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News ::
This shit sucks: intersections of racism and capitalism (english)
22 Apr 2003
This IS a news story. A tenant can't fight a landlord's racism. This is the real people's news. This is the way news would sound if it wasn't owned by the establishment powers-that-be.

The fucking intersections of racism and capitalism

I live in an apartment in Jamaica Plain. I am white. Most people on my street are white. My landlord lives below me. She is Irish-American white. My roommate and I pay $1000 of blood money every month for the apartment.

I have a couple of friends who recently moved to the U.S. from Togo and Ghana. My friend from Togo arrived six months ago, and I have known him since a week after he arrived. I have worked with him at different jobs, doing construction manual labor. I have a truck and connections and my white privilege lets me get work here and there. He has nothing but his labor to sell.

My other friend just arrived a month ago to this country, so I have only known him a short time but he's amazingly wonderful. We talk about so many things. I am learning how ignorant I am about African history, and how this is a product of my Eurocentric roots and this Eurocentric culture.

So they're looking for a room someplace with a rent that won't kill them, since they make only 8 or 10 dollars an hour selling their bodies by the hour. They have to find a room that will let them share the room and split the rent.

So they came over to my apartment to use the internet and check apartment listings. They made a couple calls, nobody was home, and we talked for a couple minutes and they left.

Then a knock on my door. It was my landlord.

She went off, saying that her nephew said he saw two big black men leaving the house and she is very particular about what kind of people she lets in her house and this kind of shit. She wanted to know what they were doing here.

I told her they were my friends. I'm helping them find an apartment. What more did she need to know?

Well, she said, there are rental agencies to do that.

I just wanted to go OFF on her and tell here where she could go. I wanted to take some time and help her to examine the nature of what she was asking me, and why she never asked me who that was, when I had white friends in my apartment. I wanted to do a lot of things. But I couldn't. It was bursting out of me but I held it in. I wanted to but I couldn't.


Because she OWNS me, to some extent. The rent I pay is actually so-called “good” for this area. It's a low rent in comparison to the other rent rates and the apartment is nice. I'd have to spend my valuable time looking for a new place, pack up all these things, pay more rent, move everything, get settled into a new place where a new person OWNS me. This is control. This is coercion.

So I was silenced because of my class position, and unable to fight the most blatant racism, even with my white privilege. I couldn't afford to tell my landlord off.

And that is what is meant by “intersections of capitalism and racism”.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that is only the way intellectuals talk. It's real shit.

We gotta have a revolution. This fuckin shit sucks.
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