This is a long article, so I’ll try to keep my comments brief, but it needs some context. Alec Macgillis writes in The Atlantic of poor white America, known better as “white trash,” “hillbillies,” “crackers,” or “rednecks.” I don’t post this as some kind of counterweight to the articles I’ve posted about the plights of minority communities in this country. And some could use this article to voice a common mistaken idea that boils down to: “see, white people have it hard too, therefore racism doesn’t exist.” That’s simply untrue, though it is hard to see that if you did grow up in a white underclass: you see your own real struggle, even the prejudices that the world has against you, so you do not see your advantages. Chiefly: it is possible, no matter how difficult, to escape your circumstances if you are white. Lose your accent, move away from depressed and depressing towns, and suddenly you’re as “white” as anyone, while the most privileged of Black Americans is always under threat.
I share this instead to help point out how our societal problems stem from the same imperialist root: the idea of race, especially the idea of “whiteness,” is a sick dream that politicians and the unscrupulous economic elite and everyday desperate people have deliberately created, manipulated, and added to over the centuries for their own gain. It turns poor communities against each other, promotes fear and violence, murders black bodies and poisons “white” souls. But it is also a scapegoating that papers violence over with different violence: the race-based institutionalized hatred that clearly exists nevertheless obscures a deeper greed that builds wealth for the few at the expense of all human beings.
This is a long read, but an enlightening one.