Poor White Racism (a reply

Poor White Racism (a reply to A Question of Privilege)

In order to put and end to poor white racism, you have to understand the situation of poor whites. You do not learn how a gun works by inspecting bullet holes, you inspect the gun. The gun metaphor is very appropriate for poor white racism, because poor white racism is a mindless weapon. Someone else is pulling the trigger. (…)

This kind of racism is unique from the garden variety racism that is typical of, say, the middle class or upper classes (i.e. the kind of racism that has at least the potential to be remedied by the kind of therapy group work that people like Chris Crass devote all their time to). Garden variety racism comes from a presumed, mostly unconscious sense of superiority, which is reenforced by the dominant culture, of course. Even certain kinds of “anti-racism” are really just manifestations of this garden variety racism (i.e. “I’m such a big- hearted white boy for ‘helping’ those poor people of color”). (…)

Just as avoiding the issue of racism is a cop out, making semi-mystical claims that racism is an uncurable disease that we may never be rid of, is also a cop out, it allows people to relinquish their responisbility for stoping it, it also allows people in the white left to shirk the hard, ugly, unpleasant, and often unrewarding work of really trying to put an end to racism amongst white people in general. Racism, like rape, is fundamentally about power. Poor white racism is both a conscious and an unconscious false expression of power by a powerless group over an even more powerless group. (…)

Because the white left is largely middle class we end up with the spectacle of white suburban ARA youth fighting white working class skinheads. We have the oddity of having white activists dealing with thier own racism, or insisting that “everyone is oppressed”, but refusing to organize in poor white communities because those communities are racist and sexist.
Be sure to read the enlightening discussion that follows the article.

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