The presentation visualizes the ways capitalism produces racialized inequality and oppression, educates audiences about the histories and social policies that brought us to this point, and highlights the role of philanthropy in producing these conditions.
At the core of the presentation is an illustration of a monstrous machine that casts a foreboding shadow, an attempt to give form to the often elusive, immaterial machinations of racial capitalism in our lives. Operating from an understanding that capitalism requires theft, exclusion, and exploitation in order to function, it is envisaged as an amalgamation of tools that carry out those tasks. The figure supports the team’s already robust oral presentations by visualizing features of capitalism that the system itself obfuscates to conceal its brutality, horrors, and true nature. The presentation contains roughly 35 slides, some of which are customizable so staff can update them as information evolves.
The presentation examines how racial capitalism obscures its actual functions by hiding behind ideology, teaching its adherents that it’s natural and impartial, distracting those disenfranchised by the system from the actual source of their distress, manufacturing a sense of scarcity, controlling social behavior so that it will serve capital, restraining most people’s power to influence the system, creating unnecessary confusion and complexity, and making it nearly impossible to disinvest from it entirely and still survive. It further explores the role of policy in enabling and hampering wealth-building for different racialized groups of people throughout history.
Lastly, it calls attention to the ways in which philanthropy, especially, upholds racial capitalism.
To support these presentations, we also designed a set of print materials. First, participants receive a workbook with both passive activities like coloring pages and active reflection prompts for journaling to encourage more interactivity and active self-reflection among before, during, and after the session.
An accompanying Power Play Handbook contains more reference material and specific prompts surrounding power. This booklet, supplemented by a set of templates for a tactile exercise, guides participants through assembling a tool for examining their own positioning within racial capitalism, exploring their agency and power to cultivate racial economic justice through their work, and interrogating connections between histories of racial capitalism and the social policies that uphold it and present-day manifestations of racialized inequality and oppression.