Prof tells students 'racist, capitalist system' makes them poor

A recent California State University-Long Beach “teach-in” charged that America "was founded on white supremacy and racism," and "built on a racist capitalist system, meant to weaken the minority."

According to a faculty email promoting the event, the “Understanding Race” teach-in was part of a national response by the American Anthropology Association, in partnership with the CSULB Anthropology Department and Student Association, “to the recent violence in Charlottesville and the broader context of racial animosity and rising white supremacy around the world.”

Chair and Professor of the Political Science Department, Teresa Wright, sent out an email promoting the event as a local part of the national effort to discuss “various topics related to the ‘science,’ social construction, and policing of racial divides.”

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During the event, graduate student Stevie Merino stepped up to the speaker’s platform and called for students to condemn and call out racism and white supremacy, “wherever it may be, whether from our ‘so-called President,’ in the workplace, or in the classroom.”

After Merino spoke, CSULB Sociology Professor Dr. Steven Osuna declared the department’s opposition to capitalism as an accomplice to racism, then asked the audience, a large group of racially diverse students and professors, about their ability to save money as students.

“Do you save money?” he asked the crowd. Students remained silent until he repeated the question, at which point he was met with a few audible shouts of “No!”

Osuna told the students that their inability to save money was due to the “racist, capitalist system” that America was built on, “and as a result,” he told students, “you have all these people making a ton of money off y’all’s backs.”

He further elaborated that the European feudal system’s “evolution of oppression” via capitalism is the root cause of their impecuniousness, noting that capitalism originated in Europe before spreading to the U.S.

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The Department of Anthropology’s official Statement on Inclusion and Respect for Diversity pledges “to continue to exercise and guard academic freedoms to examine and address such issues as perpetuation of inequalities and policies that oppress or degrade,” and the department has publicly endorsed the American Ethnological Society’s statements calling for an immediate reversal of the Immigration Executive Order.

This is not the campus community’s first demonstration against white supremacy. In August, students placed signs on and around a statue of their mascot, Prospector Pete, to protest white supremacy, armed police officers, and domination over local indigenous lands.

CORRECTION: This article has been corrected to reflect that Dr. Steven Osuna, not Dr. David Wilson, made the remarks about America's "racist, capitalist system."

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