I recently encountered a post on Medium bemoaning America, seemingly seeing us as hopelessly divided along racial, cultural or tribal lines. People like this often place a lot of emphasis on skin color in analyzing America. President Trump has created an hysteria, or at least a real worry, among some of my fellow liberals about the rise of racism in America. Here is my response to that line of thinking.
Dear Hopeless in America: I’m sorry you are feeling bad, but I think you’re part of the problem. You are declaring war on everyone that looks different than you, or who doesn’t fit your cultural type or however you define yourself. The people holding the whip are not a racial group, they are not the majority, they are an economic group and are a tiny minority but dangerously powerful.
Yes, there are people like you that judge everything by race, and that’s a shame and works to the detriment of racial minorities for obvious reasons. As long as race is the focus, there is nothing you can do to help yourself if you happen to have the wrong skin color. There are plenty of disenfranchised whites, that’s what got Trump elected you might say. But I am guessing probably you see them as jerks and have no compassion for them. That’s why you just might be a racist. Skin color is just sooo important to you.
I’m sure it sucks to be called racial epithets, and knuckle dragging white racists are horrible, but my lack of concern for the exact right phrasing and sensitivity levels to make you happy is not the problem. The real problem is class class class. It’s Jeff Bezos and Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton and seemingly every Republican ever elected. It’s the concentration of political, economic, military and police power in a smaller and smaller set of hands, regardless of their ethnicity or culture. That would be bad even if they were not mostly white people, believe it or not.
I believe that if we change our lens to focus on the real issue which is that insiders and corporations run our government, and that education, infrastructure and health care have taken a distant back seat to endless wars and stock market profits and real estate bubbles, we can make real progress.