Every incident of racist discrimination or violence strikes at the dignity and wellbeing, the very lives of individuals, their families and their communities.
The current anti-racism uprisings are reminding us that Europe and the US have been built upon the wealth and prosperity enabled by the trade and labour of slaves and the plundering of resources from colonised lands and peoples.
One of key ways in which racial inequality is upheld and perpetuated is through the economic system.
One of key ways in which racial inequality is upheld and perpetuated is through the economic system – According to inequaity.org, in the US in 2016, the median white family had 41 times more wealth than the median black family and 22 times that of the median Latino family. The UK government Wealth Disparity Audit in 2017 found that around 25% children in households headed by Asian people or those in the Other ethnic group were in persistent poverty, as were 20% children in Black households, compared to 8% in White households.
Capitalism is driven by the philosophy of ‘each man for himself’, encouraging people to place personal and material gain before the wellbeing of others and the ecosystem.
It has enabled those who have historically held institutional power i.e. white males in banks and corporations to gain and hoard a disproportionate amount of wealth in populations the world over.
In order for us to achieve anything close to equality between people of different ethnicities and genders, we need to move towards economic democracy.
In order for us to achieve anything close to equality between people of different ethnicities and genders, we need to move towards economic democracy – a system that ensures basic needs are met for all and resources and employment are controlled locally.
In this way, prosperity remains within local communities, where local people have control over resources and decision-making and are able to fulfil their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Social justice is more achievable when people from marginalised communities have access to healthcare, education, jobs and a higher standard of living and can have a greater influence over the systems that govern our societies.
Economic democracy and resilient local communities are what can bring about a shift in the locus of power to people at the grassroots of society.
Political democracy is broken; twisted and manipulated by power-hungry individuals and the same vested interests that dominate and exploit the financial system.
Economic democracy and resilient local communities are what can bring about a shift in the locus of power to people at the grassroots of society – those who have been allowed to struggle for their livelihoods because of the dog-eat-dog nature of corporate capitalism.
If the economic system is changed, if there is an economy that meets the needs of all, that will be one of the most effective means of alleviating suffering and improving lives, dismantling inequality – one of the pillars of structural racism in our society.