Time to Remember Texas Professor Oliver C. Cox

[Quote: Wiley College Professor Oliver C.] Cox did not dismiss racism among working-

class whites. He argued that “the observed overt competitive antagonism is produced and carefully

maintained by the exploiters of both the poor whites and the Negroes.” He recognized that elite whites

defined the matrix within which non-elite whites crafted their political agency, and he emphasized the

ruling-class foundations of racism as part of his critique of the liberal scholars of race relations

who theorized race relations without regard to capitalist political economy and class dynamics.[end

quote, Adolph Reed’s Introduction to the Monthly Review edition of “Race”–part three of Cox’s

masterwork, “Caste, Class, and Race” see “Web Links” or additional quote below.] Cox’s

perspective goes right to the heart of how we should try to understand race by encouraging us to move

beyond categories for defining and sorting supposedly discrete human populations, beyond concepts of

racial hierarchies, and beyond racist ideologies—all components of a singular, indivisible unholy

trinity—and instead recognize that race is the product of social relations within history and political


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