12
Dec
09

Classism, Poverty, and Racism

In recent posts, I have been describing how “classism” (the stratification of society according to wealth) has become a new kind of racism. However, I feel obligated to describe how classism, in turn, creates and perpetuates racism.

It all starts with immigration. Immigration is, most often, a result of people attempting to seek a better life economically. Having come from a country usually ravaged by poverty or war or disease, immigrants tend to be poor themselves, and therefore are filtered into the working class/poor class of the country they’ve moved to. This situation, while comparatively better than the lives the immigrant’s have left behind, is still less than ideal. Crime rates and drug and alcohol abuse are still highest among the poor, no matter what the nation.

The issue with this (besides the rates of crime, drugs, and alcoholism) is that upper classes confuse the issues of crime and race. If the majority of crimes are committed by immigrants and minorities, then some will doubtlessly assume that immigrants and minorities are naturally indolent and/or criminally minded. Of course the reality of the situation is that crime rates are high among immigrants because immigrants generally live in abject poverty. With the evils of racial profiling and generalization, it becomes assumed that all immigrants and minorities are thieves and drug dealers, and therefore should be treated with suspicion or even open hostility. Inversely, this ill-treatment creates among immigrants and minorities feelings of animosity to the native majority. Racism, after all, works both ways.

So begins a cycle of abuse and distrust that only perpetuates racism. An innocent person (from a minority) locks himself out of his own car and is forced to break into it, only to be shot by the police who assume he’s a thief. In retaliation, a police officer (who had nothing to do with the shooting) is stabbed by an angry minority group. In response to this, a pair of children from a minority are beat up in school by their classmates- and so on and so forth in a long, tragic, and utterly pointless spiral.

In short, anywhere that there’s Capitalism, there’s classism, anywhere there’s classism, there’s poverty, anywhere there’s poverty, there’s crime which in turn leads inevitably to racism and bigotry. The only way to abolish racism is to abolish both poverty and the class system. Granted, some might argue that all that is needed is understanding and respect, but the fact remains that no matter how many murals are painted of people of all races holding hands around a globe, the poor are poor, the wealthy are wealthy, and the social divide spawns fear, crime, and racism.

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4 Responses to “Classism, Poverty, and Racism”


  1. 1 No Mercy
    December 13, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Can you point to a time in history where crime did not exist or a particular group of people lived under circumstances that are not ideal compared to circumstances of another group? No matter the system, man is a violent animal(as most species are in one way or another). Crimes will exist as long as there is life to offend and there is nothing you can do to alter that. How about instead of writing bullshit on your silly blog you get off your ass and try to help people(or at least stop wasting bandwidth with your mindless ranting)?

  2. 2 trotskyite
    December 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    So on one hand you saying (and I quote) “there is nothing you can do to alter that”, and a sentence later you suggest that I get off my ass and try to help people? Which one is it?

    And then of course there’s the issue that I may already be doing to help people- I doubt even the greatest psychologist on earth can discern what my daily actions are simply by glancing at my blog.

    Lastly, you’re right- crime is never going to leave humanity, but it can be combated. With a more equal society, crimes of necessity can be eliminated.

  3. December 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    This is a really, really old post, so it’s possible you have further developed your ideas on this, as well as other subjects, and conceivably changed them. My particular concern is with this remark: “If the majority of crimes are committed by immigrants and minorities…” Isn’t this rather presumptuous? Statistically speaking, the US is predominantly white, so it would stand to reason that most ‘crime’ (presumably defined as any violation of the criminal code, state or federal) would likely be committed by whites, not “immigrants and minorities,” just by virtue of the fact that whites are a good deal more numerous. I don’t intend to belabor the point too excessively, but to assert something like the foregoing statement would seem to be to unquestioningly accept what is essentially a right-wing talking point.

    • 4 trotskyite
      December 28, 2012 at 1:10 am

      Key word there is “If” (though yeah, I’d like to think I’ve developed some in the past years). We just gotta assume that the majority of true crimes aren’t being counted (exploitation, bribery, and so and so forth) and turn the right-wing assumption (which is just what it is- an assumption) inside out on its own. It’s an attack on the logical progress, not so much the actual facts of the matter, you know?


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