A Marxist Professor's Takedown of the Left's Racial Disparity Politics

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9m Sep 8, 2020

Professor Adolph Reed, Jr. is an American professor emeritus of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in studies of issues of racism and U.S. politics. He was recently disinvited from speaking at the Democratic Socialist of America's NY Chapter because he was going to speak about how the left is too focused on race and not enough on class.

In a recent article, he argues that not only will a focus on the effort to eliminate racial disparities not take us in the direction of a more equal society, it isn’t even the best way of eliminating racial disparities themselves.

0:00 Intro & background
2:53 Proper role of the left
6:45 Reed disinvited from DSA
20:15 The trouble with disparity
25:00 Rich/poor wealth gap
27:28 Idea of racial wealth is an empty one
29:00 Racial wealth disparity is driven by top 10%
33:50 Racism is not the cause, neoliberal capitalism is
35:06 Antiracism is not a remedy for inequality
36:13 The Left doesn't care about inequality per se
39:14 Racial Democracy
41:52 Liberal math
46:31 Antiracist politics rejects social-democratic programs
47:11 Racial wealth gap pushed by professional-managerial class
49:31 Antiracism as a politics is an artifact of neoliberalism
50:20 Example: wage disparity
56:00 Intergenerational advantage in whites vs blacks
1:01:02 Empty recommendations for fixing disparity
1:01:51 What about health (e.g. COVID) and policing disparities?
1:06:00 Race as a proxy for class
1:07:45 But why do we need a proxy for class?
1:12:18 The false idea that there is such a thing as race
1:17:34 Focusing on race taints medical/health research
1:20:05 Race as a proxy for class points to the wrong solution - antiracism
1:22:38 Racism doesn't explain low wages
1:25:27 Race isn't what saves many white and Asian people from COVID
1:27:51 Police violence isn't caused by racism and cannot be solved by antiracism
1:28:58 Racial disparity is a way to divert from class inequality
1:34:12 Critics are rejected for refusing to "center black people"
1:36:56 Centering black people has become a way of ignoring poor people
1:37:27 Seeing inequality as disparity is to use a neoliberal lens


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