The Cost of Racism to White America
University of Massachusetts Professor John H Bracey (2011)
In his lecture, Professor Bracey blames racism and white privilege for US having the most poorly organized working class in the industrialized world. From the start of Jim Crow after the Civil War to the late sixties, Africa Americans were deliberately excluded from trade unions, a perfect set-up for white bosses to use non-unions black workers to bust strikes and unions. This absence of working class solidarity meant it took American workers until the 1930s to win basic rights and benefits (eg Social Security, unemployment compensation and welfare) that European workers won in the 1880s.
Racism also keeps white people ignorant of their own history. For example they are unaware (I sure was) that the Battle of the Alamo was fought to extend slavery to Texas (slavery was illegal when Mexico owned Texas).
The refusal of northern whites to confront their own racism would ultimately culminate in the Civil War, which would result in more deaths (1 million) than all other US wars combined.
Bracey also blames racist attitudes for the absence of public education in the South until after the Civil War. It would be black Reconstruction governments that established free public education in the South – for all children (black and white). They would also establish the first state universities in Georgia and Mississippi.”
Ironically it was African Americans who founded Ole Miss (University of Mississippi), though they were later excluded when the Ku Klux Kan violently overthrew the southern Reconstruction governments.
It was also black women who organized the southern textile mills and not Norma Ray, as portrayed in the popular film starring Sally Fields.
Continuing racism forces white people to sacrifice education, health, housing and social service programs to cover the phenomenal cost of mass incarceration (of mainly black and Hispanic Americans. At an annual cost of $40,000 per inmate, the cost of incarcerating 2.4 million Americans adds up to $960 billion annually.
The presentation starts at 7 min.