Systemic Classism, Systemic Racism: Are Social and Racial Justice Achievable in the United States?
48 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009
Date Written: May 27, 2009
This paper argues that the United States is systemically a highly classist and racist society, that systemic classism and racism are intimately interrelated phenomena, and that reforming this situation requires a mass movement of working class people of all ethnicities for social and racial justice for all. Section II discusses aspects of American society infected by systemic classism and racism. The focus is on the economic system, the local governmental structure, and the political process - central and interrelated features of society's class and racial hierarchies. The thesis is that these institutions are structured and operate so as to systematically disadvantage ethnic minorities (in particular African Americans and Hispanics) and working class people in general.
Section III addresses what it would take to bring about systemic reform. Part A outlines a program for a non-classist/non-racist society, a major theme being that it requires a substantial reordering of power relations that now advantage a fairly small and predominantly white upper class segment of the population. Part B assesses the conditions under which a mass movement for social and racial justice might arise, focusing by analogy on the Abolitionist Movement, the New Deal era and the Civil Rights Movement. Part C examines the possibilities of a reform movement in light of the current economic crisis. The Conclusion asserts that without a mass reform movement this will remain a highly classist and racist society for the foreseeable future.
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