According to “racist thinking”, certain groups of people innately have inferior characteristics that make them undesirable, unworthy, and dispensable. The purveyors of racist views believe they, in contrast, are superior, exceptionally worthy, and indispensable.
There is a virtually unrecognized form of racism that affects almost every human being on Earth.
It is a form of racism that denigrates billions of people and abusively claims that almost all in that group are intrinsically weak in character and hopelessly so.
More specifically, this is a racism that claims that all human beings are, by nature, predominantly and hopelessly selfish and largely unworthy. It is a racism directed against the entire Human Race.
Who has promoted this perception of Human Nature and the Human Race? How accurate, complete, and wise is this perception? Who benefits from its promotion?
This view of the Human Race happens to be the cornerstone, the foundation of the world’s prevailing economic model-–an economic model that affects everyone on earth. This economic model, Corporate Capitalism, espouses a shallow, incomplete, negative, pessimistic, and abusive view of Human Nature. Capitalism claims that human beings, by nature, are predominantly selfish and hopelessly so.
Capitalists use this view to claim that capitalism is “the only realistic economic model” and that economic models based on Human Goodness and altruism are doomed to failure, “because of Human Nature.” Corporate capitalism justifies itself with this view. Corporate capitalism depends upon, requires, and rewards this view of Human Nature and Human Beings.
The above view of human nature accentuates the negative behavioral capacities of human beings and is incomplete. It largely ignores the positive capacities of human nature. It is anti-people in that it shows little respect for and little faith in the positive behavioral capacities of human beings. It also ignores how the social milieu can up-regulate or down-regulate expression of people’s positive or negative behavioral capacities, individually and collectively.
There is another, more positive, more complete, more accurate, deeper, healthier, and more helpful understanding of “human nature.” It is this:
All human beings innately have capacities for both altruistic and selfish behaviors. There is probably a spectrum regarding the extent to which individual people possess and express innate altruistic capacities versus innate selfish capacities. At one end of the spectrum are people who possess and express large capacities for altruism, compared to their capacities for and/or expression of selfishness. At the other end are people who possess and express large capacities for selfishness, compared to their capacities for and/or expression of altruism. In the exact middle are people who possess roughly equal capacities (for altruism and selfishness) and express those capacities roughly equally. There is probably a bell-shaped curve regarding the distribution of these innate capacities and the ability to express them—although it is likely that this curve, in actuality, is shifted considerably towards the altruistic end—that is, considerably more than half of people probably fall along the altruistic half of the spectrum. (See Note #9, Human Nature—A Graphic Depiction.)
This more comprehensive understanding of Human Nature also emphasizes the great extent to which the social milieu can either up-regulate or down-regulate expression of the behavioral capacities of people, individually and collectively.
As with all forms of racism, the racism that capitalism directs against the entire Human Race is abusive, oppressive, demeaning, dispiriting, demoralizing, depressing, controlling, shaming, powerful, and leaves people, individually and collectively, feeling insecure, unworthy, “dirty,” fearful, ashamed, powerless, and hopelessly trapped. Though not as horrific in scale, these feelings are similar to those experienced by women who have been chronically subjected to the physical and emotional torment of abusive, controlling men who systematically damage a female’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. Though not as horrific in scale, these feelings are also similar to those endured throughout history by oppressed populations throughout the world—Africans; African-Americans; indigenous peoples on all continents; and exploited, impoverished, and abused peoples throughout the world.
So, the racism that affects the most people in the world is the anti-Human racism espoused, promoted, practiced, and powerfully imposed by corporate capitalism. Just as abused women deserve to be freed from the abusive men who control them; all members of the Human Race deserve to be freed from the view of Human Nature that corporate capitalism uses to control and abuse them. Just as abused women and the many severely oppressed populations in the world deserve to discover, celebrate, and protect their abundant goodness and worth; the Human Race as a whole deserves to discover, celebrate, and protect its human goodness and worthiness. Just as informed solidarity helps abused women and other oppressed groups to challenge their oppressors; informed solidarity can help free the Human Race from the oppression of corporate capitalism and its racist view of Human beings. In this liberation effort, those who have experienced the greatest degrees of racism and have been exploited the most can provide invaluable insight and great leadership. They deserve our greatest attention.
Although capitalism’s negative and abusive view of human nature and the Human Race is the greatest source of its power and control over human beings, this view is also its greatest weakness, its Achilles heel. For, if this view of human nature is exposed and effectively challenged, capitalism’s power will collapse. Just as the power of an abusing male dissolves when he is exposed and held to account; the power of corporate capitalism will dissolve when its view of human nature is fully exposed and it is held to account.
Just as liberated women are free to evolve into the marvelous women they were intended to become; a Human Race, liberated from capitalism’s abusive view of Human Nature, becomes free to develop new, healthy social arrangements and the Social Beauty that human beings were intended to create and enjoy.
So, in addition to continually addressing the horrible systemic racism that has been directed against specific groups within the Human Race (e.g. the racism experienced by African Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans, et al), the systemic racism that capitalism has directed against the entire Human Race also needs to be exposed and corrected. While continuing to address the racism that has been directed against individual groups of people, it will be important for all groups to avoid generalization, stereotyping, divisiveness, intolerance, and violence—all of which are counterproductive and distract from the additional task of recognizing and correcting the racist view of Humanity promoted by the capitalist economic model. Capitalism depends on a strategy of “divide and conquer” to gets its way. Such division distracts people from recognizing and addressing the deepest roots of their oppression. The Human race must avoid falling into that trap of division and entrenched polarization. (At least to some extent, have we already fallen into that trap—a trap set by and even financed by powers behind corporate capitalism?)
Liberation of the Human Race and creation of widespread Social Beauty will become possible only when one of the most pervasive and powerful forms of racism—the anti-Human racism espoused, practiced, and imposed by corporate capitalism—is effectively challenged. Exposure and correction of the anti-Human racism promoted by capitalism is a key to the elimination of the horrific racism experienced by Africans, African-Americans, indigenous populations, and oppressed people throughout the world. Elimination of all forms of racism and creation of Social Beauty will require replacement of the capitalist economic model and its abusive view of Human Nature with an economic model based on a healthier and more accurate view of Human Nature. All of Humanity, including all the most obvious historical and current victims of racism, can unite to develop a healthier economic model, healthier social arrangements, and, thereby, Social Beauty bereft of racism.
In short, we must all become anti-racists, and this includes being anti-capitalist—because capitalism, fundamentally, is based on, justified by, and depends upon its anti-Human racism. Capitalism without its anti-human racism is no longer capitalism.
Bottom line: Capitalism is a racist economic model. It promotes a negative, abusive, denigrating, demoralizing, and inaccurate view of human nature and the entire human race, and it leads to unhealthy social arrangements and behaviors. We need to expose this abuse and replace capitalism with an economic model that is based on a more accurate understanding of human nature and creates kinder, more healthy and helpful social arrangements. This is best accomplished by encouraging all groups of people to unite and collaborate to expose and replace capitalism with a deeper understanding of human nature and a healthier economic model (e.g. Public Economy).
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Rob Rennebohm, MD is a pediatrician, pediatric rheumatologist, and social clinician who writes about Social Beauty and encourages all to evaluate illness of society in the Social Clinic. His writings, including analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic, are posted on the following website: notesfromthesocialclinic.org
He can be reached at: [email protected]
Featured image is from Black Agenda Report