Question concerning race and class

Alex Lantsberg wideye at
Wed Jul 1 15:27:58 PDT 1998

I too am an eastern immigrant of left leaning variety. It seems that as long as we consider others to be racist, while we claim immunity from the dirtiness of that way of thought, we are shutting ourselves off from the reality of our own racism.

I work in a community in SF that is more than 90% people of color, and although I have to give myself some credit for unlearning and moving past some of the things that have been drilled into my head since the first day that I came to this country, I also have to admit that American racism is firmly embedded in my mind. Imagine the damage it inflicts upon those born and raised here, whether they are white or people of color.

Our first matter of course is to not think of racism as something that happens in the South or in some backward community, but something that occurs on a daily basis everywhere in this country. Land use decisions that place toxics in low-income neighborhoods are racist in nature, our sketchiness when we see a group of young Black men is racism, and our insistence on incarceration instead of education is racist.

Lets be frank with ourselves, whether we are left, right or center.

-----Original Message----- From: owner-lbo-talk at [mailto:owner-lbo-talk at] On Behalf Of Wojtek Sokolowski Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 1998 7:44 AM To: lbo-talk at Subject: Question concerning race and class

I've been watching the debate about racism/nationalism silently, mainly because I have little to add to what Max Sawicky and Jim heartfield have already said on the subject. I have, however, one question.

The proposition "End capitalist oppression!" entails a set of programs that, if implemented, are likely to achieve an empirically observable set of objectives stipulated by that proposition. Those programs may or may not get support of various interests groups, and thus may or may not be attainable under particular political-historical circumstances. But there is little doubt that the implementation of a program that, say, curtails private property rights will reduce the capacity of the "haves" to economically exploit the "have-nots," and will produce a more equitable distribution of economic resources.

When it comes to the proposition "End racism," however, I am at utter loss.

What the f**k are we supposed to do (individually or collectively) to achieve that end?

I hope nobody on this list seriously believes that schmoozing, throwing epithets at real or perceived enemies, "town meetings," street rallies or supporting a political campaign will have any measurable effect on "race relations" other than propelling a few entrepreneuring individulas to leadership positions.

So what a person like myself (an Eastern European immigrant of leftist persuasion) is supposed to do to 'end racism?' And while we are at that, can anyone describe to me how exactly the 'end of racism' looks like, so I can tell (instead of being told!) whether we have one or not?

Best regards,

Wojtek Sokolowski

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