Socioeconomic divide or Systematic Racism

Once we have solved the gap in socioeconomic divide, issues of race will follow. According to Ijeoma Oluo author of So you want to talk about race, and recipient of the 2017 Humanist Feminist Award by the American Humanist Association, the statement above is a false misconception.

In So you want to talk about race, Oluo shares how identifying as a black, women of color in a white space, such as Seattle, has placed her in many positions of vulnerability and anger while explaining to her white friends how their white privilege works to oppress her every day struggle against systematic racism & oppression (Oluo, 35). In “Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s”, Omi & Winant, sociologists from University of Santa Barbara argue how systematic oppression of people of color roots itself within social and political power of hegemonic institutions such as the education system, government, Church ect (Omi, 67).

In reference to the ignorance of hegemony’s power to facilitate and prevail systemic racial oppression, friends of Oluo must understand the tickle down of this all-controlling inescapable void of oppression against all are non-white identifying. Yes, socioeconomics is a single aspect of how racism can effect the life of a person of color, but no it is far from the encapsulating answer to race.

Works Cited (MLA)

Oluo, Ijeoma. So You Want to Talk About Race. 2018. Print.

Omi, Michael W. H. Racial Formation in the United States: from the 1960s to the 1990s. Routledge, 2013. Print.


One thought on “Socioeconomic divide or Systematic Racism

  1. The last line of your post is something I agree with strongly but also raises questions for me. You say, “Yes, socioeconomics is a single aspect of how racism can effect the life of a person of color, but no it is far from the encapsulating answer to race.”

    Based off of what Ijeoma Oluo and Chenjerai Kumanyika both had to say, I think what makes race so challenging to discuss is the various ways in which people not only see its issues but also how it has become real or “alive” (Oluo 12) through systematic and personal forms. And so I wonder how ideas of the “answer” to race and racism are influenced by what someone believes the biggest problems concerning the topic are.

    In your conclusion, you mention “the encapsulating answer to race.” Is that to simply distinguish solving the socioeconomic issue from being an answer, or is there even an encapsulating answer at all? While discussing the class system in the U.S, Oluo says “It should be addressed. It should be torn down. But the same hammer won’t tear down all of the walls” (Oluo 13). I believe her words illustrate your point of socioeconomics being one aspect of racism’s impact, while also creating this idea of “walls” as representative of the various institutions and systems that shape people’s lives and sustain racism. Oluo is suggesting that combating racism goes beyond a single tool or answer, but rather is contingent on versatile efforts to dismantle these systems. Acknowledging that, I believe, can help dissolve some of the tension that can often build in discussions of race.

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