Connexions Resource Centre
Focus on Race, Caste, Ethnicity, Racism, Multiculturalism, Identity Politics
Recent & Selected Articles
- This is a small sampling of articles related to education and children in the Connexions Online Library. For more articles, books, films, and other resources, check the Connexions Library Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Haymarket Books "Abolitionist Teaching" forum: A call to promote racial division among teachers (July 13, 2020)
With public education under relentless attack in the United States, and teachers, students, and parents fighting to preserve public education, liberals are working to divide and derail the resistance by putting forward the narrative that the problem is "whiteness" and that white teachers are "privileged." This is out-and-out racism masquerading as progressive politics.
- The Triumph of Black Lives Matter and Neoliberal Redemption (June 20, 2020)
Black Lives Matter sentiment is essentially a militant expression of racial liberalism. Such expressions are not a threat but rather a bulwark to the neoliberal project that has obliterated the social wage, gutted public sector employment and worker pensions, undermined collective bargaining and union power, and rolled out an expansive carceral apparatus, all developments that have adversely affected black workers and communities. Sure, some activists are calling for defunding police departments and de-carceration, but as a popular slogan, Black Lives Matter is a cry for full recognition within the established terms of liberal democratic capitalism. And the ruling class agrees.
- Disappearing cultural sins: The case against banning old racist TV shows (June 18, 2020)
How watching an old British series full of racist tropes in Pakistan changed my perspective on whether such shows should be banned.
- Racism is a Problem White People are Not (June 14, 2020)
Viewing white people all white people as guilty and complicit distorts political issues and deflects from real causes. Nor is it just African Americans whose lives are devastated by the injustices of the justice system. More than half of those killed by US police are white; and while, proportionately, police killings of African Americans have fallen in recent years, that of white people has sharply risen. Some analyses suggest that the best predictor of police killings is not race but income levels the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be killed. Race and class are not competitive causal categories to be set against each other. Minorities are an integral part of the working class and they often have similar experiences of state authority. Race and class shape peoples lives in complex ways.
- Corporate Media Are Focusing on Race - and Dodging Class (June 12, 2020)
Media outlets routinely detour around reasons why African Americans and other people of color are so disproportionately poor-- and, as a result of poverty, are dying much younger than white people. The media ruts bypass confronting how the wealthy gain more wealth and large corporations reap more profits at the expense of poor and middle-income people.
- Black or White, It's the Same Old Anti-Semitic Pathology (January 7, 2020)
2019 closed with a number of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York City areaincluding the killing of three people at a Jersey City kosher market by two shooters who had expressed interest in the fringe Black Hebrew Israelite movement, and a machete attack at a rabbi's home in Monsey, NY by a suspect who appears to have referenced the same anti-Semitic hate group in his rambling manifesto.
- Gabor Maté on the misuse of anti-Semitism and why fewer Jews identify with Israel (November 6, 2019)
Talking today about antisemitism, particularly posing it as a problem on the left.
- The Wages of Roediger: Why Three Decades of Whiteness Studies Has Not Produced the Left We Need (September 9, 2019)
The popular claim that Trump's election signified resurgent white supremacy is not only wrong -- it's dangerous. It grants more power to the fascist right than it deserves. Different voters and constituencies supported Trump for different reasons, not all of them rational.
- Black Liberation Struggle: The Key to American Socialist Revolution (February 22, 2019)
Everybody is familiar with Marx's famous saying, in Capital, Vol. 1 (1867), that "labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded." This was more than a moral appeal against slavery. It was a statement of fact: Marx recognized that so long as half the country was dominated by slavery, workers would never be able to fight for even basic trade-union rights. The Civil War paved the way for the growth of American capitalism and the labor movement.
- Israel's 'nation-state law' parallels the Nazi Nuremberg Laws (July 26, 2018)
Israel's new 'nation-state' law follows in the footsteps of Jim Crow, the Indian Removal Act and the Nuremberg Laws.
- Israel steps up its war on mixed marriages (July 23, 2018)
The Israeli government has long funded various efforts to try to prevent romantic relationships between Jews and non-Jews, both inside territories it controls and around the world. But a new program confirmed this month by the tourism ministry takes Israel's war on families of mixed religion or ethnicity to a new level.
- Intersectionality is a Hole. Afro-Pessimism is a Shovel. We Need to Stop Digging, Part 1 of 2 (January 25, 2018)
Dixon argues that intersectionality - or, rather, its interpretation by the so-called "US left" - decenters class struggle in its effort to equalize oppressions.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle (December 17, 2017)
Coates represents the neoliberal wing of the black freedom struggle that sounds militant about white supremacy but renders black fightback invisible. This wing reaps the benefits of the neoliberal establishment that rewards silences on issues such as Wall Street greed or Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and people. The disagreement between Coates and me is clear: any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading. So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates worldview.
- Land and Racism (October 24, 2017)
A look at the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organization subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, and its exclusionary land policies.
- Race v. Class? More Brilliant Bourgeois Bullshit from Ta-Nehesi Coates (September 15, 2017)
Coates is either flat-out lying or woefully ignorant when he argues that "the left" is disinterested in the big and significant problems of racial identity and racial justice. The longstanding legitimately Left progressive agenda addresses both race and class at one and the time. It does not accept Coates' false dichotomy between class and race.
- Why Are All Those Racists So Terrified? (August 22, 2017)
Past efforts, whatever personnel, resources and strategies have been devoted to them, have done nothing to address the underlying cause of racism and so their impact must be superficial and temporary. As the record demonstrates.
- The Myth of 'Cultural Appropriation' (July 2, 2017)
Arguing that certain people dont have the right to tell certain stories is a distraction from the real menace: inequality.
- The Absurdity of Saying "White Privilege' (May 14, 2017)
Using rhetoric like "white supremacy" and "white privilege" is a way of stereotyping the whole of "white" people and lumping everyone into one group. This is the surest way to turn potential allies in the struggle for justice into adversaries; by doing so we end up perpetuating the very divides that the "system" depends on to splinter people apart.
- Class is More Intersectional than Intersectionality (November 11, 2016)
The Left as it exists currently is often ashamed of and apologetic for its class struggle orientation, chasing after demographic-specific oppression issues. An approach that leans toward greater emphasis on a class struggle focus is actually more intersectional than a focus which gives more attention to demographic-specific issues than to class.
- Racist of the year, Ian Khama: Not Botswana's finest (October 12, 2016)
General Ian Khama, the President of Botswana, and his frequent outbursts against the Kalahari Bushmen are among the most horrifying instances of racism of recent times. His sentiments are extremely troubling.
- I Was a CIA Whistleblower. Now I'm a Black Inmate. Here's How I See American Racism. (September 13, 2016)
From the moment I crossed the threshold from freedom to incarceration because I was charged with, and a jury convicted me of, leaking classified information to a New York Times reporter, I needed no reminder that I was no longer an individual. Prison, with its "one size fits all" structure, is not set up to recognize a person's worth; the emphasis is removal and categorization. Inmates are not people; we are our offenses. In this particular prison where I live, there are S-Os (sex offenders), Cho-Mos (child molesters), and gun and drug offenders, among others. Considering the charges and conviction that brought me here, I'm not exactly sure to which category I belong. No matter. There is an overriding category to which I do belong, and it is this prison reality that I sadly "compare unto the world": I'm not just an inmate, I'm a black inmate.
- The socioeconomic basis of identity politics (August 30, 2016)
At a point when the American people are more tolerant in their social views than at any previous time in history, they are informed on a daily basis that the US seethes with racial and ethnic hatreds, along with violent misogyny and homophobia. The Democratic Party, supported by all of the various left-liberal and pseudo-left trends, is particularly aggressive and vociferous on this score. Identity politics, the self-centered, upper-middle-class obsession with race, gender and sexual identity, has become one of that party's principal pillars.
- Echoes From the Past: the Racial View of Class (August 18, 2016)
How the Victorian elite saw class in racial terms. Malik challenges conventional ways of thinking about the historical roots of racial ideas, and demonstrates how much of racial thinking originated not in the context of perceptions of non-Europeans but to a large extent at home out of the relationship between the elite and the masses. And that is what makes this material important in thinking about contemporary discussions of the working class. Today, elite views of the working class are rarely racialized, at least in an overt fashion. Yet, many of the themes, especially about the character of the 'unrespectable' working class, remain, though they necessarily have to be expressed in a different language. What is of interest here is to understand what has changed as well as what remains the same in thinking about democracy and the working class.
- Being African in India: 'We are seen as demons' (June 26, 2016)
After a year in India, Zaharaddeen Muhammed, 27, knows enough Hindi to understand what bander means. Monkey. But it isn't even the daily derogatory comments that make him doubt his decision to swap his university in Nigeria for a two-year master's degree programme in chemistry at Noida International University. Nor is it the questions about personal hygiene, the unsolicited touching of his hair or the endless staring. It is his failure to interact with Indian people on a deeper level.
- Clinton Manipulates Language of Intersectionality to Preserve Support from Minority Voters (February 28, 2016)
The presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton has been a master class in how to divorce economic issues from issues of race and gender by pushing the language of "intersectionality," which enables the political class to head off threats to their power and protect the status quo.
- Vote as the Class You Are, Not the Race You Aren't (February 10, 2016)
Many upper middle-professional class members of society who truly wish for a more just nation are either helpless to, totally incapable of, or have little desire to confront real power or create social transformation beyond electing one or another member of their class to represent their interests on the board, the council, the congress or at the White House. And that class includes more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-racial and gender fluid people than ever before. Hooray?
- How Racial Disparity Does Not Help Make Sense of Patterns of Police Violence (2016)
Antiracist politics is in fact the left wing of neoliberalism in that its sole metric of social justice is opposition to disparity in the distribution of goods and bads in the society, an ideal that naturalizes the outcomes of capitalist market forces so long as they are equitable along racial (and other identitarian) lines.
- Racist Terror, Then and Now (September 21, 2015)
African-Americans have been murdered by white mobs, vigilantes, and "law enforcement" from the time of slavery to, quite possibly, this morning. The fundamental reason for the killing of African-Americans by whites has been fear by many whites of all classes that the existing rules of racial hierarchy, that is, white supremacy, are endangered.
- Class-Struggle Road to Black Freedom: Part One (September 4, 2015)
The purpose of this talk is to motivate a Marxist materialist program for the fight for black freedom as opposed to the idealism embodied in both black nationalism and guilty white liberalism, including the concept of white skin privilege, which falsely substitutes individual psychology for struggle against the racial oppression rooted in the capitalist profit system. We fight for black freedom on the program of revolutionary integration including mobilizing the working class against every manifestation of racial oppression. This approach is counterposed to liberal integration, which is premised on the utopian notion that equality for black people can be attained within the confines of this class society founded on black oppression.
- From Ferguson to Baltimore (July 1, 2015)
Combined with racial profiling, combined with the practice of predatory profiling and predatory policing, police departments are using parking and traffic tickets as a revenue base to increase their budget. All these bring us to a place where police violence is rampant. The more contacts you have with the police, the more possibilities you have of being subject to a violent interaction.
- From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much (June 15, 2015)
As is ever clearer and ever more important to note, race politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature. An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do.
- Practicing Hope (December 4, 2014)
It seems like teachers want to do the right thing and, along with most white people, they dont want to say the wrong thing about race (or class or LGBT or adoption or disabilities) so they just dont bring it up. Most white folks I know here dont see any evidence of racism unless someone points to specific incidents or talks through the issues, like Driving While Black or Shopping While Black. Even then, some of my white friends, and many of my students, get exasperated, Racism is so old-school, Ive been told. They dont want to believe that racism exists. This essay is for them, and for my kids.
- Jewish Groups' Whitewash of Israeli Racism Ensures It Will Fester (July 7, 2014)
As news spreads of the circumstances surrounding last week's murder of 17-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdair, many international observers are responding with incredulity.
- Towards a Marxist Critique of 'Privilege Theory' (January 20, 2014)
A contribution by Tad Tietze to an ongoing debate on Marxism and 'privilege theory.'
- In Defence of Diversity (November 25, 2013)
An essay on immigration.
- Is there a White Skin Privilege? (October 30, 2013)
The idea that all whites are privileged at the expense of Blacks is popular on the left -- but Bill Mullen makes the case that Marxism offers a better understanding of racism.
- Black Humanity on Trial in America, Again (July 19, 2013)
The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the case of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, was one such incident that brought out the entire history of racism, racial profiling, white vigilantism and the realities that black people and their allies have to organize to change the system.
- On Buddhist Fundamentalism (May 3, 2013)
Four years after the brutal assault on the Tamil population and the killing of between 810,000 Tamils by the Sri Lankan army, there is trouble again. The saffron-robed fanatics, led by the BBS Bodu Bala Sena: the most active and pernicious of Buddhist fundamentalist groups that have sprouted in Sinhala strongholds throughout the island are on the rampage again.
- African Americans Ignored in the Age of Obama (January 1, 2013)
A truly equal and diverse United States is not possible unless all Americans come to grips with the origins of the race issue, its centrality to U.S. politics, and why African-American issues must be central to revitalizing the civil rights and labour movements which also requires rebuilding the dream for full equality by direct action.
- Adivasi Movements in India: An Interview with Poet Waharu Sonavane (October 5, 2012)
Waharu is a Bhil Adivasi, long-time poet and activist. Since the 1970s, he has been organizing for Adivasi self-sufficiency among his community near his hometown in western India.
- Why Opposing Islamophobia is not a Defense of Extremism (October 3, 2012)
Recent events have generated a lot of debate about Islam, Muslims, free speech and Islamophobia. Unfortunately, much of that debate has fallen back upon rather tired arguments about not only what "Muslims are like" but also how those who oppose Islamophobia are somehow defending repression or appeasing extremists.
- Islamophobia, Left and Right (September 18, 2012)
Should Muslims be worried about rising Islamophobia? Of course they should! Anti-Islam bigotry is becoming a key element of the revival of the far Right a Right that doesnt merely slander Muslims but also takes action against them.
- Slavery still shackles Mauritania, 31 years after its abolition (August 14, 2012)
Rigid caste system and ruling elite have enabled a centuries-old practice to continue into the 21st century.
- Racist Violence is Used to Maintain an Unjust Social Order (March 23, 2012)
While it would be gratifying and is socially necessary to bring Trayvons murderer to justice, the continuation of Americas system of racial oppression must also be ended or we just wait for the inevitable next wrongfully murdered black youth.
- Complicating "White Privilege" (December 30, 2011)
The most heavy-handedly enforced rule, and the one we, in the white privilege brigade, still seem determined to protect with the greatest earnestness, dictates that Nobody shall, during a conversation about white privilege, mention any identity that is not a racial identity or any oppression that is not racism. To my knowledge, there is no official rulebook governing conversations about white privilege. If such a rulebook did exist, though, I am sure that this rule would be printed in bold italics.
- Connexions Archive Case Statement (September 24, 2011)
Working together to secure a future for the past
- The origins of racism (July 5, 2011)
Racism is so embedded in our society that many people assume it has always existed. But, says Yuri Prasad, it is really a modern phenomenon that developed with capitalism.
- The 60-Year Unemployment Scandal (July 5, 2011)
Since the 1940s, the jobless rate for blacks in America has held remarkably, if grimly, steady at twice the rate for whites.
- Murfreesboro vs. Islamophobia (January 1, 2011)
When the Muslim community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee sought a permit to build an expanded Islamic Center, local bigots saw an opportunity to exploit the same "moral panic," invented by the Tea Party, the Christian Right and much of the corporate media, that would also emerge in New York around the so-called "Ground Zero mosque."
- Dividing the Races to Benefit the Rich (December 24, 2010)
Race baiting broadcast agitators like Beck and Rush Limbaugh have their audiences believing the factually flawed foolishness that the reason they are falling behind economically is because the federal government is fawning over blacks lavishing them with unearned benefits. The reason for the loss of jobs, homes and dreams of comfortable futures driving white working class (and middle class) ire is not benefits to blacks but naked greed on Wall Street and in the suites of mega-corporations that triggered America's economic collapse.
- Race and Class: What About the Working Poor? (November 1, 2010)
One striking feature of political debate in the country today is that while every commentator, pundit and political observer talks about and focuses on the concerns of the super-rich and the middle class few ever talk about the plight of the disadvantaged, those on food stamps and welfare and particularly the working poor.
- How Race Fuels Rightist Agenda (September 1, 2010)
Nearly 50 years after the 1963 March on Washington for civil rights, the conservative movement is mobilizing its electoral base by using the wedge issues of race and racism. The principal targets are not new African Americans and illegal immigrants from Mexico.
- Revered Rabbi Preaches Slaughter Of Gentile Babies (August 2, 2010)
Rabbis who are among the leading idelogues of the growing fascist movement in Israel say that violence against non-Jews, including the killing of babies, is justied by religious law. According to Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, Jewish law permits the killing of non-Jews in a wide variety of circumstances. In a recent boo, they say "There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us".
- Rampant Racism in the Criminal Justice System (July 26, 2010)
The biggest crime in the U.S. criminal justice system is that it is a race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.
- The Global War on Tribes (April 13, 2010)
The point is not that all tribal peoples pose an egalitarian alternative to neoliberal capitalism. Some (such as Indigenous peoples) certainly do have strong egalitarian principles, but many other tribal peoples -- such as in the new conflict zones -- certainly do not (particularly toward women). The salient point is not that all tribal cultures are paradise, but that they are not capitalist, and neoliberal capitalism cannot stand anything other than Total Control.
- SNCC at 50 (April 13, 2010)
The fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is vitally important not just for learning and understanding the past but, more importantly, for imagining and working for a more righteous future.
- Martin Kramer, Harvard and the Eugenics of Zion (April 12, 2010)
At Herzliya the cream of the Zionist security elite gather to raise the alarm about Arab births and hear scholarly analyses of family size and fertility rates among Jews and Arabs as 'existential' threats to the State. Meanwhile, in the Israeli Knesset there are elaborate debates on how to define who is a Jew and who is not - along with legislating what extra privileges should be allocated to the former and denied to the latter. It would be hard to imagine another modern country where such discussions are part of the intellectual mainstream, rather than isolated in the more shadowy fringes of racist right-wing politics. Similar attitudes are expressed in the Zionist Diaspora, where bemoaning Jewish assimilation, promoting Jewish childbearing and financing Aliya to strengthen Israel's Jewish demography are common themes. Early eugenicists (and their successors) once warned against 'miscegenation' and 'mongrelization' as a danger to the White Aryan Race. Today, Jewish charities like the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation announce their prime mission as education against 'intermarriage.'
- Hospital pays compensation over 'racism' death (March 31, 2010)
Harinder Veriah's death helped to expose an ugly truth in Hong Kong: that racism is a serious problem. A report "Hong Kong's big dirty little secret" acknowledged that racism was so ingrained that derogatory terms for ethnic minorities such as gwei lo ("ghost people") for whites and hak gwai or ("black ghost") for blacks were barely noticed.
- Black Liberation and the Fight for a Socialist America (March 26, 2010)
From slavery to convict labour, from the chain gang to the assembly line, American capitalism has been built upon the lash-scarred backs of black labour. Any organization that claims a revolutionary perspective for the United States must confront the special oppression of black people and their forced segregation at the bottom of capitalist society and the poisonous racism that divides the working class and cripples its struggles.
- Racism (January 12, 2010)
An overview of racism
- Tactics of desperation: Using false accusations of 'anti-semitism' as a weapon to silence criticism of Israel's behaviour (December 27, 2009)
The Israeli state and its defenders are increasingly attempting to silence critics because they are losing the battle for public opinion.
- Baby Boom of Mixed Children Tests South Korea (November 29, 2009)
Across South Korea hundreds of thousands of foreign women have been immigrating in recent years, often in marriages arranged by brokers. They have been making up for a shortage of eligible Korean women, particularly in underdeveloped rural areas. Now, these unions are bearing large numbers of mixed children, confronting this proudly homogeneous nation with the difficult challenge of smoothly absorbing them. South Korea is generally more open to ethnic diversity than other Asian nations with relatively small minority populations, like neighboring Japan. Nevertheless, it is far from welcoming to these children, who are widely known here pejoratively as Kosians, a compound of Korean and Asian.
- Connexions Archive seeks a new home (November 18, 2009)
The Connexions Archive, a Toronto-based library dedicated to preserving the history of grassroots movements for social change, needs a new home.
- Feeling Racism (October 26, 2009)
I have found that when a person has faced racism and discrimination, he can never forget it, it stays with him always. Seeing my mother treated with such disrespect and rudeness, only because of her race, was worse than being discriminated against myself. It burned into my soul, and it will never go away.
- Fearsome Words? (October 14, 2009)
We are so bemused by the lovely vision of peoples determining themselves, we cannot see that ethnic self-determination is, in the real world, a quest for racial sovereignty, not a bid to enter some international folk dancing festival.
- Israeli Ads Warn Against Marrying Non-Jews (September 7, 2009)
The Israeli government has launched a television and internet advertising campaign urging Israelis to inform on Jewish friends and relatives abroad who may be in danger of marrying non-Jews.
- The limits of anti-racism (September 1, 2009)
The contemporary discourse of 'antiracism' is focused much more on taxonomy than politics. It emphasizes the name by which we should call some strains of inequality -- whether they should be broadly recognized as evidence of 'racism' -- over specifying the mechanisms that produce them or even the steps that can be taken to combat them. And, no, neither 'overcoming racism' nor 'rejecting whiteness' qualifies as such a step any more than does waiting for the 'revolution' or urging God's heavenly intervention.
- Israeli Rabbis Ban Marriage For Jewish 'Untouchables' (August 7, 2009)
New immigrants to Israel from Russia with inadequate documentation have found themselves on a collision course with Israel's Orthodox rabbis, who regard themselves as guarding the Jewish people's ethnic and religious purity.
- Race and Class in Civil War Mississippi (August 6, 2009)
The poor whites of Mississippi who fought the Confederacy alongside slaves did so because of working class values that they shared with slaves. The fact that poor whites may have believed some racist lies about blacks that constituted the dominant ideas of the day is not nearly as important or significant as the fact that their working class values led them to ally with slaves to fight the racist ruling class. Racism came from the upper class, and anti-racism came from the working class -- black and white.
- The White Cop and the Black Professor (July 26, 2009)
Police are trained to act as authoritarian thugs when they are dealing with people who are not obviously of, or loyal to, the very wealthy elite who rule the nation. The police are trained to enforce law and order in an unjust and unequal society, and a big part of doing this requires that they make ordinary people obey them out of fear.
- Confronting fears of Eurabia (July 20, 2009)
Growing anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments have been fueled by statistics that claim to show that countries such as Germany and France will have Muslim majority populations by the turn of the century.
- "Two State Solution" Equals Racism (April 23, 2009)
The mutual fear and distrust between Jews and non-Jews in Palestine today is no more innate to these people than the belief in anti-black stereotypes so widely accepted by white Americans in the past was innate to white people. The animosity between Palestinians and Israeli Jews was deliberately fomented by Israeli Zionist leaders with the help of British and American leaders for decades. It was not the presence of Jews in Palestine, per se, that angered the native Palestinians; rather it was the intention (and then the reality) of Zionists removing non-Jews from their homeland to turn most of it into an exclusively Jewish state.
- Race Obsession harms those it is meant to help (March 29, 2009)
Ethnic monitoring does not just produce misleading data. The process of classification often creates the very problems it is supposed to solve. Local authorities have used ethnic categories not only as a means of collecting data but also as a way of distributing political power - by promoting certain 'community leaders' - and of disbursing public funds through ethnically-based projects. Once the allocation of power, resources and opportunities becomes linked to membership of particular groups, then people inevitably begin to identify themselves in terms of those ethnicities, and only those ethnicities.
- Black Immigrants, 'Model' Minority? Plus: Don Imus (February 25, 2009)
'Black' is a label which obscures more than it illuminates.
- Why make a fuss about the murder of a brown-skinned Muslim girl? (December 16, 2008)
History gives us numerous examples of social movements which come, over time, to adopt positions directly opposed to the principles on which they were founded. It appears this has happened to the 'feminists' who seek to silence those who speak out about violence against Muslim women.
- Inclusion or exclusion (August 10, 2008)
People who advocate a vision of distinct communities that speak different languages, keep apart from each other, and communicate with the structures of the larger society only through interpreters, are doing more harm than good. What they are advocating is not diversity but entrenched division.
- Mistaken Identity (July 1, 2008)
Historically, antiracists challenged both the practice of racism and the process of racialisation; that is, both the practice of discriminating against people by virtue of their race and the insistence that an individual can be defined by the group to which he or she belongs. Today's multiculturalists argue that to fight racism one must celebrate group identity. The consequence has been the resurrection of racial ideas and the imprisonment of people within their cultural identities. Racial theorists and multiculturalists, the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut observes, have 'conflicting credos but the same vision of the world'. Both fetishise difference. Both seek to 'confine individuals to their group of origin'. Both undermine 'any possibility of natural or cultural community among peoples'. Challenging such a politics of difference has become as important today as challenging racism.
- Why both sides are wrong in the race debate (July 1, 2008)
For all the talk about culture as fluid and changing, multiculturalism, no less than old-fashioned racism, invariably leads people to think of human groups in fixed terms.
- Law and the wives of others (June 28, 2008)
How does a modern, plural democratic society deal with the desire of some minority groups to observe cultural norms at odds with the law of the land?
- Of National Lies and Racial America (March 18, 2008)
To some, the horror of 9/11 was not new. To some it was not on that day that "everything changed." To some, everything changed four hundred years ago, when that first ship landed at what would become Jamestown. To some, everything changed when their ancestors were forced into the hulls of slave ships at Goree Island and brought to a strange land as chattel. To some, everything changed when they were run out of Northern Mexico, only to watch it become the Southwest United States, thanks to a war of annihilation initiated by the U.S. government. To some, being on the receiving end of terrorism has been a way of life.
- The 'Honor' Killing of Aqsa Parvez (2008)
Feminists and reformist left have for the most part met the spate of 'honour' killings within Canada with disgraceful silence.
- Identity is that which is given (2008)
In this age of globalisation many people fret about Western culture taking over the world. But the greatest Western export is not Disney or McDonalds or Tom Cruise. It is the very idea of culture.
- Their Multiculturalism and Ours (2007)
Reactionary interpretations of multiculturalism ignore, tolerate or excuse prejudice and abuse in the name of pluralism and diversity. They foster social division, moral confusion and double-standards - often to the detriment of the most vulnerable: minorities within minority communities. Progressive multiculturalism is about respecting and celebrating difference, but within a framework of universal equality and human rights. It is premised on welcoming and embracing cultural diversity, providing it does not involve the oppression of other people.
- Thinking Outside the Box (January 1, 2007)
Ignoring racism on the grounds that all citizens are equal and hence that racial or cultural differences are immaterial is clearly unacceptable. But so is labelling individuals by race, culture or faith and creating conflicts by institutionalising such differences in public policy.
- Why do we still believe in race? (2007)
Races are difficult to define and there are no objective rules for deciding what constitutes a race or to what race a person belongs. People can belong to many races at the same time.
- People of Color Talk is Cheap (June 29, 2005)
A concept like People of Color, which obscures privilege and hierarchy within the racial system itself, can often make work harder for antiracists.
- Black Women's Narratives of Slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction (February 4, 2005)
Anyone who has ever wondered how black people managed to struggle and survive the hideous tortures meted out during slavery and afterward would gain from reading these books. They offer inspiration to a new generation of fighters.
- Born in Bradford (2005)
Multiculturalism transformed the character of antiracism. By the mid-1980s the focus of antiracist protest in Bradford had shifted from political issues, such as policing and immigration, to religious and cultural issues: a demand for Muslim schools and for separate education for girls, a campaign for halal meat to be served at school, and, most explosively, the confrontation over the publication of The Satanic Verses. Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment.
- Health Disparities By Race And Class: Why Both Matter (2005)
This essay examines three competing causal interpretations of racial disparities in health. The first approach views race as a biologically meaningful category and racial disparities in health as reflecting inherited susceptibility to disease. The second approach treats race as a proxy for class and views socioeconomic stratification as the real culprit behind racial disparities. The third approach treats race as neither a biological category nor a proxy for class, but as a distinct construct, akin to caste. The essay points to historical, political, and ideological obstacles that have hindered the analysis of race and class as codeterminants of disparities in health.
- How 'diversity' breeds division (August 19, 2004)
Diversity training is supposed to help 'promote good relations' between different ethnic groups and capitalise on workforce diversity. However, there is warranted scepticism about whether such training alleviates tensions or exacerbates them. Much of the content of this training is overreliant on pop sociology and pseudo-therapeutic techniques. Participants are expected to talk about stereotypes they harbour deep in their subconscious, and disclose feelings of harassment and victimisation. Trainers claim to eliminate stereotypes in the workplace, yet in talking about 'different cultural perspectives' they end up generating new and more insidious stereotypes in their stead.
- Against multiculturalism (2002)
Multiculturalism is an authoritarian, anti-human outlook. True political progress requires not recognition but action, not respect but questioning, not the invocation of the Thought Police but the forging of common bonds and collective struggles.
- The Real Value of Diversity (2002)
The real failure of multiculturalism is its failure to understand what is valuable about cultural diversity. There is nothing good in itself about diversity. It is important because it allows us to compare and contrast different values, beliefs and lifestyles, make judgements upon them, and decide which are better and which worse. It is important, in other words, because it allows us to engage in political dialogue and debate that can help create more universal values and beliefs. But it is precisely such dialogue and debate, and the making of such judgements, that multiculturalism attempts to suppress in the name of 'tolerance' and 'respect'.
- Slavery and the origins of racism (2002)
Racism is not part of some unchanging human nature. It was literally invented.
- Israel's approved ethnic cleansing (June 1, 2001)
Israel's treatment of the Palestinians has always presented a moral problem to the West, as that treatment has violated every law and moral standard on the books.
- Multiculturalism or World Culture? (2000)
Post-modernists are profoundly bored by any questions of economics and technology which cannot be connected to cultural differences. The implicit agenda of the multiculturalists is to present the values associated with intensive capitalist accumulation as "white male", so "non-white" peoples such as Japanese or Koreans who currently embody those values with a greater fervour than most "whites" are ignored.
- Race and the Enlightenment (1999)
- Before the White Race Was Invented (1998)
With white racial oppression in place, the ruling class could promote poor and propertyless European-Americans into the "middle class," the same way the British promoted "mulattos" in the Caribbean, but they would have to do so strictly in token-name only, saving them countless billions of dollars, since the fantasy of social mobility was made conditional not on acquiring their own property, their own means of employment, or their own education, but on keeping African Americans poor and oppressed.
- Race and the Communist Manifesto (1998)
We need to pay attention to the Marxist traditions that rose out of anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century.
- Asian American Incorporation or Insurgency? (1997)
- Quebec Agrees to Negotiate, Kidnap Crees First But "Negotiate" (1997)
Canadians as a whole seem to be unaware of the depth of the double standards advocated by the separatist leaders. We Crees are only too grimly aware of them, however, since we will be the first and most deeply affected community if the separatists ever get a chance to put their current secessionist policies into practice.
Selected Websites and Organizations
- This is a small sampling of organizations and websites concerned with education and children in the Connexions Directory. For more organizations and websites, check the Connexions Directory Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Malik, Kenan
Website and blog of Kenan Malik, featuring articles on race, identity, multiculturalism, diversity, and censorship.
Other Links & Resources
Books, Films and Periodicals
- This is a small sampling of books related to education and children in the
Connexions Online Library. For more books and other resources, check the Connexions Library
Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India
Author: Gidla, Sujatha
A story of the caste system in India told through the autobiography of an untouchable woman.
- Before Color Prejudice
The Ancient View of Blacks
Author: Snowden, Frank
The book examines the relationship between Mediterranean whites and African blacks in antiquity and the absence of colour prejudice, and why those attitudes have shifted in post antiquity.
- Beyond Chutzpah
On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History
Author: Finkelstein, Norman
A meticulously researched expose of the corruption of scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Bringing to bear the latest findings on the conflict and recasting the scholarly debate, Finkelstein points to a consensus among historians and human rights organizations on the factual record. Why, then, does so much controversy swirl around the conflict? Finkelstein's answer, copiously documented, is that apologists for Israel contrive controversy. Whenever Israel comes under international pressure, another media campaign alleging a global outbreak of anti-Semitism is mounted.
- Black or White? The origins of racism
New Internationalist March 1985
A discussion of racism as a white problem, including articles on South Africa, New Zealand, mixed-race families and multi-culturalism. The issue looks back at the history of racism, and to the future with suggestions for anti-racist action.
- Bridges of Power
Women's Multicultual Alliances
Author: Albrecht, Lisa; Bremer, Rose
Exploring the cultural sources of women's leadership this book views the processes and results that are possible when women come together to overcome not only gender based inequality but oppression based on race and class.
- Class Notes
Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene
Author: Reed, Adolph L.
Reed argues against the solipsistic approaches of cultural or identity politics, and in favour of class-based political interpretation and action. Class Notes moves on to tackle race relations, ethnic studies, family values, welfare reform, the so-called underclass, and black public intellectuals.
- Class, Race and Marxism
Author: Roediger, David
Through the lense of Marxism, Roediger argues that racial divisions and the identity of whiteness are inexorably connected to capitalism and the logic of capital.
- Combatting Caste
New Internationalist July 2005
A look at the caste system in South Asia and Africa. Discussion of the Dalit system in India.
- Combatting Racism in the Workplace
A Course for Workers
Author: Thomas, Barb; Novogrodsky, Charles
With the ultimate aim of combatting racism within the labour movement, the Cross Cultural Communication Centre, under the auspices of the Humber Collage for Labour Studies, ran a ten-week, 30 hour pilot course entitled 'Work Racism and Labour.'
- The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism
Author: Perlman, Fredy
- The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
Author: Pappe, Ilan
Israelo historian Ilan Pappe recounts the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel during the war of 1948.
- Facing West: the Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire Building
Author: Drinnon, Richard
From John Endicott's war on the Niantics and Pequots, to the horrors of the My Lai massacre, Drinnon illustrates how Indian-hating in the Americas became a national pastime, and how that same hate was turned against the native populations of the Phillipines and Southeast Asia.
- Filtering People
Understanding and Confronting Our Prejudices
Author: Cole, Jim (with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
A tool for workshops, courses and personal reflection to identify our prejudices and learn how to overcome them so that we can see each other as we are in all our diversity.
- From Fatwa to Jihad
The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy
Author: Malik, Kenan
Tells the story both of the Rushdie affair and of its transformative impact on cultural and political landscape of the West. The book explores the issues that the Rushide affair raised. in particular the questions of muliculturalism, radical Islam and free speech, and shows how in responding to these issues Western liberals have betrayed the fundamental beliefs of liberalism.
- The Gulf Within: Canadian Arabs, Racism, & The Gulf War
Author: Kashmeri, Zuhair
The Gulf Within documents the experiences of Arab and Muslim Canadians during the Gulf War. It's about the subtle and not-so-subtle anger and distrust other Canadians and institutions demonstrated towards these groups.
- If I Am Not For Myself
Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew
Author: Marqusee, Mike
In a journey through family memory and leftwing history, Marqusee introduces us to Jewish heretics and heroes. In proudly reclaiming the Jewish radical tradition, he reminds us that cultures are not the exclusive franchises of nation-states, and that Zionists and anti-semites share the same sinister, racialized concept of group identity.
- The Invention of the Jewish People
Author: Sand, Shlomo
In this new book, Shlomo Sand shows that the Israeli national myth has its origins in the nineteenth century, rather than in biblical times - when Jewish historians, like scholars in many other cultures, reconstituted an imagined people in order to model a future nation.
- The Invention of the White Race
Volume One: Racial Oppression and Social Control
Author: Allen, Theodore W
One of the great contributions of Allen's study is a complete debunking of the myth that race and skin colour are the same thing.
- The Invention of the White Race
Volume Two: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America
Author: Allen, Theodore W.
Argues that the propertyless classes in continental Anglo-American and United States society have been recruited into the "intermediate buffer control stratum" (the so-called "middle class") through anomalous white-skin privileges.
- Judeophobia: The scourge of antisemitism
New Internationalist October 2004 - #372
A look at the history of antisemitism and the fight against it.
- Man, Beast and Zombie
What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Human Nature
Author: Malik, Kenan
Drawing upon the ideas of evolutionary biology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, Malik questions many of our assumptions about human nature.
- The Meaning of Race
Race History and Culture in Western Society
Author: Malik, Kenan
The Meaning of Race has two key themes. First it explores the intellectual and philosophical basis of racial thinking, examining the origins and development of the concept of race from the Enlightenment to the present day. Second, it also looks at the way in which recent social and political developments - such as the end of the Cold War, the erosion of the postwar liberal consensus, and the demise of the left - have shaped our ideas about race.
The book argues that much of contemporary antiracism is rooted in the same anti-humanist philosophies of human differences that gave rise to the idea of race in the first place. Only a philosophy based on a universalist and humanist outlook, I suggest, can hope to transcend the discourse of race.
- The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson
Author: Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson
Robinson recounts the origins and sustaining force of the famous boycott led by Montgomery's African American women.
- The National Question
Selected Writings by Rosa Luxemburg
Author: Luxemburg, Rosa (edited by Davis, Horace B.)
In her penetrating analysis of nationalism, Rosa Luxemburg argues that the formula of "the right of nations to self-determination" is essentially not a political or programmatic guide to the nationality question, but only a means of avoiding that question.
- The Nazi Connection
Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism
Author: Kuhl, Stefan
This book shows the eugenic/racist connections between Nazi Germany and the US. Responsibility for the holocaust extends beyond Germany.
- The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Author: Alexander, Michelle
Argues that Jim Crow and legal racial segregation have been replaced by mass race-based incarceration as a system of social control.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Class, Caste & Hierarchies
Author: Seabrook, Jeremy
Concentrates mainly on the history of social hierarchy in Western civilization, and particularly the struggles of the working class.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to International Migration
Author: Stalker, Peter
- The Other
Author: Kapuscinski, Ryszard
The Other is made up of a series of lectures that Kapuscinski delivered in Austria and in Poland, eloquent speeches in which he considers the history, the present and the future of our relationship with the Other, a term he employs to distinguish Europeans from "non-Europeans, or non-whites -- while fully aware for the latter, the former are just as much 'Others'."
- Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter
A newsletter with news and articles about current issues, as well as news from the realm of grassroots archives and people's history. Also featuring selected items from the Connexions Calendar, Seeds of Fire, book, film and website of the week, and news about the Connexions project.
- Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter - February 12, 2017
Race and Class
Author: Diemer, Ulli (ed.)
Class conflict - first and foremost, the relationship between the capitalist class and the working class -- is the fundamental contradiction that defines capitalist society. Class is a reality which simultaneously encompasses and collides with other dimensions of oppression and domination, such as gender and race. The relationship between race and class, in particular, is the theme of this issue of Other Voices.
- Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter - October 9, 2017
Meeting the Challenge of the Right
Author: Diemer, Ulli (ed.)
Challenging the Right requires not only anti-fascist actions in the street, but organizing to reach those who may be attracted the the appeal of the Right and offering an alternative social vision. This issue of Other Voices offers a number of articles, books, and films offering different perspectives on meeting the challenge of the right.
- The Politics Of Anti-Semitism
Author: Cockburn, Alexander; St. Clair, Jeffrey (eds.)
How did a term, once used accurately to describe the most virulent evil, become a charge flung at the mildest critic of Israel, particularly concerning its atrocious treatment of Palestinians? This is the question considered in these 18 essays (by nine Jews and nine Gentiles), including Edward Said, Robert Fisk, Norman Finkelstein, Lenni Brenner, and Uri Avnery.
- Prison Nation
The Warehousing of America's Poor
Author: Herivel, Tara; Wright, Paul
Essays on the cruelty and inhumanity of the American prison system.
- Race, Incarceration, and American Values
Author: Loury, Glenn C., with Pamela Karlan, Tommie Shelby and Loïc Wacquant
Glenn Loury argues that the extraordinary mass incarceration rate in the USA is not a response to rising crime rates. Instead, it is the product of a decision to become a more punitive society. He connects this policy to our history of racial oppression, showing that the punitive turn in American politics and culture emerged in the post-civil rights years and has today become the main vehicle for the reproduction of racial hierarchies.
- Slavery by Another Name
The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
Author: Blackmon, Douglas A.
An account of how African Americans were forcibly enslaved by a corrupt legal system in the southern States, from the end of the Civil War through WWII.
- The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s
Author: Aguilar-San Juan, Karin
Aguilar-San Juan offers a complex understanding of race and racial identity, and a critique of the narrow identity politics -- defined as "ethnic consciousness". She writes, "Identity politics -- while they have created occasional possibilities for dark-skinned individuals to move up the socioeconomic ladder -- unfortunately have seduced many people into putting their identity issues at the center of the debate, while shunning the more substantive issues of racism and class oppression.... Reducing race to a matter of identity, rather than expanding our experience of racism into a critique of U.S. society, is detrimental to our movement. In the Asian American community, we often make the dangerous mistake of equating the process of acquainting ourselves with our ethnic, linguistic, religious, or historic roots with activism against racism. If in our desire to claim our identity, we overlook, for example, the ways that race is connected to imperialism . . . then we hover perilously close to the trap of defining race as a biological rather than a social construct."
- Strange Fruit
Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate
Author: Malik, Kenan
Malik makes the case that most anti-racists accept the belief, also held by racialists and outright racists, that differences between groups are of great importance. While racialists attribute the differences to biology, anti-racists attribute them to deep-rooted cultural traditions which are typically seen as inherent in the group. Malik argues that these positions are actually quite similar, and makes the case that racism and racial inequality are best combatted by focusing not on our differences but on what unites us. Malik also strongly criticizes the cultural relativism of many anti-racists, and their increasing tendency to reject science as some kind of western imperialist conspiracy to oppress the rest of the world.
- Towards the Abolition of Whiteness
Author: Roediger, David
Roediger's genda is to show how race consciousness among whites needs to be fought so that the working class can be brought to an emancipatory agenda.
- The Trouble with Diversity
How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality
Author: Michaels, Walter Benn
Argues that a focus on cultural diversity at the expense of economic equality has stunted resistance to neoliberalism.
- The Wages of Whiteness
Race and the Making of the American Working Class
Author: Roediger, David
A book that has reoriented how historians look at the American working class.
- 'Worse than Slavery': Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice
Author: Oshinsky, David M.
After the abolition of slavery the white rulers of Mississippi developed a new system for keeping the ex-slaves in line: laws were passed to maintain white supremacy, including the system of convict leasing, a system whereby people could "hire" prisoners for physical labour outside the walls of prison.
Learning from our History
Resources for Activists
The Connexions Calendar - An event calendar for activists. Submit your events for free here.
Media Names & Numbers - A comprehensive directory of Canada’s print and broadcast media. .
Sources - A membership-based service that enables journalists to find spokespersons and story ideas, and which simultaneously enables organizations to raise their profile by reaching the media and the public with their message.
Organizing Resources Page - Change requires organizing. Power gives way only when it is challenged by a movement for change, and movements grow out of organizing. Organizing is qualitatively different from simple “activism”. Organizing means sustained long-term conscious effort to bring people together to work for common goals. This page features a selection of articles, books, and other resources related to organizing.
Publicity and Media Relations - A short introduction to media relations strategies.
Grassroots Media Relations - A media relations guide for activist groups.
Socialism gateway - A gateway to resources about socialism, socialist history, and socialist ideas.
Marxism gateway - A gateway to resources about Marxism.
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