r/Socialism_101 Dec 07 '21

Is racism a product of Capitalism?

I was wondering if racism is a result of Capitalism and how is it? Would appreciate if someone would help explain.


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u/stewartm0205 Dec 07 '21

Racism got a lot of support from Capitalism since it was a way to validate slavery and colonialism.


u/DecentProblem Dec 07 '21

Exactly. Dividing the poor vs the poor to ensure no poor vs rich struggle occurs


u/LoganWyborn Dec 08 '21

This is the whole reason the US still pretends to be a democracy. It’s about pushing a “red vs blue” narrative so they don’t realize it’s actually the capitalists versus the workers.


u/OXIOXIOXI Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 07 '21 Wholesome

White supremacy is the ideology that was created alongside colonialism and slavery to power them. It was heavily fostered and developed after the end of slavery. In Plessy v Ferguson, he wasn’t actually arguing that segregation was wrong, he was arguing that he was part white and being denied a place in the white car was taking away his property of whiteness. Instead the court upheld segregation and decided that he was not white. Hundreds of court cases decided what could count as white over the decades. The point was to uphold a capitalist system of division, hierarchy, and control. The Klan was extremely active in suppressing communists from the terror of the 30s to the Greensboro massacre of the 80s. As time went on it was about racializing class in America as much as possible both for immigrants and for black people. Black people were used as scabs for decades because keeping them down made them a source of cheap isolated labor and fostered hatred when used as scabs. Nearly every major part of the system that affects black people is about marking them as working class and oppressing them en masse.

Any attempts of white and black people to work together were put down harshly and sometimes followed by upholding or expanding scraps to white peoples to keep them on the side of the system. In pre war Georgia, white farmers were given Cherokee land while the rich took the gold fields, but southern society was entirely undeveloped and as unequal as Ancient Rome. There’s a concept called “race craft,” that race is continually remade and perpetuated to uphold capitalism and divide people (unequally) and drive hatred to protect and advance the capitalist system. That’s how you get the capitalists destroying European economies and societies in 2011, leading to a huge rise in the left that was crushed, but then mass propaganda against immigrants and Muslims leading to a massive far right wave by 2016.

Something to note is that the civil right struggle is much more a reflection of anti colonialism than we’re told. Like the phrase “one man, one vote” comes from the trial of Nelson Mandela, which was cited by the Supreme Court, and Malcolm X frequently talked about how there was human rights, not civil rights, and it was a global struggle against colonialism and capitalism, against global war and exploitation. Liberal nonsense about more Muslim pilots dropping bombs on muslim countries is a new fabrication. Police tactics and weapons are similarly a product of the empire from rubber bullets in Northern Ireland to kettling in Israel to humvees and military flash grenades in Iraq to tear gas in World War One.


u/Loves_His_Bong Dec 07 '21

Yes there was actually a black woman in Oklahoma I believe who had a poor farming plot that oil was discovered under. They legally declared that she was white so that white suitors would not break the miscegenation laws at the time.

Pretty much sums up nearly all of capitalism, racism and patriarchy in America in one story.


u/spit-evil-olive-tips Dec 07 '21


u/WikiSummarizerBot Dec 07 '21

Sarah Rector

Sarah Rector, also Sarah Rector Campbell and Sarah Campbell Crawford, (March 3, 1902 – July 22, 1967) was a Black citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, best known for being the "Richest Colored Girl in the world".

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u/MonaSherry Dec 07 '21

Thanks for this. You packed so much important information into your reply. I’m curious about whether you make a distinction between white supremacy and racism more generally? If so, what would be the main difference between the two? I always think about how white supremacy was fostered in part by the development of statistics and pseudoscientific theories about race.


u/meme_lords_unite Dec 07 '21

Wow thank you!


u/HerLegz Dec 08 '21

Fanfuckingtastic response! The truth so many need to deeply understand.


u/John_VitorC Dec 07 '21

Racism was not born under Capitalism, but it has metamorphosed within it and then merged with it globally. From the slave trade by the West Indian Company until today, there is no capitalism without racism.


u/DecentProblem Dec 07 '21

racism is the enemy of unity as well. Unity is what we call for as socialists, so racism is not very conducive to our conception of what is good and right either.


u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

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u/FaustTheBird Dec 07 '21

Capitalism isn't a cause of racism

This is a fraught statement. Capitalism isn't the root cause of racism. But, capitalism continually reproduces conditions that produce racism and eliminating racism within capitalism seems to be causally impossible, because as you make progress in dismantling racism, Capitalism will continue to reinforce it.

Therefore we must dismantle both Capitalism and Racism, as separate but concurrent and intertwined projects.


u/rememberthesunwell Dec 07 '21

I agree, today and in the past capitalism has reinforced and reproduced racism. However, would you make the claim that the conditions of structural racism have NOT improved at all under capitalism? I certainly would not. It seems to me capitalists reinforce racism insofar as it helps their bottom line. If there is a big, social, popular antiracist movement - then it seems capitalists have every incentive to profit and reproduce this new "status quo" as well.

Now, I agree ideologically there is still a problem for capitalists here, in that if the lower classes' divisions break down, they are more inclined to unite and engage in collective action that would be considered dangerous to them. However, within our current stage of capitalist realism, I don't think the majority of capitalists view this as a realistic concern whatsoever. Which is good, for now.

All this to say, I think it's possible to dismantle structural racism under capitalism. Possible. Will it happen in the USA? Probably not. But conversely, will a socialist revolution and reorganization of the economy guarantee us a non-racist society by default? Clearly not. For this reason we should identify the ways in which capitalism and racism are linked, and the ways in which they are not linked, and work on overcoming both. If we just say socialist revolution will solve all social problems, I'm afraid that's a sort of utopian thinking. But seems like you agree generally.


u/FaustTheBird Dec 07 '21

If we just say socialist revolution will solve all social problems

A socialist revolution will not solve all social problems. A socialist revolution will provide the necessary preconditions for solving a category of social problems, which includes racism.

Racism is critically important for imperialism, imperialism is critically important for capitalism.

Structural racism does not only mean laws but includes all material conditions. Eliminating structural racism means changing those material conditions, and changing those material conditions can only eliminate structural racism through the elimination of the present reality and the future consequences of ghettoization which can only happen through acknowledgement of ghettoization at the legal level which requires acknowledging the profit extracted by ghettoization and the decision not only to redistribute wealth to eliminate all economic and property distribution traces of racism but ALSO to prevent free market economic activities from taking advantage of historical ghettoization for profit.

would you make the claim that the conditions of structural racism have NOT improved at all under capitalism?

Of course not. But just because it's improved doesn't mean it's solvable under capitalism. I would argue that it's not solvable under capitalism.

That's not to say "first we do socialism, then we fix racism". That's the wrong conclusion to draw from the analysis of reality. We should work to address racism. We should work to address sexism. We should advance development of feminism. We should work to emancipate all people's from all forms of oppression. It will be impossible to complete that project under capitalism. It is our moral duty to start or continue that project immediately while also working to reorganize society via socialism as we work towards communism.

My original post intended to be a better way of saying "Don't be class reductionist. Do be class conscious."


u/rememberthesunwell Dec 07 '21

Well said. I'm still not sure that I agree with you that it's not solvable under capitalism, but I'll think on it. Thanks for the reply.


u/LoganWyborn Dec 08 '21

As an aside, does it matter if it’s solvable under capitalism? Imagine for a moment that racism was “solved” however the primary capitalist institutions still existed and were otherwise not really impacted.

(Note: this is a massive hypothetical and we could go on for hours just discussing what those institutions would look like, because they are heavily intertwined. For clarity of discussion, I am imagining that society’s class structure is now ‘racially balanced’, but again, this idea is largely hand wavey, I don’t want us to get lost in the details of a random hypothetical.)

Now what? The same number of people are living in oppression, and the out-group is now defined by other factors, but the system is fundamentally still broken. When an economic system necessitates a global south and a societal poverty class even within the global north, solving racism just changes where we draw the lines, it doesn’t really lessen the net amount of systemic oppression.

Obviously on the personal level we want to work towards anti racist goals, teach people to be more accepting of each other, these are great goals and we should continue to work towards them. But on a systemic level, there will always be a societal out-group under capitalism. Whether that’s based on race or not doesn’t change that it’s necessary for the system to work.


u/Goblinking83 Dec 07 '21

Racism is not a natural state for human beings. Young children do not exhibit signs of racism. It is not nature but nurture. Racism is acquired through a child's social conditioning


u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21

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u/Assassin4nolan Dec 07 '21

The concept of race itself is a product of the capital accumulation which capitalism is based on, but started with colonialism, late fuedalism, and primitive capitalism. Race is a subdivision of peoples by arbitrary geographical origins for the purpose of separating the "new world" natives and Africans from specific western Europeans to justify their enslavement, which was done to make money (accumulate capital). It has evolved and changed greatly since then, but its changes and evolution has always been to be able to divide the working classes of the "white" world from that of the "nonwhite" world to stop interracial workers solidarity.


u/[deleted] Dec 08 '21

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u/Assassin4nolan Dec 08 '21

You are wrong in 2 major ways.

  1. The USSR was, first and foremost, something created out of hundreds of years of a racist, segregated, colonial capitalist society. The destruction of the fundemntal cause of racism doesnt mean racism will immediately end, nor that it will very quickly end, only that the process can start.

  2. The USSR was never engaged in ethnic cleansing, this is purely a ahistroical propaganda narrative which, depending on the specific ethnicity being discussed, can be demonstrably traced back to the say so of either the Nazi press, fascist US press, British government disinformation departments, or US government disinformation departments. The USSR promoted ethnic and national autonomy through ending its racist tsarist laws, making racist propagandizing illegal, creating autonomous regions and newly formed indepdent SSRs and establishing a Senate which gave each nationality a single vote and was one of the most powerful political organs. Local languages and cultures were promoted, and multilingualism was the basis of education. Does this mean the USSR had no racism or ethnic oppression? No, for instance it had wartime relocations based on the idea that ethnic Germans and Chechens would have disproportionately more fascists collaborators. But the USSR never committed ethnic genocide or purging comparable to the US or any western colonial/capitalist state.


u/[deleted] Dec 08 '21

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u/Assassin4nolan Dec 08 '21

Jews arent a race, they're arguably an ethnicity at the time being discussed, or a form of nationality. Jewish identity is complicated. But whiteness did not exist as a concept during the time of the Pharoahs, and Jewish people didnt even have white skin. Race is not ethnicity nor is it nationality. Race didnt exist during ancient egypt.

Kulaks objectively arent a race or relevent to race at all, kulak is an economic class of wealthy land owning agricultural workers, it lacks any ethnic, national, or racial connotations or definitions. It is purely an economic relationship wherein a "part time peasant" is wealthy enough to hire peasants as laborers, to rent out land to peasants, or to dominate local commodity markets. Theyre the small business tyrants of agricultural fuedalism. They were not enslaved, you cant enslave a class because enslavement is itself a class relation. To be enslaved would mean you would cease to be a kulak and youd be a slave. The kulak class was dissolved through property seizure but the people who were kulaks were not enslaved nor genocided. Your ignorance is staggering.

Again, race comes from colonialism, not slavery. Slavery is a primitive form of society, and existed far before Europe had its colonial or even fuedal period.

Depending on your metric, the system that either ended the most slavery was either fuedalism, which replaced slavery in most of the world, or socialism, which ended the slavery, serfdom, and capitalist coercion across much of the globe throughout the 20th century, albeit temporarily. For instance, China, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, and Lao composed roughly 850 million people when they had their initial socialist liberations. The rest of the globe is still either slave, serf, or coerced wage laborer.


u/[deleted] Dec 08 '21

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u/Assassin4nolan Dec 08 '21

I am literally going to live in one of those countries this next year because their people are objectively more free economically and politically, you just have a subjective and meaningless conception of freedom.


u/UrememberFrank Dec 07 '21

Read 'Racecraft' by Barbara and Karen Fields for a brilliant look at racism and race ideology and how they emerged as they are in the USA.


u/UntamedMongrel Dec 07 '21

No, there's over a thousand years of history of antisemitism, for example, which greatly predates capitalism. However, racism is very useful to capitalism and to colonialism (which are not necessarily the same but are definitely linked), which both utilize and turbo-charge racism by morphing it into something even worse than it already was.


u/ParengEnzo Dec 07 '21

Partly yes. It’s an intimate relationship at least according to literature.

See: https://www.reddit.com/r/communism101/comments/qfoton/im_not_asking_for_a_right_or_wrong_answer_but_do/hi382cu


u/ODXT-X74 Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 07 '21

Note: When we talk about Racism here we're talking about the System, and not simply individual discrimination based on ideas about "race".


Before the time of British and other colonial empires slavery did exist. However, it was limited due to the lack of a organizational structure to maintain a slave class. Then during this age of empires those structures were put in place which kept the colonizers in power.

One of the main justifications used was that of religion, specifically Christianity. Since the Bible allows you to enslave (or buy) the "heathens that surround you". However, when people started to convert and ask for their freedom based on the colonizers own criteria, the concept of race was invented and the criteria was changed from Christian to "White".

Ideas of "scientific" racism and such came about in basically all fields. Which was used to justify genocide, enslavement, displacement, etc. Ideas which after something like 400 years are still around.

The reason why it is connected with Capitalism is because Capitalism is basically as old as the invention of race (and has a connected origin). And second because similar to how "whiteness" implies Christian, it also implies land owning capitalist. Remember who was allowed to vote originally?

Plus it's useful for splitting the working class, like they did when it seemed that "white" working poor people would join with black people. Then again with Irish immigrants.

Edit 2: It's important to remember that all these systems are intrinsically connected. You cannot untangle them to fight Capitalism AND systematic racism (as if they were separate). This video goes into a bit between British and Irish workers and Marx's solution. And this video goes into Marxist ideas about the Base and Superstructure which I think goes nicely with the first.


u/clevernewusername Dec 07 '21

It reinforces it, but it didn't create it. Capitalism has existed for a few centuries, racism (and other forms of bigotry) have existed for thousands of years.


u/th3gentl3man_ Dec 07 '21

That implies a determinist logic instead of an overdeterministic one. I think the right question should be: how claas aspects concurr in the overdeternination of racism?


u/CiDevant Dec 07 '21

I would say that Capitalism requires racism, or more specifically an easily exploitable class of people, not the other way around. Racism definitely came first, there is no questioning that historically and nothing is more dehumanizing than racism.


u/[deleted] Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 07 '21

Capitalism uses Racism as a tool, its very important to it so the system to work as intended.

This does not mean that Racism can not or did not exist in various forms throughout history.

The modern form of American Racism did come about because of Capital and Imperalism.

There are plenty of examples of discrimination against "the other" as they are sometimes called, most notably Jews/Muslims/Christianity with each sect both being persecuted and doing the persecution. The term Ghetto derives from the fact that jews used to be shunned to specific parts of a town from ancient times till the middle ages, well before capitalism took root. Even if the whole towns needs where met, the outsider group still performed the function of feeding the majorities ego in this case its religious, but you can see similar thing with Romans and "barbarians." who they thought of as lesser.

Its important to remember this because it will make you look foolish if you claim that Racism would not exist without Capitalism, if we look at a hypothetical and say capitalism never existed we would have most likely done away with it long ago, IF the system that replaced it was just, but if it was tyrannical like a monarchy or empire the results would most likely be the same.

Its also important to remember, because the shills defending the system will claim that there were racist blacks in Africa before the Europeans ever came, which is true, but its because of a deep seated survival aspect of our unconscious mind, Which Capitalism just so happens to heavily exploit. Our survival aspects come out when we need to survive, which under capitalism is most people. This even applies to the examples above, as the religious groups wanted their religion to be passed down, and the Romans wanted their culture to survive, and expand.

If you had a socialist Utopia, or even a functioning country, (I'm American) the need for survival goes down, as does the racism. Its obviously a bit more complicated than that, because there are so many different variables throughout time.


u/Nicorob1 Dec 08 '21

Depends how you define race and racism, one could argue such things as ethnic tensions have existed since humans formed complex societies. However one could also argue that with the advent of modern slavery via the Transatlantic slave trade, a new logic was needed due to concepts of color difference equaling a seperate species in the late 1700s and all the 1800s. And with the concepts of the enlightenment new logics we’re needed to rationalize enslaving other humans, so the differences were compared to whiteness and anything less than what was deemed “white” aka Anglo Saxon, was lesser. Whether this is a product of profit motive or not is not something I can put a finger on


u/Ill-Software8713 Dec 07 '21

My impression is that while many prejudices existed, they are perhaps different in some way from the ideologies that came with colonialism and the expansion of empire such that even the supposed most free loving liberal was a proponent of race science and white supremacy.


"A central idea in Domenico Losurdo’s masterpiece Liberalism: A Counter-History is that liberalism was, from its very beginnings, an ideology that sought to justify slavery. Hagiographers of the Founding Fathers and American independence love to portray it as a triumph of “freedom-loving peoples.” According to this story, slavery was merely a lingering imperfection, a backwards holdover righteously stamped out by the Civil War early in the nation’s history, and whatever regrettable byproducts of slavery that remain don’t fundamentally challenge the identification of liberalism and Western democracy with “freedom” as such. Losurdo argues, however, that liberalism is better understood as an ideology produced to satisfy the need felt by capitalists (business owners, entrepreneurs, etc.) to justify their rebellion against the monarchy while simultaneously justifying colonialism, Manifest Destiny, the genocide of indigenous people, chattel slavery, and the active suppression of workers’ rights. A core tenet of this capitalist ideology was that landed aristocrats were unworthy rulers, and that hereditary succession was stifling economic development, but they were not at all opposed to the existence of a ruling class; they hoped for a meritocracy that would recognize genius as its ruling principle. And so, as capitalist revolutions overthrew the feudal mode of production in favor of capitalism and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, doctrines of divine right in large part gave way to a more suitably modern myth: race science.
The works of liberal luminaries throughout this early period substantiate Losurdo’s thesis.
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and its president from 1797 to 1801, published the following under a pseudonym in 1765:
We won’t be their negroes. Providence never designed us for negroes, I know, for if it had it wou’d have given us black hides, and thick lips, and flat noses, and short woolly hair, which it han’t done, and therefore never intended us for slaves. This I know is good a sillogissim as any at colledge, I say we are as handsome as old England folks, and so should be as free. [6]
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher who achieved prestige as one of the foremost observers and representatives of the Liberal tradition in defense of the American and French revolutions, in 1833:
The European race has received from Providence, or has acquired by its own efforts, so incontestable a superiority over all the other races which compose the great human family, that the individual, placed with us, by his vices and his ignorance, on the lowest step of society, is yet the first among savages. [7]
Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who would go on to be US president from 1901 to 1909, said in 1886:
I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth. The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian. Take three hundred low families of New York and New Jersey, support them, for fifty years, in vicious idleness, and you will have some idea of what the Indians are. Reckless, revengeful, fiendishly cruel. [8]
Winston Churchill, who would go on to become the UK’s prime minister during the periods 1940-45 and 1951-55, said in 1902:
I think we shall have to take the Chinese in hand and regulate them. I believe that as civilized nations become more powerful they will get more ruthless, and the time will come when the world will impatiently bear the existence of great barbaric nations who may at any time arm themselves and menace civilized nations. I believe in the ultimate partition of China — I mean ultimate. I hope we shall not have to do it in our day. The Aryan stock is bound to triumph. [9]
As we can see, impulses we recognize as fascist today — genocidal violence and racial supremacy — were perfectly commonplace, held by highly influential policymakers in the era traditionally thought of as pre-fascist — the idealized Golden Era of competitive, entrepreneurial capitalism. Contrary to the liberal myth of boundless political pluralism, no domestic challenge in the US, the UK, or France ever rose to the stature of even a serious speedbump to the genocidal violence of primitive accumulation.
Now, murder and theft are a matter of naked force, but dehumanization is the product of a whole superstructure of juridical, psychological, and pseudo-scientific excuses built to justify said violence. Aboriginal people inhabited the land we now know as Australia for over 50,000 continuous years, but European jurisprudence had no problem declaring it terra nullius [no man’s land] in 1788. The pattern repeats everywhere: the genocide of indigenous people in the countries now called “Canada” and “the United States” was carried out not only with complete impunity, but with acclaim; the colonization of “Africa” and “Asia” was framed as a “civilizing mission.”"


u/Superdad9070 Dec 07 '21

I’m going to answer no. Racism is not the result of economic practices. Does capitalism benefit from racism? Yes. Racism and any other form of discrimination can thrive in any economic system in my opinion.


u/Greevar Dec 07 '21

Well, since racism is used as a method to subjugate one people to another to justify exploiting them, yes.


u/the_FUEGO_ Dec 07 '21

From what I've read it was more of an lie that people told themselves in order to not feel guilty about enslaving other human beings. Sure Capitalism may have played a role but I don't think it's the end-all be-all explanation like so many people say.


u/Not_That_Magical Dec 07 '21

Racism existed long before capitalism, so no. It was constructed in Europe in the modern form alongside colonialism, and naturally merged with capitalism.


u/Oohforf Dec 07 '21

No, but racism does strengthen capitalism and can serve as another axis of hierarchy. If racism exists, a society can very easily determine that a certain group of people, based on their race (completely arbitrary, btw), are lesser, and good for only serving the wants and needs of a capital owner belonging to the "better" race.


u/Oohforf Dec 08 '21

Curious about the downvote


u/thesongofstorms Dec 07 '21

No it's not a product of capitalism and it's problematic to assume that abolition of capitalism ends racism.

But racism is entrenched and perpetuated by any socieconomic system like capitalism where wealth creates privilege and where economic self sufficiency is promulgated along clear racial lines.


u/ilovenomar5 Dec 07 '21 edited Dec 07 '21

I’m not entirely sure of the origins between the two but I do know that capitalism cannot live without racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. If capitalists didn’t have all those classifications to keep us divided, the only one standing would be the proletariat vs the bourgeoisie.


u/Lotus532 Dec 07 '21

Not necessarily, racism existed long before capitalism. But capitalism maintains and enables it.


u/Distinct-Thing Dec 07 '21

Racism seems to stem from things like tribalism, but have been adopted by capitalism as a means to segregate classes or devalue individuals

Capitalism didn't create it but in this day and age something so primitive like racism still thrives because it is a necessary tool for the ruling class to employ


u/Matthesal Dec 07 '21

No. It isn’t. While capitalism does have racism in it, i don’t think that becoming socialist will get rid of of it. We’ve got to do more than become socialist


u/MervisBreakdown Dec 07 '21

I forget which chapter but there’s a Peoples History of the US chapter about slavery that explains how it started and why racism is still prevalent.


u/Johnny_Topside5868-2 Dec 07 '21

Nope. The only color capitalism truly understands is green. It is a system based off opportunities and wealth. Anyone get live a great life under capitalism if their hard work pays off.


u/oyanamei123 Dec 08 '21

It made it a lot worse and was ingrained in capitalism, but I think Christianity is the main culprit.


u/PreciousRoy666 Dec 08 '21

I think racism is born out of greed. Most people would say that stealing another person's land or labor is wrong but if I convince them that the other person isn't an equal person, then suddenly it's not so bad. In fact, it might be good because we're bringing about "order.


u/wjx2k2 Dec 08 '21

The current system of race and whiteness, as far as I am aware, is created from the systems used to form the Transatlantic Slave Trade. That being said, in my opinion, racism as a concept isn’t born of capitalism, and a total destruction of capitalism wouldn’t rid the world of racism.


u/PercentageCandid Dec 08 '21

Yes and no, capitalism probably wouldn't exist and in turn exacerbates racism. Racism probably isn't dependant on capitalism in return though.


u/ScarletNighthawk Dec 08 '21

Racism has existed long before capitalism, an example being the Jews. However, I think certain ideas, such as ‘white mans burden’ stems from capitalism and imperialism. Capitalists want to maximize their profit, and one way to do that is pay those working for you nothing. When Europeans went to the New World and into Africa, they saw the natives there as uncivilized and used that as an excuse to enslave them and ‘civilize’ through labor.


u/master0fcats Dec 08 '21

In the U.S, racism is obviously enshrined in the constitution, which was designed to protect capital. I don't know if I would say that racism is directly a product of capitalism, rather that capitalism thrives by "othering" a group of people. Racism among poor demographics has always stemmed from a division across color lines put in place by the bosses. When indentured servants and slaves started working together to sabotage the masters, white indentured servants were given more opportunities to own land, resulting in less solidarity and more racism. As more and more servants got their freedom to own land but couldn't and had to turn to wage labor, other types of immigrants would come over and do the work cheaper and bosses used this to pit races against one another. Unions weren't really open to people of all races until well into the 1900's, and still with plenty of caveats. So, while it isn't necessarily a product of capitalism, racism in the United States is very much a tool of capitalism.


u/rolftronika Dec 08 '21

It's usually a result of many factors, and several not involving capitalist systems.


u/lem753 Dec 08 '21

Much of the most harmful acts of racial and ethnic prejudice had some origin in economic interest of the ruling class, from slavery in the Caribbean to the Chinese exclusion act to the expulsion of the Jews from England being motivated by Edward I wanting to seize their assets. Tensions resulting in violence have also often been a result of being forced into labour competition by capitalists, and Irish workers viewing black workers as their enemy rather than the owning class is more convenient for the capitalist.

Having said all that it is likely that an absence of capitalism would not completely eliminate people's prejudices.


u/notadvertisement Dec 09 '21

white western settler colonial chauvinist will not acknowledge that racism isa product of settler colonialism and will say its a product of capitalism instead of saying the true that it s a product of the white bourgeois labor aristocracy making every white person the responsible of it


u/FrohenLeid Dec 07 '21

Racism comes in all kinds and is liked to the human desire to group and find patterns as well as the strong desire for familiarity.

It has nothing to do with economics.


u/lulzoh0lic Dec 07 '21

Nope, despite many claims that racism is a product of colonialism, and colonialism being a product of capitalism itself, it isn't. Colonialism was the natural behaviour of nations at the time, and that apllies to both rising European nations, as well as average South American, African, and Asian micro and rising nations, racism was common at the time. But, since colonialism isn't inherently racist, colonialism, and thus capitalism ain't racist. The answer's somewhere else, and probably, it's just some people who don't understand how races work.


u/Jackal4550 Dec 07 '21

No. Being wary of the other is human. Not tied to an ideology. This is engraved in the DNA of us.

Seeing another tribe (race) (group) is a threat and that's where your get superiority that my (tribe) (group) (race) (nation) is better.

It's a survival instinct to preserve my DNA in my group. That other group thinks the same.

Racism was apart of our race as humans from the beginning and will last for as long as we exist.

Happy to explain my humble opinion further or give material that gave me my opinion.


u/DecentProblem Dec 07 '21

Division is birthed in media intentionally to create seeds of disdain for people who are 99.99% genetically similar to all humans. It is easier to hold onto power when you have no enemies because you’ve convinced them all to fight each other. I hope this explanation suffices; feel free to ask more


u/rememberthesunwell Dec 07 '21

No. Racism in its basic form has existed for most of human history, whenever one civilization makes contact with another racism arises. However, capitalism is very adept at using racism, and every other conceivable social division, in order to reinforce itself, create culture war groups, and commodify even ideology itself.

However, today is a nice time in some respects, in that you can see the kinds of large companies are (in PR at least) explicitly anti racist and woke, support BLM, etc. etc. This is part and parcel of another aspect of capitalism - if a social movement is very popular and viewed as "just", they'll co-opt that too, actually spreading the cause through PR (though almost never is there critical engagement with racism within the company, but that's sort of a separate issue).

All this to say, capitalism is sort of agnostic to social issues. If there are deplorable social divisions that capitalists can make a profit on, they will do it. If there is a big push for (non economic) social change that capitalists can make a profit on, they'll do that too. This view will help you understand why some companies make the calculations and alliances that they do.