I believe that poor people of all colors have more in common with each other than they do with rich people who look like them. Racism is a tool of the rich to more effectively exploit and to impoverish / pauperize wage earners. The class system nourishes and is nourished by racism.
Civil Rights laws are not, and never have been vigorously enforced in education, employment, housing, and other fields: Covert, illegal discrimination is widespread, and very little is done to detect and prosecute those who covertly violate Civil Rights laws. Moreover, there are many laws and public policies which are, on their face, "colorblind," but have a disparate impact on marginalized non-white / people of color. I suspect that a majority of all voters, and a big majority of Democrats would welcome remedies, including an end to the "war on drugs," more aggressive enforcement of Civil Rights laws, and a war on poverty.
The Green Party platform supports reparations for descendents of African slaves in the US. In my opinion, specific remedies to eliminate racism complement efforts to unite most wage workers in defense of their class interests against the rich. The class interests of the rich are at odds with the Green Party's 4 pillars: Ecological Wisdom, Social and Economic Justice, Grassroots Democracy, and Nonviolence.
In employment, housing and other fields, we should advocate more effective measures to detect and prosecute those who covertly violate Civil Rights laws. Affirmative Action on steroids. Those whose interests are served by systemic racial discrimination have not, and can never be expected to fully and "voluntarily" comply with laws which prohibit racial discrimination.
Both major parties came to agreement on laws and public policies with a disparate impact on Black people since the 1970s, which subverted the intent of the Civil Rights Act. That is why the demand for "reparations" and specific remedies for racism must not be dismissed as "divisive," as Bernie Sanders did recently when pressed for his opinion on the subject.
However, it is important to keep in mind the potential to unite people across racial lines by raising demands that are in their common class interests as wage workers. Specific demands to eliminate racism should not be counterposed to that. However, the demand for reparations is used by some to promote racial solidarity and to undermine inter-racial, working class solidarity. In that way, the demand for reparations, which has a progressive content at its core, can serve a reactionary agenda, as discussed by Adolph Read, in his commentary, On Reparations.
Clinton and her supporters basically dismiss Sanders' social welfare platform, such as Medicare for All, as being too ambitious (we must settle for baby steps, and gradual progress), and as a diversion from raising issues of racism and sexism. The working class is equated with white males. And thus, injuries of class, of economic exploitation are divorced from injuries caused by racism and sexism.
Yet neither candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for US president offers any remedies to address the widespread, covert violations of Civil Rights laws that explain the persistant over-representation of Blacks among the working poor and jobless. We have waited over 50 years for full, voluntary compliance with Civil Rights laws. We should wait no longer to demand action to bring Civil Rights law breakers to heel.
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