Mar 18, 2022
CAPITALISM / SOCIALISM / DEMOCRACY Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. Especially since the national reckoning with race following the death of George Floyd, there has been a focus, in both academic and popular discourse, on the continuity of anti-Black racism in U.S. history. Distinguished political scientist ADOLPH REED contests the idea, however, that racism as an immutable force exerting a uniform influence from the era of slavery to the present day, or even that American inequality is chiefly defined by race. His new book, The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives, situates the racial hierarchy of the Jim Crow South in the political economy of the period and in the struggles and negotiations of everyday experience. In his discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, he relates his own personal recollections of growing up during that time and emphasizes the specificity of the era. He takes aim at anti-racist historiography and social analysis, including The 1619 Project and The New Jim Crow, arguing that they miss the distinctive concrete roles that “race relations” has played in different times and places to reinforce social inequality.