Posted in Racism

How Criticism of Capitalism can Lead to Racism

Now, before you start writing that angry comment, hear me out for a second. I’m in no way saying that all criticism of capitalism is racist. Ordinarily, criticism or critique of capitalism is completely fine. It’s welcome even! The thing is, many people (white people in particular) bring it out as a deflection for their racism. They use it as a derailment tactic that is not welcome at all and extremely unnecessary.

This usually happens when a Black person or other person of color points out that someone else did something racist. A Good White Person(TM) will then barge in and say how they disagree and how it was totally not racist and the PoC is just overreacting. After an exchange of words which usually involves a Token Person of Color(TM) being played like a Pokémon card, the Good White Person(TM) does some digging. What do they find? The PoC they’ve been yelling at uses dirty capitalism to make money! Capitalism fuels racism! They’re the real racist! Score one for the Good White Person(TM)!

Needless to say the Good White Person(TM) ends up making a complete fool of themselves because, guess what? The world is way more complicated than that. On the simplest of levels, this argument is completely asinine. Here in the United States, and a lot of other countries around the world, we run on capitalism. We need money to buy things to live. I use money to buy food, pay rent, keep the heat on, put gas in my car, etc. The United States of America runs on money. Real legal tender. That doesn’t change simply because I’m fighting against racism.

I can’t go to the rental office and say “I’m not paying rent anymore because I no longer desire to fund the white supremacist system.” I can’t go to the grocery store & be like “I refuse to pay because paying fuels capitalism and capitalism runs on racism.” Things simply do not work that way. It may work like that in your head, but over here in reality it don’t work like that.

I need money; actual government issued, the shit that comes from the US Bureau of Engraving & Printing money in order to survive. Getting and using money on a daily basis to survive does not, in any way, shape, or form take away from my desire to eradicate racism. My arguments against racism (and capitalism!) are not invalidated because I’m forced to live and work under a capitalist system.

Before you start with the “well just move” arguments, I’m going to say again that it doesn’t work that way. What places don’t run on capitalism? Where am I supposed to go? Where will I get the money to move?  If I have to move out of the country, do I have to learn a new language? Will the new country even accept me? How do I, realistically plan out and enact a move to a non-capitalist place and what exactly am I supposed to do when I get there?

The most important questions of all are, are you willing to help? Are you doing the exact same thing you’re trying to criticize me for? Are you willing to take your own advice, or are you just all talk and no action?

In short, the world is way more complicated than most believe it is. There are precious few things that are truly either/or. Those of us that have to deal with, say, racism and capitalism on a daily basis know this and we know it well. So before you jump to the “but you’re participating in capitalism” defense, think about what you’re doing and saying. You don’t want to end up looking like a fool.

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I'm a simple single mom living a complicated life.

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