History & Culture

Coleman Hughes Reviews Ibram Kendi on “Anti-Racism” and Capitalism

From an excellent review of How to Be an Antiracist by Coleman Hughes:

“Capitalism is essentially racist,” Kendi proclaims, and “racism is essentially capitalist.” To test this claim, a careful thinker might compare racism in capitalist countries with racism in socialist/Communist ones; or he might compare racism in the private sector with racism in the public sector. Kendi does neither. Instead, he presents the link between capitalism and racism as self-evidently true: “Since the dawn of racial capitalism, when were markets level playing fields? . . . . When could Black people compete equally with White people?” Kendi asks, implying that the answer is “never.”

I can think of several historical examples in which capitalism inspired anti-racism. The most famous is the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case, when a profit-hungry railroad company––upset that legally mandated segregation meant adding costly train cars––teamed up with a civil rights group to challenge racial segregation. Nor was that case unique. Privately owned bus and trolley companies in the Jim Crow South “frequently resisted segregation” because “separate cars and sections” were “too expensive,” according to one scholarly paper on the subject.

A lesser known example is the South African housing market under Apartheid. Though landlords in whites-only areas were legally barred from renting to nonwhites, vacancies made discrimination against non-white tenants costly. As a result, white landlords often ignored the law. In his book South Africa’s War on Capitalism, economist Walter Williams notes that at least one “whites-only” district was in fact comprised of a majority of nonwhites.

History offers little evidence that capitalism is either inherently racist or antiracist. As a result, Kendi must resort to cherry-picking data to demonstrate a link. Citing a Pew article, he asserts that the “Black unemployment rate has been at least twice as high as the White unemployment rate for the last fifty years” because of the “conjoined twins” of racism and capitalism. But why limit the analysis to the past 50 years? A paper cited in the same Pew article reveals that the black-white unemployment gap was “small or nonexistent before 1940,” when America was arguably more capitalist—and certainly more racist. [“How to Be an Anti-Intellectual,” City Journal]

The entire review is a recommended read.

Laissez-faire Capitalism, defined as the social system based on the principle of individual rights, is in fact the social system that defangs racism by legally banning the initiation of physical force from all relationships.

See Andrew Bernstein’s America: A Racist Nation? and Leftist Supremacy, Not White Supremacy, is the Gravest Threat to Black Lives.

 

 

Andrew Bernstein on Karl Marx

“Animated by the anti-reason ideas of Immanuel Kant and G.W.F Hegel, Karl Marx preached a philosophy of class warfare and violent revolution. He promised a socialist utopia that would end poverty, inequality, and exploitation. Yet, between 1917 and 1989, Marxist regimes killed roughly 100 million people—and tortured, starved, exiled, and enslaved millions more. After being exposed as a thoroughly anti-life ideology, Marxism changed its skin. Today, eerily, the ghost of Marx still lurks.”

What It’s Like Living in California Now

“What it’s like living in California now is a little bit significantly different than seven months ago. California, now officially the world’s largest prison has the industries of homelessness and lockdowns to bolster its economy. Along with the highest tax rate in the nation, businesses being shutdown is another fantastic strategy that’s sure to improve the economy. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Garcetti, and Nancy Pelosi are spear heading the charge to help make California the zombie apocalypse capital of the world.” –   Comedian JP Sears

Aaron Briley: We Can’t Fight Racism by Engaging in Racism

Philosopher Aaron Briley at TOS remarks on America’s race fixation in “We Can’t Fight Racism by Engaging in Racism“:

The desire not to be viewed as racist is prompting people to fixate on race—even though doing so harms all involved.

In the current climate, the mere appearance of being racist can cost a person dearly. People who are presumed to be racist can be and often are fired from their jobs, banned from social media, even subjected to death threats. The upshot: Instead of being rationally color-blind, people and institutions are putting undue focus on race. That is, instead of judging people not by “the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” they are doing just the opposite. They are judging people by the color of their skin—and acting accordingly—in order to not appear racist.

Of course, judging people differently because of the color of their skin is the very essence of racism. And such patent racism is sweeping through our institutions.

[…]

Consider an increasingly popular policy regarding minority criminal suspects: More and more, police departments are omitting race when describing suspects, especially black suspects, even when divulging it clearly would help to ensure public safety.

***

An illustration of this “color-washing” is CNN’s report of black children slaughtered over the July 4th, 2020 holiday weekend, titled “At least 6 children were killed by gun violence across the nation this holiday weekend.” Apparently, according to CNN, a bunch of guns decided all on there own to go celebrate independence day by causing some violence. (Obviously, guns are inanimate objects, that had nothing to do in causing the violence, as only human beings possess free-will.)

From the CNN article:

At least six children were killed in shootings across the country over the holiday weekend, sparking calls from officials to end the gun violence plaguing their communities. The children, ages 6 to 14, were all shot and killed while doing everyday things — riding in mom’s car, walking in a mall, and playing in a yard with their cousins. [ “At least 6 children were killed by gun violence across the nation this holiday weekend“]

In every case, where a description is available the perpetrator is black, though you would not know this from the CNN article. The most we get is that they were “persons”:

“A suspect has been arrested on charges, and police have released additional surveillance images of several persons of interest they are seeking in connection to the child’s death.”

Going to the police press release of the shooter — and the suspects — we see they are all black. (It is also chilling that the police report does not describe them as black either). Or, from the same article reporting on another shooting:

A group of children were playing in the yard in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood when three suspects exited a light colored vehicle and fired shots at a group gathered outside a home on the 100 block of North Latrobe Ave, police said.

[…]

“As a city we must wrap our arms around our youth so they understand there’s a future for them that isn’t wrapped up in gun violence.”

At least we know the shade of the suspect’s vehicle.

Now compare this to another shooting report and take a look at CNN’s description when the perpetrator is white and the victim is black:

“…a White officer firing seven times into Jacob Blake’s back in front of the 29-year-old Black man’s three young sons.”

And later in the same article where the perpetrator is white:

“…Confusion also spread about the shooting during the protests, with critics asking how the White teenager armed with a military-style rifle, …”

C. Bradley Thompson: Correcting Myths of The Founding Fathers and Trump’s Attack on The “Deep State”

Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report talks to the author of America’s Revolutionary Mind, C. Bradley Thompson (Professor, Clemson University) about the origins of the Declaration of Independence, myths about American slavery and the founding fathers, why 1765 was possibly a more important year than 1776 for the American Revolution and why Donald Trump is one of the few presidents to ever challenge the deep state.

 

 

Issues covered include:

  • Myths about slavery in America at the time of the founding fathers. He talks about the founding fathers beliefs in universal truths, human rights, and equality. He discusses the complexities of the founders regarding their different and changing views on slavery and why it is far more complicated than 1619 project from the New York Times would have you believe. Some founders like John Adams and Sam Adams were never slave owners, others like Benjamin Franklin formally owned slaves, others like George Washington who owned slaves and freed them on their death, and others like Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and did not free them upon their death.
  • The founders conflicting actions and beliefs about the abolition of slavery and why it is far more complex then we have been led to believe.
  • The philosophical origins of the Declaration of Independence. He believes the year 1765 was far more important than 1776 because this was the year that the American mind was born. He tells the story of why Americans suddenly made liberty, freedom, and natural rights their priorities that would eventually be enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and fought for during the Revolutionary War.
  • Donald Trump’s unique accomplishments, taking on the deep state. He feels that Donald Trump is the first president in 70 years to wage war against the deep state in it’s entrenched political class, but also in the mainstream media.
  • Is Donald Trump a moral person and if morality and virtue are personality traits we should expect in a president.

Recommended:

Jason Hill: Nihilistic Attempts to Abolish History and Grammar

Professor Jason Hill, author of We Have Overcome, mostly channeling Ayn Rand, made this important statement:

“What we’re seeing in the educational system is systemic nihilism. So let us go back a step further. A couple weeks ago Rutgers University declared that grammar was racist. Now grammar is the science that deals with the proper method of oral and written communication. When you attack grammar you attack language, which is the method of cognition. You attack man’s mind, you attack his ability to reason. So you attack man’s mind, which means you leave us on the level of grunting farm animals, so you leave us incapacitated to reason, to think. And then you take away his history, you take away human history, our Constitutional rights, our Bill of Rights, our Second Amendment, our First Amendment, or time-worn principles that we use to defend our way of life. Our Judeo-Christianity. Your looking at sysemtic nihilism. You are looking at the Anti-Christ as far as I am concerned. You’re looking at a bunch of nihilists and anarchists that want to destroy the system and replace it with nothing – nothing at all. They want to destroy the good for the sake of it being the good. I have been warning about these post-modern nihilists that started back in the 1960s, when we had these fake disciplines attacking reason, valorizing feelings as the only criterion for adjudicating disputes – one’s feelings and one’s feeling of being offended as the only criteria for adjudicating disputes – and dispensing with reason, objective reality, and logic as the construct of imperialist, racist, white men. That’s what we’re seeing today, and so you dispense with history altogether.”

Trader Joe’s Fantastic Response To Woke “Racism” Smears

In response to a rather silly and misinformed so-called petition for “Trader Joe’s: Remove Racist Packaging From Your Products”, the company issued a statement “A Note About Our Product Naming” on July 24, 2020.

Presented below is the text of the petition:

Trader Joe’s: Remove Racist Packaging From Your Products

We demand that Trader Joe’s remove racist branding and packaging from its stores. The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. For example, “Trader Ming’s” is used to brand the chain’s Chinese food, “Arabian Joe” brands Middle Eastern foods, “Trader José” brands Mexican foods, “Trader Giotto’s” is for Italian food, and “Trader Joe San” brands their Japanese cuisine. Furthermore, the Trader Joe’s company takes pride in the fact that the founder, Joe Coulombe, took inspiration in building the Trader Joe’s brand from a racist book and a controversial theme park attraction, both of which have received criticism for romanticizing Western Imperialism and fetishizing non-Western peoples. We learn directly from the Trader Joe’s website that the first Trader Joe’s store:

“had a nautical theme and it was run by people who were described as “traders on the high seas.” At the time, Joe had been reading a book called “White Shadows in the South Seas,” and he’d been to the Disneyland Jungle Trip ride, and it all just…coalesced. To this day, Trader Joe’s Crew Members consider themselves “traders on the culinary seas” and are known for their bright, tropical-patterned shirts…”

The book White Shadows in the South Seas was also made into a silent film. This work demonstrates the horrific legacy of trading companies as they exploited and enslaved the South Pacific in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these regions are still at a disadvantage today because of how traders ravaged their peoples, their societies, and their natural resources. Even though the story calls out the abuses of trading companies, (although it perpetuates other racist tropes such as that of the “noble savage” and “white god” narratives common during this period), “Trader” is still part of the grocery chain’s name. It leaves the question: What in particular about this book inspired the company?

Likewise, the Disneyland Jungle Cruise Ride has received criticism of misappropriating Indigenous culture and perpetuating stereotypes of native people as primitive and savage. The ride features animatronic people only identified as “headhunters” and “natives” dressed in some sort (of which culture it is unclear) of traditional dress, performing a dance, and playing music – and threatening violence toward visitors. It has been criticized as exoticism at its worst due to its exhibition of humans as an attraction that otherwise focuses on animals. Given the extensive history of “human zoos” in the United States, this attraction is unacceptable. In addition, these animatronic people only seem to serve as the punchline of jokes as part of the ride’s experience. This particular display of exoticism is especially confusing in the context of Trader Joe’s because it again leaves the question: What in particular about this theme park ride inspired the company?

The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures – it presents “Joe” as the default “normal” and the other characters falling outside of it – they are “Arabian Joe,” “Trader José,” and “Trader Joe San.” The book, White Shadows in the South Seas is racist because it perpetuates the myth of the “white god” and the “noble savage” stereotypes. It becomes even more racist in context because the founder of Trader Joe’s said that he was inspired by this book in some way when creating his company, a book which shows traders’ exotification of non-Western peoples turned into violent exploitation and destruction. The Disney Jungle Cruise is racist because it displays caricatures of non-Western peoples alongside exotic animals, as an attraction at a theme park to be gawked at.

The common thread between all of these transgressions is the perpetuation of exoticism, the goal of which is not to appreciate other cultures, but to further other and distance them from the perceived “normal.” The current branding, given this essential context, then becomes even more trivializing and demeaning than before. What at first seems, at worst, insensitive, further is called into question.

And here is Trader Joe’s fantastic response:

A Note About Our Product Naming

July 24, 2020

To Our Valued Customers:

In light of recent feedback and attention we’ve received about our product naming, we have some things we’d like to say to clarify our approach.

A few weeks ago, an online petition was launched calling on us to “remove racist packaging from [our] products.” Following were inaccurate reports that the petition prompted us to take action. We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.

We make decisions based on what customers purchase, as well as the feedback we receive from our customers and Crew Members. If we feel there is need for change, we do not hesitate to take action.

Decades ago, our Buying Team started using product names, like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s, etc. We thought then—and still do—that this naming of products could be fun and show appreciation for other cultures. For example, we named our Mexican beer “Trader José Premium” and a couple guacamole products are called “Avocado’s Number” in a kitschy reference to a mathematical theory.  These products have been really popular with our customers, including some budding mathematicians.

We constantly reevaluate what we are doing to ensure it makes sense for our business and aligns with customers’ expectations. A couple years ago we asked our Buying Team to review all our products to see if we needed to update any older packages, and also see if the associated brands developed years ago needed to be refreshed. We found that some of the older names or products just weren’t connecting or selling very well; so, they were discontinued. It’s kind of what we do.

Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended­—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing. We continue our ongoing evaluation, and those products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves.

Trader Joe’s has been a unique, fun and neighborly place to shop for over 50 years. We look forward to taking care of our wonderful customers for many future decades.

– Trader Joe’s

Yaron Brook comments:

Related:

Primitivism Versus Prosperity
How Trade, Property, and Rule of Law Ended Primitive Life.