As we go through another in a string of the rightfully unending conversations about race, I’d ask us not to forget what I see as the basic essential needs of us humans.
b) A means to support oneself.
c) Every other human concern.
Poverty affects both of those and through this individual’s perspective. What I see at work, in Eureka and Ferguson in 2014 and in Tunisia in January 2011 is relative poverty. What we see as a society in the after effects when security of person or of sustenance breaks down, what the society does is begin to categorize this in terms of ethnicity, race, religion etc.
It’s much simpler than that. It’s about wealth disparity and it’s a big, big, huge, big problem on which we see to be able to place the narratives that touch our emotions more satisfyingly. Not to mention very few people who are secure or are able to support themselves are as interested in the big, big, huge, big and growing problem of inequality.
The economy may be the way to win elections, stupid, but we need policies that begin to address the differences in wealth and income that undermine our national goal of equality of opportunity.
What I’m not saying…
That race doesn’t matter. It does, wealth inequality is inextricably linked to race in our country as a cursory review of our history would prove. But as instances of clear injustice based on the institutionalization of racial differences (as in Michael Brown’s death clearly demonstrates) or based on a largely racial homogeneous but bifurcated socio-economic differences (Tommy McClain), I hope we can begin to connect the common dots.
Above from Bill Moyers’ These Eight Charts Show Why Racial Equality Is a Myth in America.
And my continuing contribution to Occupy via Mother Jones…