Tuesday, 9 June 2015

IRANIAN NEWSPAPER - TEHRAN TIMES - DENOUNCES 'CAPITALISM AND ANTI-BLACK RACISM IN THE uSA'

The front page of Tehran's English Language Daily Newspaper, Tehran Times, available in the front lobby of my hotel, says "Anti-Black Prejudice Remains Grave Problem in US." -- The Article talks about Baltimore, Ferguson, etc. and goes on to blame US racism on "Capitalism." - Caleb Maupin



Anti-black prejudice remains grave problem in U.S.: critical theorist 
By Javad Heirannia, Tehran Times

TEHRAN – A professor of critical theory from Northumbria University says prejudice against African Americans “remains a grave problem in American life”.

Stuart Sim says, “The African-American community has historically been at the lower end of the socio-economic scale in the U.S., which has denied it access to areas like education.”

Sim says racial prejudice against blacks predates “modern capitalism”.

“Racial prejudice predates modern capitalism, but in the sense that the slave trade played a significant role in the development of the U.S. economy in the state’s early period, which is when modern capitalism was on the rise, then it can be seen as a critical factor,” Sim tells the Tehran Times.

Following is the full text of the interview:


Q: Leftist theorists like Immanuel Walterstein believe that capitalism, in both internal and international aspects, exploits its periphery (working class from inside, poor and developing countries from outside). In this case, what is the relationship between capitalism and racial discrimination?

A: The African-American community has historically been at the lower end of the socio-economic scale in the U.S., which has denied it access to areas like education (given the very high tuition fees that American universities charge). This in turn makes African-Americans less well-qualified to apply for the kind of employment that would raise them out of their relative poverty to the dominant white population. Capitalism seeks to keep reducing the cost of resources in order to maximise shareholder profits, and as we can see from the neoliberal form of capitalism now dominating the global economy, this steadily drives down wages, leading to an ever greater exploitation of those who work to produce those resources.



Q: Don’t you think that sovereignty rules in the capitalist system are among the reasons as to why blacks are widely mistreated in the United States?

A: For those reasons listed above, I don’t think it is the only factor involved – although it is clearly a very important one. Racial prejudice based on skin colour is, sadly, a recurrent feature over the course of Western history, and it has proved to be very hard to eradicate. One only has to note the very mixed reception that the notion of multiculturalism has had in Western European societies to recognize that there is still a great deal of latent racial prejudice around that simply assumes the supremacy of white culture.



Q: Can the roots of racial discrimination against the African-Americans be traced back to the emergence of capitalism?

A: Again, racial prejudice predates modern capitalism, but in the sense that the slave trade played a significant role in the development of the U.S. economy in the state’s early period, which is when modern capitalism was on the rise, then it can be seen as a critical factor. Anti-black prejudice remains a grave problem in American life.



Q: In the name of unity, the black Americans experienced the great cruelty and oppression under the shadow of the U.S. civil wars. How do you explain it?

A: Slavery was the basis of the Southern states’ prosperity, to the extent that they seceded from the union rather allow it to be abolished. To this day racial discrimination remains far more entrenched in those states than the rest of the country, indicating that the mentality that lay behind slavery has not entirely gone away. It is easier to change laws than mentalities.


1: Capitalism seeks to keep reducing the cost of resources in order to maximise shareholder profits, and as we can see from the neoliberal form of capitalism now dominating the global economy, this steadily drives down wages, leading to an ever greater exploitation of those who work to produce those resources.


2: The mentality that lay behind slavery has not entirely gone away

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