It Sounds Pretty Racist When You Say It All At The Same Time

Rollie Williams

50% history lesson, 50% depressing list of institutionalized racism.

Thom Hartmann: Never underestimate the power of the people when they understand the message. Never underestimate that. I think that this is something that can be done quite quickly. I think it's something that can be done rather efficiently. It's just going to require a large amount of parade. It's going to require a large enough people to understand the core concepts. And that's the real work that we have to do right now, is hit that critical tipping point, which is probably around 20 or 30% of the voting populace actually understanding the issue.

Narrator: And a big part of the issue when creating a multiracial, multiethnic democracy movement is an understanding of how race and racism were constructed in the United States through law, and how those laws informed our culture in much the same way those corporate rights have been constructed through the law to ensure rule of the wealthy minority over the majority, and how our culture reinforces and legitimizes that lack of democracy.

Right from the very beginning, Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution defined people as property. You see, the authors of the Constitution were very interested in protecting their property, including slaves. "No person held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due."

The Indian Removal Act of 1830. Indigenous communities are forced from their homelands. Over 10 years, 100,000 native children and adults march thousands of miles west into unknown arid territory. Fifteen thousand do not survive the journey, but over 25 million acres of land is made available for white settlers.

1854, the People versus Hall. Non-whites are barred from testifying in court. "No black, mulatto, or Indian shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of or against a white man."

1857, Dred Scott versus Sanford. Free blacks are taxed, but still have no rights of citizenship granted to whites.

1862, Emancipation Proclamation in District of Columbia. Slaves are freed in D.C., but former slave owners are reimbursed for slaves given up. Whites are paid over $1 million in reparations for "lost property."

1862, Homestead Act. Fifty million acres of formerly indigenous land in the West, having been violently invaded by U.S. soldiers in violation of treaties, is distributed by the government at low cost to white settlers only, and 100 million acres of indigenous land are given for free to railroad developers.

1882, Chinese Exclusion Act. Bans immigration of both skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers.

1924, Johnson Reed Act. Creates an immigration quota system based on national origin favoring "Nordics" over the "inferior" races of Asia and southern and eastern Europe.

1934. In the wake of the Great Depression, the National Housing Act is implemented, creating a federal housing authority to provide loans and federal subsidies for homeownership, but the FHA mortgage underwriting standards discriminate against non-whites and investment in non-white communities through a process called red lining.

1942. An executive order forces 111,000 Japanese Americans into concentration camps.

And the War on Drugs declared by Richard Nixon violently targets and imprisons people of color disproportionately through today

David Cobb: Righteous anger can only be provoked by anger at injustice, at our unfairness, and I'm angry about the fact that we've got 20-25% of the children in the richest country in the world who go to bed hungry or undernourished every night. I'm angry about the fact that we have transnational corporations that are destroying the planet that we depend upon for life itself. And I'm angry about the fact that the world that's being created with the rape and plunder of Mother Earth is a racist, sexist, and class-oppressive society. You bet I'm angry. I'm angry because it doesn't have to be this way.

Interviewer: Are we in a class war right now?

Jerome Scott: Of course we are. And, you know, Warren Buffett, I think, said it the clearest. He said, "We're in a class war, and we've been in a class war for years, and my class is winning." And who is his class? The owning class, the people who own these corporations.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

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