes them inferior to their oppressors. Yet the concepts of “race” and “racism” are modern inventions.

I especially enjoyed the exploration of Race vs colourism vs ethnicity themes that emerge from the article.You can read the full article here – The roots of racism | SocialistWorker.org

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Categories: Great debates