Race vs Racism
If you can stand to read one more article on race, make it this one, lacking the usual accusations and rhetoric, but with a feasible win/win for all.
July 26, 2020
Jeffery J. Smith

Race Via Experience

As a kid, I found it fun and exciting to visit China Town, and Little Italy, and the black settlement in the woods when we gave our maid a ride home. That mixed composition of my world was normal for me, and interesting. I was born after the changes that my ancestors witnessed and felt.

Later, in my chosen subculture, it was not unusual to have black buddies, do stuff together without other people. I was a guest in their homes, met their mothers. Some of their friends accepted me, some were racist towards me. Heck, even toward each other, if one was not black enough.

In grad school I visited a fellow student. He had all the perks Affirmative Action could provide, including a big apartment. As normal for me, I looked for a book collection on his shelves to check out and found a record collection. All soul, no classical, no white pop, not even any world beat. In my subculture, one can have an eclectic taste—perhaps a #privilege.

My buddy’s privilege was way out of bounds for me. He could do anything in public; most white people wouldn’t say anything. Once we were strolling by a party of complete strangers—he just walked right in. Some whites are #reverse racist, which makes some blacks uncomfortable, but not my pal.

Ever go to jail? All the black prisoners ever talk about is as soon as they get out they’re going to get a #white girl with black fever pregnant. For revenge. Some succeed.

Race Via Reading

Some whites can be #colorblind. Not me. Because our brains need shortcuts, race = color. But our brains also process facial features, subcultural norms, etc. Noting such differences is not racism but what the brain has evolved to do. Mother Nature is not PC.

In my research on economic development, I discovered English and Bostonian shippers bought the unlucky cargo in slave markets from, usually, black African Muslims. (When brothers trade in their Christian names for Muslim ones, the irony tickles me; in their shoes, I’d switch to a Swahilii or Hausa name.) Furthermore, there’s still an Anti-Slavery Society. It consists of black #African members, for black Africans now enslaved, against the black Africans enslaving them.

In my research on revenue policy, I came across a another point of contention between Southern plantation owners and Northern abolitionists. The North also levied tariffs that the South paid. A lesser factor behind the #Civil War compared to pompous asses preserving their feudal way of life.

Race Reinforced

Modern war is irrational. Ordinary soldiers have nothing to gain, no land or slaves or booty or rape, just ideology. Modern soldiers merely act out our species’s pack animal nature—so, so easy to stampede.

Given war is nothing to extol, sure, get rid of all #statues of guys who killed in uniform. In their stead, put up statues of people like MLK or Johnny Appleseed or the inventor of the railroad or the ladies who led suffrage. #Rational heroes.

As for the #flag of Dixie, who gets to decide its meaning? For many, it flies for their region. In contrast, in Sweden, motorcycle gangs don’t use the swastika but the US flag. So should we ban or replace the US flag?

Well-meaning #PCers make certain topics taboo, yet permit themselves their self-righteous rants. While occupying the moral high ground, they stifle others; communication’s a sine qua non for progress. They alienate the very people they hope to change, which brews up trouble.

Race Outpaced

The more I experience, the less I like opinions (other than my own, of course—no bias here:). Especially of those who reject science. And almost everyone is ignorant of anthropology.

While I do learn from others, likely I’ve heard everything academics can say about race. Even #black academics, occupying, as they do, positions within the cloister, claiming that’s not privilege. Rather than hear yet again from do-gooders, let’s listen to ex-do-badders. #Recovered racists, not people already evolved beyond racism, might better explain how to change minds.

The judgmental religious approach—something’s wrong inside your head, yours should be more like mine—is off-putting. And it distracts from approaches that do work. Race aside, all humans are members of a crazy species, politics proves. Let’s leave politics for economics. Racism will never end until #economic justice rules. 

Race Fades Vis-a-Vis Prosperity

Now as an adult, when I see familiar neighborhoods lose their character, my reaction is different. I see the trash, hear the rude noise, feel the bitter eyes. I don’t excuse that but rather work for economic empowerment that offers pride in place. The other sine qua non is economic #justice. Harder to win than passing another round of #civil rights bills.

To succeed, address #land ownership and taxation, two topics most feel strongly about. Yet they are the path forward. Land is so crucial that all the blacks who achieved more than a little prosperity—such as Oprah—in their background their families owned land. Conversely,# taxation stifles economic growth; where blacks live in great numbers—cities, Dixie—taxation is most regressive.

Rosa Parks, who kicked off the bus strike that attracted MLK, got her activist education at the #Highlander School in Tennessee. There they also taught #Georgist economics, which exposes the role of land in economies and #hierarchies.

The value of location is a consequence of the presence of society. As a social surplus, society could share it. Already, Alaska pays an oil dividend. Aspen CO uses a slice of site value to fund housing for all, even for doctors. If black-majority cities and counties gathered up location value—highest in downtowns—and paid residents a dividend, they’d create a big middle class of all the groups, economic #history shows.

In widespread prosperity, there’s far less tension between groupings that most humans find useful (and which I find frustrating; why not characterize people by dog person vs cat person?). Imagine most blacks well-off, very few poor. You’d remove the main ingredient of the #racist recipe. Seems to me. Love to all,

Find Out More.
Inside information on economics, society, nature, and technology.
Jeffery J. Smith

JEFFERY J. SMITH published The Geonomist, which won a California GreenLight Award, has appeared in both the popular press (e.g.,TruthOut) and academic journals (e.g., USC's “Planning and Markets”), been interviewed on radio and TV, lobbied officials, testified before the Russian Duma, conducted research (e.g., for Portland's mass transit agency), and recruited activists and academics to Progress.org. A member of the International Society for Ecological Economics and of Mensa, he lives in Mexico. Jeffery formerly was Chief Editor at Progress.org.