Racism and Capitalism

Professor Brittney Cooper’s excellent analysis of Prince’s 11-word protest at the Grammys is a must-read. Prince said: “Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter.” Professor Cooper notes Prince was the only artist to speak the words Black Lives Matter, in a way that linked violence against Black Americans to the devaluing of art. It was a statement against the insidious connection between racism and capitalism.

“Resisting neoliberal logics means asking why the means of self-care elude us, why the erosion of communities and schools and art is happening. Resisting means asking how the logic of neoliberalism daily forecloses our ability to be fully human.”

Prof Brittney Cooper

3 thoughts on “Racism and Capitalism

  1. It was a difficult essay to understand. In the end, I saw it as a diatribe against the white society & males in general – whites disrespect minorities, males of all colors disrespect women. It was good to pull this from Prince’s ten words. He could not have said it better.


  2. Hi Joey Brockert thanks for your comment. Professor Cooper writes about both these issues you mention – racism and sexism. It’s not a “diatribe” – that implies she’s angry or pontificating for no reason. Cooper writes about issues that make people with privilege uncomfortable, specifically White men. Yes, she also critiques Black masculinity, where it contributes to the oppression of women. She is looking at systemic issues, not singling out individuals. Looking at institutional patterns means reflecting on how we benefit from the status quo, and how we contribute to oppression, including by not engaging with some voices simply because we don’t like how they say things. Go and take a look at her Twitter and she the vile sexist and racist abuse heaped upon her. White men who write about White men’s issues do not face this violence. Why? Because society accommodates their point of view, without making space for how those views oppress minorities.

    The fact is that the intellectualism of Black women is rarely given any time on mainstream culture. White men don’t like reading her work because they take it personally. There’s no need to feel threatened by the words of an intelligent, educated Black woman critiquing society. Black people suffer great injustices; Black women especially, and transwomen of colour even more so. There is no “nice” way of saying this; White supremacy sustains violence and part of undoing this is hearing from Black voices that are missing from the mainstream. If people who benefit from the system of inequality only ever read and listen to things that make them feel comfortable, things will never change.


  3. What you say about her Twitter feed reminds me of comments I have read to columnists. Often there is no real critical thinking, just meanness & animosity. I hope she continues, it will take some fortitude & moral support, but she is a positive light we need. Back to Prince – I am not sure he wanted to imply all she wrote, but it sure gave her the inspiration, and she ran with it. 🙂


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