Another response to When Did Racism Begin?—an exchange on Craigslist:
Modern white tool of oppression: < potpourri > 09/14 15:12:02
This is in contrast to some of the common assumptions about where racism comes from.
The first is that racism is part of human nature (loku)—that it's always existed and always will. The second is the liberal idea of racism—that it comes from people's bad ideas (neonomenclature), and that if we could change these ideas, we could get rid of it.
Both assumptions are wrong. Racism isn't just an ideology but is an institution. And its origins don't lie in bad ideas or in human nature. Rather, racism originated with capitalism and the slave trade. As the Marxist writer CLR James put it, "The conception of dividing people by race begins with the slave trade. This thing was so shocking, so opposed to all the conceptions of society which religion and philosophers had…that the only justification by which humanity could face it was to divide people into races and decide that the Africans were an inferior race."
History proves this point. Prior to the advent of capitalism, racism as a systematic form of oppression did not exist. For example, ancient Greek and Roman societies had no concept of race or racial oppression.
RACISM ORIGINATED with the modern slave trade. Just as the slaveholders of ancient Greece and Rome created an ideology that their barbaric slave system was "natural," so did the modern slave-owning class.
There was one important difference. According to them, slavery was "natural" because of race.
Slavery in ancient Rome differed from its modern forms in that it was not based on race.
Slavery had a long history in the ancient world and was practiced in Ancient Egypt and Greece, as well as Rome. Most slaves during the Roman Empire were foreigners and, unlike in modern times, Roman slavery was not based on race.
Right timeframe, wrong slaves < robschmidt > 09/14/07 16:52
"Racism isn't just an ideology but is an institution. And its origins don't lie in bad ideas or in human nature. Rather, racism originated with capitalism and the slave trade."
Right! Before then, people discriminated against outsiders but didn't distinguish between them based on skin color.
"RACISM ORIGINATED with the modern slave trade."
Right...but Columbus began enslaving Indians before the transatlantic trade in African slaves. That was the real starting point of the slave trade.
Racism began with the expansionism that led Europe to explore and colonize the world. Europeans needed an excuse for conquering a land and subjugating its inhabitants in violation of the Christian ideal, so they began to demonize the "strange" people they found in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The first people so demonized were the Caribbean Indians Columbus encountered in 1492.
For more on the subject, see When Did Racism Begin?
Race doesn't exist. It is a social construct. < Whazuuup > 09/14 16:14
Therefore racism is what a delusional mind thinks is keeping them from succeeding, when it's really their own faults.
It's artificial but it's real < robschmidt > 09/14/07 16:35
"Therefore racism is what a delusional mind thinks is keeping them from succeeding, when it's really their own faults."
Yes, darn all those delusional slaves for letting racism enslave them. Why didn't they just declare themselves free and be done with it?
Actually, societies construct the social construct of racism, then oppress and enslave people based on it. Like any other social construct (e.g., monotheism, capitalism, Nazism), it can do harm once people bring it into existence.
Why Spawn isn't black
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