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Everyone Is

One of the issues with racism is that past indiscretions have never been accounted for.  Given that the past influences the present very strongly, we should understand that the treatment of black americans for many years put them in a lower socio-economic level from which they as a community can never recover without assistance.  Poverty is something that reinforces and reproduces itself.  There are all kinds of factors that middle and upper class people don't think about...like the fact that insurance rates are higher in poor areas (higher crime rates), products and services (banks, grocery stores, etc) are less readily available and often must be traveled to by bus or taxi.  Citations from police cost the same for everyone but for a poor person it can make the difference between making rent or being out on the street.  These and myriad other things serve to keep the people who are poor in that place and largely unable to acquire a higher socioeconomic status. 

It is a fact that people tend to grow up like their families and remain generally in that same income level, of course with exceptions.  What we have is economics and the capitalist mode dictating our social order.  Keeping the poor poor and the rich rich and the middle class stuck.  The bulk of our poor and impoverished people are minorities and our government has allowed them to be oppressed in the past, and has not taken proper steps to develop the third world conditions we have right here in America (yes we do have third world conditions here...in many major cities...Detroit, Chicago, LA), ...we have a lot of pissed off minorities who have legitimate complaints.  In this "land of the free" and "land of plenty" where corporations are clearing billion dollar profits regularly, we have people surviving amongst third world conditions.  These people are not to blame for their own poverty as so many claim.  It is social and economic systems that create continuous and perpetual poverty. 

There is no reason for this other than ignorance and our lack of ability to control our own government.  We are not the democracy that many think we are.    Middle and upper class people now want to talk about freedom and equality for everyone which is important.  But many are saying this as a matter of convenience for themselves and their worldview.  They are justifying the removal of any help (social services) for people based on their race b/c that is racist.  It is not racist to help people of a lower socioeconomic status achieve an adequate material existence.  It just so happens that a lot of these people are people of color.  So while you're noticing the color of their skin and trying to take away their help which we should provide given that they are and were oppressed...based on your idea of "freedom and equality"...just know that you are the racist and an ignorant one at that.

ReformedAutomaton ReformedAutomaton 36-40, M 34 Responses May 21, 2008

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I do want to thank you damagedanonuser for helping me revisit this story. It's one of the best things I've written on EP and I'd forgotten about it.

<p>Don't worry, I will die as will you. Nothing lasts forever! Not even your ignorance.</p>

please die, this world doesn't want or need you

Yes! Blame it on the gov't! It has to be someones fault cause it sure as hell aint yours! Excuses!

Not a racist, so no comment

Thanks A-Greene...you are definitely one of my EP faves, I always appreciate hearing your opinions as well.

RA -- Your story has generated some great comments. I'm happy to be able to re-visit this one.

Thanks britegreen. I'm seeing these issues at the forefront now in the US with McCain accusing Obama of "class warfare", "spreading wealth", and just generally being a socialist (or communist). These are all phrases that are used to scare people away from making this country more truly equal. Not that I think that Obama will make any big difference in the US in terms of poverty, but I do believe McCain is a backer of the elites and is glad to make the rich even richer.

amen. beautifully stated

Damn I typed a long response to this and my computer shut down before I hit enter...arghhhh....<br />
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Anyway, thanks Maisedobbs for your story. Ignorance and apathy seem to prevail in this world of ours today. It's great to have people like you around that understand how much work is left to be done to make this a truly equal world to live in.<br />
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Prayerwhisperer...I agree that it's a class issue more than a race issue. It just so happens that minorities around the world tend to be in the lower socio-economic levels. I get very angry as well at the inequities that could be so easily overcome in this wealthiest country in the world. I think it's sad that people look at 'welfare' as a bad thing (a government helping it's own people, come on what a travesty! *sarcasm*) while handouts to monstrous corporations seem to bring about little thought at all. It makes me believe more in the conspiracy theories that say our government is controlling us through media. I'm reading Noam Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent right now...it's a great read and clearly shows blatant propoganda in the news media (back in the '80s)....I want to hear more about his take on our media now...every mainstream media outlet be it TV, magazine, internet, newspaper, carries the same angle on the same stories every day....and on TV usually in the same order....is there a problem here?

Very well said! Although I think it is an issue of social class even more than just racism, although certainly race plays a huge role in social class. We need a liveable wage in this country. You cannot be paid $7.00 per hour and have to pay $70 for a tank of gas and call that having a liveable wage. We give tax breaks to the rich all the time but that is not looked at as welfare or seen as something to turn our noses up at in disgust, yet it is just the same as giving assistance to the poor who need help just to meet their basic human needs and yet for that they are looked down upon. It is an extremely frustrating social system.

The 'everyone is' title alludes to all peoples prejudices. Race is an arbitrary and unreal category. I have a decent understanding of that but also that all people no matter how sensitive have preconceptions of other people. Otherwise known as prejudices. I think the more informed one is the more one can work towards viewing all people in a similar fashion rather than having pre-existing feelings towards certain types of people.

You got that right Firetech...I wrote this story after seeing someone elses story about how "these people" need to stop making excuses and take care of themselves. That's such short-sighted and irresponsible thinking. When I was younger and dumber I thought similarly that since I didn't have anything to do with slavery or Jim Crow laws that I shouldn't have any responsibility for what happened. That line of thinking is only true for an individual. Socially, politically, and economically WE (not ME) do have a resposibility to make up for past indiscretions which created the conditions in which so many people suffer today.

But after kicking them down for hundreds of years, lets not blame them for not being "on their own two feet" rather lets help them and any other peoples that are down get up on their own two feet.<br />
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You can't just kick someone down and then tell them they should be on their own two feet.

kyuuketusky....I don't believe in helping only blacks or any other racial category....I believe that it is sick that we have the strongest economy in the world and yet so many people are destitute....I am sickened by the fact that we have corporations raking in billion dollar profits and paying very low tax rates which could go a long way towards making our ghettos livable places with a functioning economy. I have never believed that affirmative action works.

It is very well stated, RA, however, if what you're saying is true, wouldn't it make sense to replace all the racially specific Scholarships, and other financial programs in this country with non-racially specific, strictly income/circumstance related programs? It seems it would have the same financial effect without dragging the racism issue along with it. I'm sorry but I can't ignore the thought that helping ONLY those poor and impoverished who are black IS racism. I was BORN this color, as they were BORN their color, why does that make them more deserving than me? Now if you say they are more in need, I can understand that, but when I am standing next to a black class mate (I use the scholarship example because it is an are in which I am well versed) and we have the same income, same needs, even want to go to the same school but looking at the list of scholarships, there are several which I cannot apply for because I was born white, isn't that racism? Our efforts to get people out of poverty should start with the MOST IN NEED not the darkest skinned.

Well said marji.

aren't all our panties in a wad - well mine seem to bunch up more often than not - HAH!!! I do agree and I understand your point that there are more minorities in the ghettoes than whites... it ****** me off that as a country no one is doing anything to get rid of ghettoes overall - I think the poor shouldn't have to remain poor and the rich remain rich - that to me is ignorance... so like I said I do agree with you... and yes I think it is important to enlighten others and you have done so very eloquently... kudos to you...

wow the man can write too!....well said...preach on brother! ...you took the words right out of my mouth...! etc...etc...btw....it's a common misconception that we are a democracy...in actuality we are a republic..awesomely awesome...

I'm not blind. I see it. I do not see it as strongly against other minorities because they do not have the slavery history in this country and were not held down by the system like the black.<br />
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They were held down by the system for so long, we now blame them for not getting up fast enough. I drove a route truck for a beverage company three years in the late 70s. My "helper" was black. The owner would not hire blacks as the route salesman because he feared the reaction of the store owners.<br />
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The late 70s may seem like a long time ago to many of you but it is not. Many of the black men who were young then gave up on the system. Now, that they are middle-age janitors and mill workers, we blame them for being behind.<br />
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One major problem is that some very good people do not see it. There are actually good and decent people on this forum who deny a significant degree of racism. Maybe they are right regarding where they live, but even President Bush admits that racism is alive and well in this country.

Thanks allii44 :)

cripple crow you are ignorant and your comments are not worth responding to...<br />
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Phidget...my panties are already so wadded up it's not even funny LOL...you are right I need to relax...the matter does come down to economics...ghettoes are ghettoes b/c impoverished people live there....most of whom are black or hispanic with smaller numbers of white folks. The issue of race comes up when idiots say those poor black folks should stop complaining and just get out of the ghetto. I'm trying to enlighten such people as to the causes and conditions of poverty and why there are a larger number of impoverished minorities as compared to the caucasian majority here in the U.S.

That was the point I was trying to make RA... why is it so up in the air about black and white... you were saying it was about race but race isn't what is important... and yes, blacks and hispanics do make up a majority of our "ghettos" but that's because other lower-class whites and others don't live in "ghettos"... <br />
Don't get your panties in a wad sweetie... I agree with your train of thought, I just don't agree that it is black and white... I tend to see things in shades of gray more often than most...

I really can't believe this is even an issue...it is a fact that blacks and hispanics make up the greatest proportion of the population in America's "ghettos"...can we move on to more relevant points?

But of color are you speaking of all minorities... I'm Asian... would Asians be considered of peple of color to you? Just curious...

There is no room for debate that in America there are far more people of color in poverty than caucasians. And the apathy that you share with us Marji, that nothing will ever change so why try, is an all too common excuse for allowing current conditions to continue. I will not sit idly by in silence.

Yes and no... I think there are just as many poor whites, hispanics, asians and whatever as there is anything else (blacks if you will)... regardless of your skin color if you are living at sub-par level then you are considered lower-class... and to me that seems to be more of an issue than who enslaved who when... we are all slaves to our society...

Wow, RA. That was said better than anything I have ever said. I agree with you. NPR said that a poll taken in West Virginia indicated that one third of the people who voted Senator Clinton would not vote for Senator Obama, and the primary reason seemed to be that he was black.<br />
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As a white male, I am forced to admit that racism is still here. I see it, and if I see it who can blame the black male from screaming that it exists.

Personally I think it isn't about black or white... racism is always thought to be black and white but the root of it isn't about skin color... it's about, in my opinion and as stated in RA's story, socio-economic status... the poor will always be poor... the rich always rich and the middle class well we are what we are... it's not a black or white thing really... it's a prejudice against your social status... unfortunately there are more minorities in the lower class status and their lives are most affected by status... there will always be those that do not fit the norm - such as Obama - but that's not to say that in general social norms are always as they have always been...

I think the people that the white man enslaved and oppressed for centuries have every right to "cry". Just because there are a few blacks in power today doesn't change what's happened in the past and still happening today. Please understand economic reality before making such racial assumptions. And those blacks that are jet-setting around are not doing any favors for those less fortunate. They are in fact part of the problem.