Racism and the African American Community: The Need for Racial and Ethnic Unity

BY: Rosita Johnson| April 2, 2005
Racism and the African American Community: The Need for Racial and Ethnic Unity

Racial and ethnic unity is necessary for working class unity. Racism exists today but has changed its form The Right uses racism to divide the working class and therefore our documents and literature need to focus on why Black, Brown, white unity is necessary.

It is not an accident that the Bush Administration has put a Black face at the front of its regime to champion its foreign policy, first Colin Powell and now Condoleezza Rice, proving to the world that the USA no longer is a racist power. The truth is quite different.

The crisis facing African Americans in this country proves that racism is alive and well. The crisis of the criminalization of African Americans has resulted in 50% of the prison population being African American, when African Americans comprise only 13-14% of the US population. Women, especially Black women, are being imprisoned at an alarming rate. Over 2 million people are imprisoned in the United States and 70% are there because of illegal drugs. In the 1980s the C.I.A. devised a scheme to make Black communities the center of the manufacturing and distribution of crack cocaine as a way to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. The result of that venture has been the devastation of many African American communities (Read Gary Webbs Dark Alliance for documentation.) The illegal drugs/guns industry is now part of the economy of Black communities throughout the US replacing thousands of manufacturing jobs that left the country. Police brutality and an unfair court system continues.

The unemployment rate for African Americans is twice that of the national average, but in reality more than the 10.5% Department of Labor figure In some communities in New York and Philadelphia it is 30%.

The suppression of the Black Vote is historical. But in 2000 in Florida it was in the forefront of the fraud that resulted in the selection of George W. Bush for US President and the Rightwing Republican takeover of all three areas of government. The disenfranchisement of African Americans is a model to disenfranchise other oppressed groups and all citizens.

Racism is used to divide union members in every union struggle. Immigrant workers are now being pitted against all low- wage workers. Divide and conquer is the plan.

In its December 2004 issue, the NAACP Crisis Magazine did a special report on the health disparities threatening Black lives. The lack of heath care, the higher mortality rate, the higher infant mortality rate and the higher rate of disease for African Americans is cause for great concern. Half of those with HIV/AIDS are African American and the number of women has increased at an alarming rate, yet this disease is being ignored.

The attack on Public Education has a racist edge. Privatization, vouchers and charter schools are being pushed on school districts with large numbers of Black and Latino students. These districts and poor white districts lack funding for quality education. The No Child Left Behind Law leaves people of color and poor people behind.

African American troops comprise 19% of the Armed Forces in Iraq, and 20% of the Army. Some refer to it as the Back-door Draft. Without living wage jobs or money for college, young people join the Armed forces thinking it will improve their future. Instead they face loss of life and limb in a senseless war that has killed many thousands of Iraqis.

These are only some examples of racism in the USA. Each area needs to be developed. An analysis is needed of how white workers are led to abandon their own best interests, when they ignore or support racist policies. What is important is that the working class is weakened when racism and discrimination is allowed. A blow to one is a blow to all. Coalition work cannot be successful unless the fight against racism is advanced.

Educational Papers Series A Communist Party Education Commission project for the pre-convention discussion period leading to the CPUSA 28th National Convention July 13, 2005, Chicago Illinois



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