Some folks relish being a problem as amiri baraka and

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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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