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Unformatted text preview: l in certain relations. Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold by itself is money, or as sugar is the
price of sugar.3 In this passage, Marx shows no prejudice to Blacks (“a man of the black race,” “a Negro is a Negro”), but he mocks society’s equation of “Black”
and “slave” (“one explanation is as good as another”). He shows how the economic and social relations of emerging capitalism
thrust Blacks into slavery (“he only becomes a slave in certain relations”), which produce the dominant ideology that equates being
African with being a slave. These fragments of Marx’s writing give us a good start in understanding the Marxist explanation of the origins of racism. As the Trinidadian
historian of slavery Eric Williams put it: “Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery .”4 And, one should add,
the consequence of modern slavery at the dawn of capitalism. While slavery existed as an economic system for
thousands of years before the con...
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- Spring '14