A WordWe’d like to have A Word with you. In The Root’s op-ed video series, thought leaders across various disciplines give their perspectives on the important issues you should know about.

Capitalism is an interesting thing.

In today’s day and age, it seems like there are two main camps when it comes to addressing the controversial economic system: team #EatTheRich and team #StatusQuo. And even if dining on the wealthy sounds too extreme for some, maintaining a system that was literally built on the backs of enslaved black people isn’t the move.


“Race and racism [are] older than capitalism, and so racism is baked into the system of capitalism,” says race and economics journalist Aaron Ross Coleman. The Ida B. Wells fellow also says that’s just one of many reasons behind the complicated relationship between black people and capitalism.

In the video above, watch as Coleman outlines the problem with focusing on billionaires like Oprah and Jay-Z instead of the 40 million black Americans who aren’t doing nearly as well financially, how we need to address the wounds of American racism after centuries of slavery and decades of Jim Crow, which economic system would be more beneficial to black folks, and more.

Jessica Moulite is a Video Producer for The Root. She loves telling stories people often times can't tell themselves—and Oprah. She's probably watching Black 90s reruns.

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