In a previous blog post, I mulled over the use of racism during colonial times as a means of keeping “the subordinates divided and subdued” and how this might also be used in current times in the debate (or lack of debate) about immigration.
Racism as a political tool has been ever-present—the divide and conquer mentality. Witness comments by Tom Watson, a Populist leader in the late 1800s pleading for racial unity, at least when it befitted his interests.
“You [blacks and poor whites] are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings. You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism which enslaves you both. You are deceived and blind that you may not see how this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars both.” (Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, page 291).