Race and Class Revisited: The Case of the North America and South Africa

At what historical point do race and class become issues and/or at what historical point do they develop in association? Are race and class mutually exclusive categories or do race relations underline class relations? Arguing that the economic exploitation of Africans (a class act) is rooted in the growth and expansion of the world capitalist system, the author examines race and class in North America and the Republic of South Africa, two societies which have descended from the early outposts settled by Europeans at the dawn of capitalism. The study of the origin of capitalism in the US and South Africa reveals that the ruling class does not merely create classes (in the strict sense) and races (in the social sense), but polarizes them. That is, the ruling class creates situations that enable it to distribute the inequities of the capitalist system among classes (cum races) in a variety of ways. Racism therefore cannot be eliminated without eliminating the reinforcing political economy. Bibliogr., sum. in French.

Title: Race and Class Revisited: The Case of the North America and South Africa
Author: Magubane, Bernard
Year: 1987
Periodical: Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Volume: 12
Issue: 1
Period: January-March
Pages: 5-42
Language: English
Geographic terms: South Africa
United States
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24486596
Abstract: At what historical point do race and class become issues and/or at what historical point do they develop in association? Are race and class mutually exclusive categories or do race relations underline class relations? Arguing that the economic exploitation of Africans (a class act) is rooted in the growth and expansion of the world capitalist system, the author examines race and class in North America and the Republic of South Africa, two societies which have descended from the early outposts settled by Europeans at the dawn of capitalism. The study of the origin of capitalism in the US and South Africa reveals that the ruling class does not merely create classes (in the strict sense) and races (in the social sense), but polarizes them. That is, the ruling class creates situations that enable it to distribute the inequities of the capitalist system among classes (cum races) in a variety of ways. Racism therefore cannot be eliminated without eliminating the reinforcing political economy. Bibliogr., sum. in French.