Published in the May 2010 issue of Born Black Magazine (Canada)

By Larry Pinkney

Racism is terribly debilitating in numerous ways and on so many levels. It is also an integral part of an unequal social, political, and economic system that perpetuates it. That system is commonly referred to as capitalism.

There are those who vociferously decry racism but studiously avoid exposing the single most avaricious system that perpetuates it. In so doing, they offer no viable systemic alternatives to racism, and by ignoring its fundamental, systemic roots, are in essence reinforcing it. It is reminiscent of the words of the former slave Frederick Douglass, when he made reference to “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” We must “agitate” and organize for real systemic change.

Racism must be combated and reversed at its roots, from the “ground” level. One does not successfully fell a tree by merely chopping at its branches. When tilling the soil he or she does so from the bottom up, not the top down. This is both necessary and the only truly sensible and radical [i.e. root] approach to tilling the soil. The same is absolutely correct with respect to eradicating racism and replacing it with a system of social, political, and economic equality. It does not require the mind of a rocket scientist to understand this reality.

The late author, activist, and political thinker Frantz Fanon, in his books entitled, The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks, took pains to delineate not only the horrific affects and violence of racism upon its victims, but also how racism is itself a dangerous sickness on the part of its perpetrators, perpetuated by a system of social, political, and economic inequality and exploitation.

The horrors of exploitation, external colonization, internal colonization (and ongoing neo-colonization) primarily carried out by European powers (including the United States and Canada) against the peoples of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the indigenous populations of North, Central, and South ‘America,’ and the so-called ‘Middle East’ are akin to ticking time bombs that are still exploding today, in the 21st century. Racism has played and continues to play a significant role the systemic perpetuation of these horrors.

Like a stealthy, poisonous snake that sheds its outward skin, these systemic exploiters are, as in the case of Barack Obama in the United States, utilizing certain people of color to continue, intensify, and sophisticate their social, cultural, political, and economic death grip around the necks of peoples at home and abroad. This exploitation, though primarily directed against non-white people, is also increasingly being used against economically poor whites as well. The capitalist system shrewdly and cynically utilizes the very racism that it itself perpetuates, as yet an additional means of dividing, manipulating, and controlling people of all colors. Thus, maintaining systemic control through the utilization of division, manipulation, and fear.

It is simply not enough to decry racism. It is urgent that the root causes of racism and economic exploitation, and their perpetuation thereto, be simultaneously addressed and exposed. We can, and must have, better and more equal societies on this planet Earth—but we must comprehend the insidious nature of the systemic snake that is busily oppressing and exploiting us all, and act accordingly.

Onward then sisters and brothers! Onward!…

Larry Pinkney is an editorial board member and author of the ‘Keeping It Real’ column in The Black Commentator,, and a former university instructor of political science and international relations. He is also a veteran of the Black Panther Party; the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Additional information on Mr. Pinkney can be found in the book, SAYING NO TO POWER by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn], and in the archives of Dr. Huey P. Newton [co-founder of the Black Panther Party] at Stanford University, U.S.A.

This article may be re-printed in its entirety as long as full tribute is given to the author and and a link back to the original article is provided.



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