Cold Truth, Liberating Truth: How This System Has Always Oppressed Black People, and How All Oppression Can Finally Be Ended

Special section of the Revolutionary Worker, No. 518, August 14, 1989

Number One: The USA is, and always has been, a racist country. It is a country where white supremacy is the practice and all kinds of nonsense theories and notions about the so-called "inferiority of non-white peoples" are continually pumped out by the powers-that-be and the mouths they hire. This is the way it has been all through the history of this country, this is still the way it is today. And this is the way it will stay, so long as the system we now live under--this system of capitalist imperialism, this system of exploitation, oppression, and plunder, worldwide--is in effect and rules over us. But that may not be so long, after all. This system cannot go on forever, and there is a way to put an end to it and create something far better in its place.

At the heart of all this in the USA are the 30 million or more Black people in this country. Anyone who is serious and honest knows that the enslavement and exploitation of Black people has been a big part of building up the wealth and power that the rulers of this country have in their hands--wealth and power that these suckers use to further exploit and oppress people here and all over the world. And anyone who is honest and serious knows that for revolution to have a chance in this country--a revolution to do away with all this oppression and exploitation and to change society from bottom to top--Black people must play and will play a big part in this revolution.

All this is true and it cannot be dis-missed. But here we will get into it deeper, knocking down lies and bringing out the real facts. We use knowledge of the past to shine a light on the present and point the way toward the future: a future that does belong to us--all of us who have been counted as "nothing" but who shall be all--if we dare to seize it and know how to seize it. Getting it fully clear on how and why Black people have been enslaved, discriminated against, oppressed, and exploited throughout the history of the USA, right down to today, and how all that can finally be ended--this is a key part of knowing and daring. It has everything to do with emancipation that's all-the-way and real, not a sham or half-way deal, not only for Black people but for all exploited and oppressed people, not just in the USA but worldwide.


Any way you measure it, Black people are still catching hell in America, and equality is nowhere to be found. Racist attacks on Black people are mounting, from the streets to the campuses, and the situation of the masses of Black people is growing more and more desperate.

The average income of Black people is just over half that of whites, while Black people are unemployed at a rate more than two times that for whites. Health care for Blacks is harder to get and of lower quality. Black people are hit harder by malnutrition and disease. Even AIDS hits Black people harder.

Black children die in the first year after birth at a rate two times that for white children. In fact, in many inner cities of the USA, this rate of infant death is higher than it is in some Third World countries like Costa Rica and Cuba. And that's only a small part of the overall picture. Compared to white children, Black children are twice as likely not only to die in the first year of life but also to have mothers who got late medical care or no medical care while pregnant. Black children are twice as likely to live in lousy housing, be unemployed as teenagers, have no parent employed, see a parent die, live in institutions.

Black children are three times as likely to be poor, have their mothers die in childbirth, be in foster care, be murdered between five and nine years of age.

And Black children are four times as likely to live without either parent and be supervised by a child welfare agency, and to be murdered within one year after becoming a teenager.

Black people are much more likely than whites to be murdered by the police. Black people are sent to jail at a much higher rate than whites. In fact the rate is incredibly high--it is the highest in the world. Blacks go to jail in the U.S. even more often than Blacks in South Africa!

If African-Americans lived in some other country--say, one of the Soviet-bloc countries--and suffered the same conditions, who in America would not say that this is a clear case of a people being oppressed by the system? But here in America the real deal with Black people--the real situation they are in and why they are in that situation--is lied about and covered up. So the basic question must be dealt with: What is the PROBLEM--who and what is responsible for this situation--and what is to be done about it? What is the SOLUTION?

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