Capitalism a system embedded in racism and gender

Is Capitalism Gendered and Racialized? You might be wondering if you don't know already.  I have long been wondering why and how capitalism became such a powerful and pulling force in the economic system. Joan Acker did a great job at explaining the structures of capitalism, and how racism and gender were tied up into it.   Capitalism is a system in which a small group of individuals control capital, large sum of money, and make important decisions for everyone. The small group of people I referred to are white males  which own the  means of production, and pay low wages to their workers as illustrated in the cartoon below. The workers were mostly immigrants who were seen as "non-white" or "not quite-white".  Under this system, the white men were the ones that bring food to the table while their wives and daughters stayed home as housewives. I am happy that these days are over women do not have to stay home and be housewives for ever.

As I was reading this, I kept asking myself whether we still live in a capitalist country. I believe we still do. Therefore I started thinking about the occupy wall street movement. Now, it has come to my understanding that people from this movement were protesting against the 1% wealthiest people in the United States that are getting richer. This is such a shame that the deprived people represent 99% of the population. This fact shows the bad side of  capitalism.  I then recalled of a video called 99% vs 1% that really explains the reasons the protesters are angry and tired of this system.  The needy people are getting poorer and the wealthy are getting richer.

Most people might think that this system is corrupted. However, others think that capitalism make us richer. Does capitalism make us richer and in what way? It does this by creating valuable products that are necessary,and we all can use to narrow the gap between the poor and the rich. This idea is expressed in the following video entitled would you give up the internet for a million dollar. Overall, I think this is a great topic. The fact that there are so many things we say about this topic makes it really interesting. 



  1. In this chapter there is a line that stood out to me that sums up the importance of this topic: "The market is often seen as the antithesis of gender (marked by achieved versus ascribed status, etc.). But the market operates through forms of rationality that are historically masculine and involve a sharp split between instrumental reason on the one hand, emotion and human responsibility on the other. Masculinities embedded in collective practices are part of the context within which certain men made and still make the decisions that drive and shape the ongoing developments of capitalism" (Acker 129). This may be a far fetched question but I couldn't help but wonder that maybe this notion suggests that in order to be able to remove stereotypical ideas of gender and segregation would we have to first or altogether remove capitalistic systems of economy? So, before women of color can be able to accumulate wealth would we have to stumble down the very institution that build our country? Or can capitalism exist without race, class or gender segregation and inequality?

  2. Yes! Joan Acker did a great job of breaking down and giving a brief description of how capitalism works and its history. According to Acker the patterns of Segregation within Capitalism has been going on since its creation. What i found most interesting about the passage Is Capitalism Gendered and Racialized? is was when she mentioned that although presently women do hold positions of power in the work place, it is questioned whether there decision making has been altered by precedents set by past white males in that position. This is what in my opinion makes me skeptical that capitalism can work with out segregation and inequality. these masculinities that have been formed and always imply contrast to a unidentified femininity. cool vids!!!

  3. Great post ! Your question about capitalism , does it make us richer or is it corrupted I think that has a lot to do with our race, gender and class. So I believe it varies per person in society.

  4. In response to Jezirey and Jayla, I think one of the main points of the article is that capitalism cannot exist without gender segregation because it's very creation is based on this hegemonic masculinity that governs even the women who make it to the "top." In order to get to the "top" a woman has to be aggressive and step outside of that idea of women as "carers." This made me think about something that happened to me at work the other day. I work in a NYC public school(which are being increasingly restructured to resemble the corporate model)and my principal asked me to talk to some of my co-workers about impending cuts to their work hours. I normally would have told him that was not my job and refused to do it, however because I have worked with these people for many years and have developed relationships with them I felt that maybe it would be easier coming from me, so I did it. Right away I knew I should have gone with my gut, because I could not answer basic questions about what their work schedules would look like now and how it would affect their pay. When I complained to my husband and a few of my other colleagues about the situation they made me see that my boss was using me because he knew I would feel bad and would try to appeal to my colleagues who were getting their hours cut. When I reported back to him I told him I thought he should have a meeting with these people because he needed to explain to them what their new schedule would look like and what he expects of them. His immediate response was "Can you do it for me?" My knee-jerk reaction was to say "No! I am not their supervisor and do not feel comfortable doing that." Now all of a sudden I was being "aggressive." I was completely disgusted by the situation because it made me see that in this male-dominated capitalistic world, you can't win as a woman. You either have to conform to the carer role or be viewed as aggressive and either way that means you will be stereotyped. It is extremely frustrating and I believe it will be a long time before there is great improvement in this area. I do agree with the conclusion of the second article where it says that "women of color are some of the most resilient, resourceful and relied-upon people of our society" and that the key may lie in "shining a spotlight on the overlooked issue of women of color and wealth." If more research is done on the topic and it opens up more opportunities for women of color in particular, it could make a real difference on the economic makeup of our country.

  5. I feel that by examining how capitalism is sexist in its inception and partial to the success of men and characteristics that are classically applied to men, Acker is formulating a question of what kind of political system is generally supportive of women? It's difficult when one thinks of the history of organized political systems and philosophies which are often written and promoted by men. If there have been political parties primarily maintained and supported by a bunch of women then it has yet to be popularized (or perhaps I just don't know about it!- its a possibility!). I wonder if a political system were to be theorized which explicitly included women and minorities rather than "alluding" to their involvement and assumed contribution ("if you work hard you can be successful too! just act like a white man!" - something a conventional capitalist might say) then perhaps capitalism wouldn't be such a faulty political system that favors one sect of humanity over the rest and rather than promising success and wealth to "anyone" willing to work hard when what it really means is "any white man who is already rich" to work hard and achieve success.


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