Chomsky on racism

Noam Chomsky is interviewed for the New York Times. There is much to quote. Consider:

The Thirteenth Amendment formally ended slavery, but a decade later “slavery by another name” (also the title of an important study by Douglas A. Blackmon) was introduced. Black life was criminalized by overly harsh codes that targeted black people. Soon an even more valuable form of slavery was available for agribusiness, mining, steel — more valuable because the state, not the capitalist, was responsible for sustaining the enslaved labor force, meaning that blacks were arrested without real cause and prisoners were put to work for these business interests. The system provided a major contribution to the rapid industrial development from the late 19th century.

Those, like Obama, who prefer to rhapsodize about the “long arc” of progress and how we should subjugate the past to the promises of some yet unrealized future do more harm than good. We can’t eat promises. We can’t be sheltered by promises. We can’t achieve justice via promises. Indeed, no one has promised anything.

First, name the evil. Then we’ll talk.