Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the people who mock "class issues"

I love this bingo card:

And yet, I wonder what the people who made it would think of an "anti-racist bingo card" in which every square was "race"? Though many millions have suffered and died because of racism, far more have suffered and died because the rich exploit the rest of us.

For years, I wondered why the Angry Black Woman was so indifferent to the fact that 37% of blacks think there are two black “races”, one rich and one poor. I suppose the clue was that "class" is not in her list of concerns, but I finally figured it out when she attacked Harlan Ellison on her blog, then became indignant when he replied using the term N.W.A. Apparently, Ellison had thought from her handle that she had attitude and would have known that was a compliment. That's when I realized she's the Angry Bourgeois Woman who does not want class issues in her explanation of racism.

And that helped me understand a few more of the people who won't talk about class. People who consider themselves experts on Malcolm X who say his racial enlightenment was all about Islam, even though he said that when you find a white person who has "a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have this racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.” People who think Health care IS an anti-racist issue, even though improving US health care will help far more whites than people of color because health care is a class issue—the 45,000 deaths each year due to lack of health care affect people of every hue, but not one of them is rich.

The people who mock class issues aren't evil or stupid. They're smart, and they're driven by a passion for justice. They're middle class and upper class people who sense oppression all around them, but it's an oppression that benefits them, so they see its racial and sexual faces, but they're afraid to look at its heart. They're the people Upton Sinclair referred to when he said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

Well, as Gandhi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear she's begun to address it. She left a comment on my blog a couple of years ago addressing this: "I rarely mention class because it’s not an issue I’m particularly familiar with. As I’ve said before, I come from a pretty comfortable middle class upbringing and, even though I don’t make a lot of money at the moment, I am pretty comfortable, financially. I have family and friends who would give me a place to stay and food to eat if I were to suddenly lose my job or, heaven forfend, get hit by a car and have my legs removed or something. I’m not overly familiar with the ways in which being lower class affects anything, including race (though I have some idea). Therefore, I don’t feel qualified to go on about it."

    Mostly, I include her because she insists that class issues are derailment when talking about racism. How she balances that with her new awareness of intersectionality, I dunno.