I think the problem is that many people in America think that racism is an attitude. And this is encouraged by the capitalist system. So they think that what people think is what makes them a racist. Racism is not an attitude.
If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power.
Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.
You cannot be a racist without power. You cannot be a sexist without power. Even men who beat their wives get this power from the society which allows it, condones it, encourages it. One cannot be against racism, one cannot be against sexism, unless one is against capitalism.
Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) answering a question about racism, sexism, and capitalism.
Faulty reasoning. Even assuming capitalism is the only system whereby the power is concentrated to a societal elite (it’s not), destroying it isn’t the only way to destroy -isms. It’s often said that prejudice + power = *ism, and taking out EITHER component will, by definition, end it.
Of course, a world without prejudice is a ludicrous notion. Almost as ludicrous, in fact, as a world where every segment of the population has the same level of influence.
I think the most depressing thing I’ve noticed about the way humans function is that we’re shit at empathy and rationality. Take politics. Consider who makes up the right wing: rich, priviledged people. Old, white men who want to maintain the status quo because it benefits them. Egotistical fucks, rights?
But then look at the left wing. Who do we have here? Workers, poor people, people of colour. The downtrodden and disenfranchized. They support an ideology that preaches equality for all because they support justice and utilitarianism, right? Wrong. They want to upset the status quo by moving wealth from rich people to less priviledged sectors of society, because that would benefit them.
And look at any marginalized group. Rich queers are still classist. Bronies, whose entire schtick is not conforming to popular gender roles, have alarming racist and sexist tendencies. When the allies finally learned of the nazi concentration camps, they immediately freed all the jews. When they found out there’d been homosexuals in there, they put them back in. Most activists aren’t upset because injustice has been done; they’re upset because they got the short end of the stick. Put the exact same person on the opposite end of the priviledge spectrum and I can almost guarantee you their rhetoric would do a 180 along with them.
This is the problem with the social justice movement as a whole. And the anti-social justice movement. Any movement, really. Instead of taking a sound, utilitarian moral code (“As many people as possible should be as content with their lives as possible”) and then deducing the particulars (“Homophobia is stupid and unwarranted,” “Free speech ought to be a human right,” “Universal healthcare is beneficial to the nation”) through facts and logic, they jump straight to whatever cause is relevant to them and start screeching and preaching.
It’s also why I don’t go to protests and rallies. I hate slogans and catchphrases, because they’re clear signs that you’ve given up on arguing and have defaulted to propaganda and groupthink. I hate arguments from emotion, because they’re not valid, only manipulative. I hate any call to unity, because you are telling me to put aside the power of reason in favor of power in numbers.
The worst part is that it has to be this way, specifically because humans are not rational creatures. A show of force in the form of ten thousand protesters shouting slogans does a lot more to change the minds of people than the most carefully thought out rational argument. The disenfranchized need group identity and emotional validation to effect real change.
I just wish it didn’t have to be that way. So please, just think about your underlying moral principles. Think about why you have certain opinions. If you start really reasoning with yourself (and listening to others), I think you’ll find that a lot of the things you think, you think for really dumb reasons. And don’t let yourself be fooled because your opinions and theories happen to be correct; if you believe the right thing for the wrong reasons, you are still wrong.
Way too much stupidity exists because people fail to analyze their own motives.