Friday, October 29, 2010

Race: American Class War By Proxy

Al Reynolds, Tea Party candidate in Illinois' 52nd District, has been asked to step down by the GOP after saying black men preferred dealing drugs to going to college, because it is "easier." Racist pr*ck? Check. Speaking truth? Check.

Not to defend Reynolds, but if you remove the racial element (race in America is ultimately a class issue after all), you cannot side step the truth: there are many parts of the country where slinging drugs is the only immediately accessible avenue for making money. Whether you're a black kid in Compton or a white kid in rural Kansas, opportunities are few and far between in the depressed hinterlands of America. It's hard to get to college when your family's broke. And it's hard to get a job when you're living in a town where businesses are more likely to be boarding up than hiring. If you're dumb, you might end up smoking crack or doing meth to anesthetize yourself. If you're smarter, you might opt for the supply side.

It's an awkward truth and the knee-jerk, ideological responses from both sides just obfuscate and perpetuate the problem. On the one hand, racist conservatives blame the victims, imply there's something inherently inferior about other races who, somehow, have more of an appetite for poverty (like there's no such thing as poor white people?). On the other hand, liberals tend to claim racism when anyone like Reynolds clumsily sets foot in the socio-economic minefield of class politics. There might be a glaring issue at the center of the argument, but lets just ignore it and talk racism... as if white folks not talking mean about them will magically make life more bearable for the poor.

Reynolds went on:

"We need to provide ways that are more incentive, other than just sports avenues, for the men for the minorities to want to go to college and get an education and better themselves before the women have to support them all."

What the f*ck is wrong with that? I've heard many community advocates and folks who've experienced the reality of "the ghetto" say the same. Live a week in any depressed neighborhood and you can appreciate what he's saying. [Personally, we were lucky as a family. We were able to move up from our sh*tty neighborhood for the sake of our kid's future education. But many people aren't able to and that's how the underclass grows.]

So quit with the racism. Reynolds is really talking about class here - even if he stupidly stresses race and comes off sounding like a deranged bigot. We need to tackle the problems facing way too many underprivileged American kids, give them better ways to get ahead, extend to them the same opportunities enjoyed by the kids in the suburbs. Conservatives and liberals: shut up about f*cking race. Let's talk economics.


1 comment:

  1. This is a broad statement made by a right wing racist prick who likes to paint minorities with a broad brush.
    Black men DO NOT prefer to deal drugs, no matter how it's worded. Sometimes it the only choice for some in certain socioeconomic levels, but that's NOT what this dick wad was talking about.
    "before the women have to support them all?!" Do I really need to dissect the loud and clear racist overtones of that bullshit?

    Yea, let's talk about the poverty that is invading the middle class. Let's talk about the lack of hope that is infecting a huge percentage of today's youth, but let's do it in a manner where that is not making it sound like one group or another is particularly prone to these conditions because of their own nature.


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