Chapter 3- Capitalism, Class, and the Matrix of Domination
In the article the thesis is “If race is socially constructed and doesn’t exist otherwise, and if human beings don’t have to be afraid of one another, then where does racism come from” (41)?
I believe like the thesis the author’s argument is where does race, privilege, class, and domination come from. In the article the author talks about history of race. Johnson states, “First, white racism hasn’t been around very long-hardly more than several centuries and certainly not as long as peoples now considered “white” have been aware of other “races.” Second, its appearance in Europe and the Americas occurred right along with the expansion of capitalism as an economic system” (41). Johnson is basically saying that the white race has thought of as the only race and they were the ones who were around capitalism and the economic system. People have different ways of thinking about living the good life, an upper class family may have a refrigerator stocked with food and gets to choose what they are having for dinner, where a lower class family gets a loaf of bread and soup for dinner every night. The class and what the culture defines as good life, some may not have and are looked at differently. In the article Johnson talks about how capitalism works, which basically is to turn money into more money. Johnson states, “Capitalists employ workers to produce goods and services, paying them wages in exchange for their time. Capitalists then sell the goods and services that workers produce” (42). This means that for capitalists to make a living they have to get workers to produce and sell the goods. Which in the end works out because everyone is getting paid. But there are issues that come up like do the workers get paid enough, and do the people actually do the work when it comes to the tool and everything in the factory. Class is another issue that is brought up in the article because the people doing the hard labor are the lower class people. The article also talks about capitalism, difference and privilege, race and gender. Johnson states, “Capitalism direct connection to white racism has also operated in the acquisition of land and raw materials, which, like cheap labor, play a key role in the rapid growth of industry and wealth” (46). Which is saying that with capitalists come white power and are treating other races and classes differently.
A question to be asked is how can we change privilege, racism, sexism, and domination? How do we stop the oppressed culture treated differently than the privileged culture? We should respect everyone for who they are. Just because they are in the oppressed group doesn’t mean they cannot work. Johnson states, “Looking at privilege and domination in this way simplifies and clarifies things considerably. For example, once we see that each form of privilege exists in relation to all the rest, we can stop the fruitless habit of trying to figure out which is the worst or most oppressive” (52). So if we concentrate as being one instead of who has the most power and who is the wealthiest maybe we can change.
I thought this reading was interesting talking about privilege, race, sexism, and domination. The answer to the question can race and all the others be gone. I do not know if race and privilege will be completely gone, but I do believe in cases such as who gets the job and who can work and who cant that should not matter what so ever people should be treated equally not matter what color, sex, and class they are.