Michael Dawson, curator of the new series on “Race & Capitalism,” kicks things off with a reflection on how the contemporary intersection between racialization and the capitalist political economy is taking democracy to the brink. Building on a key insight from W. E. B. Du Bois (discussed in detail by Ella Myers in an earlier Items essay), Dawson links the breakdown in upward mobility for many working-class whites to a reinvigoration of the public face of white supremacy. Tracing the nexus of capitalism, racial domination, and patriarchy in the United States, Dawson engages the question of emancipatory movements, and the possibilities of their emergence, in a political moment he sees as a full-blown legitimacy crisis.
Michael Dawson and Megan Ming Francis, curators for and contributors to the “Reading Racial Conflict” series, conclude the series with a set of reflections on the ways RRC authors bring the deep lessons from classic works in the political economy of race to bear on the present. They call attention to key themes that cut cross the essays: the persistence of violence visited on and the demonization of African Americans; the place of race in the development of capitalism and class formation; how capitalist development and racism deepen divides between the white and black working classes; class divisions within the black community; and how the intersections of race and capital shape inequalities globally.
Michael C. Dawson launches the “Reading Racial Conflict” series by reflecting on the contemporary relevance of two major works on the political economy of race and capitalism: James Boggs’s Racism and the Class Struggle and Mario Barrera’s Race and Class in the Southwest. In their analyses of the divide among the white and non-white working classes in the 1960s and ’70s, Dawson sees antecedents of Donald Trump’s rise in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Racial cleavages in public opinion remain massive, particularly between black and white citizens. Gaps of 20 to 60 percent between mean black and white opinion are consistently found on issues such as support for military intervention in the Middle East, economic redistribution, prospects for blacks achieving racial equality in the United States, whether felons who have served […]