Saturday, February 23, 2008
There Is Nothing So Bad About A Class Structure, Really
If the people who were most vocal about wanting to end racism really wanted to end racism, they would shut up about racism.
And start talking about class.
Let us imagine two people.
One is black. One is white. Both are poor.
Let us imagine that the poor white person has been told all his life, despite empirical evidence to the contrary, that his class status is better than that of the poor black person because, as a white person, he has been endowed with a mythical resource of "white privilege" which he can employ at any point to avoid complete deprivation.
Let us then imagine that the poor black person has been concurrently told that his class status is worse than that of the poor white person because he does not possess the mythical resource of "white privilege".
Voila! You have racism.
You have pitted white dog against black dog and vice/versa.
And the drama goes on and on and on. . .
How interesting that those who deal in the language of "white privilege" are largely upper-class ("privileged") whites or opportunistic leaders of minority groups who have something to gain from such race-based rhetoric.
NOTE: For upper-class, I also include a new middle-class. Even middle-class is upper-class to me.
That being said, there is nothing so bad about a class structure, really. How could I say otherwise, having grown up a monarchist? That is, a believer in some form of vertical social hierarchy versus the horizontal state of cultural relativism. I could never go for communism. It has no love for the individual.
And anyway, a horizontal state of cultural relativism can never truly exist. There will always be a class structure. Turn on your television. Who's behind all that? Though the television shows you a horizontal state of cultural relativism, the guys that run the television go home at night to the top of a vertical social hierarchy.
So this is more of a general lament for the type of class structure we have in place now. That is: an upper class media and academics system that pits the working classes against each other through race-based rhetoric while at the same time obfuscating not only a clear discussion of class structure, but a potential illumination of their own questionable role in that very same structure.
If we eliminated this new upper-crust of race-hustling pedants, the poor could return to being a unified group of poor that sheds the trite, yet destructive, tropes of "disenfranchised" black and "privileged" white. In short, we would have, at the lowest rungs of the class structure, the realization of Martin Luther King's Dream instead of the prolongation of Malcolm X's hustling cynicism.
And yes, I know X changed later on in life, but the damage had already been done by then. Favorite X quote? Don't let no Jew get up in your face and make you cry for him! Why, they only killed 6 million Jews! Gee, thanks a bunch, Nation of Islam!
That quote comes from a compilation of X speeches unbelievably titled The Wisdom Of Malcolm X.
Why divide instead of unify? Because unity between the lower classes would threaten the stability of the existing class structure, which the upper classes can not allow.
As it is now, I not only have to suffer the misery of being poor, but I have to feel guilty about the color of my skin as well.
Why? Because that's what the new upper-classes demand of me. And possibly you.
But I will not apologize.
I am not old enough to remember Jim Crow. Nor am I rich enough to afford next month's rent.
I am just another nigger in the postmodern class structure.
Posted by Will Franken at 3:01 PM