Monday, June 1, 2020

It's not just race...

(Yeah, this is more an outline of an idea than a well structured essay...but it is what it is.)

Though race is a key component.

I ponder sometimes that the same institutions -- essentially elite universities, prep schools, and other organs of the professional/upper-middle-class -- that champion "diversity" do so essentially as just a new marketing spin on the same concepts laid out by Howard Zinn of keeping the poor and working class divided by race.

You see the protests today, and folks shouting about "People of Color" and injustice and all. Well, injustice isn't just by race.

One statistic I saw stated in a news article was shooting of unarmed persons by police in 2019 -- 19 whites, 9 blacks. Similar in ways to the death penalty where more whites are executed but blacks are so disproportionately to the ratio of 5 white : 1 black American.

But let's ponder class as well for a moment -- the 2020 200% of Poverty Level income for an individual is $25,000.

That's the 27% percentile for whites, 39% percentile for blacks.

39/27 = 1.44

If we assume a "natural" ratio of 5:1, 19 white deaths should be about 4 black deaths. But adjusted for the percentage of blacks living in povery above the percentage of whites, and if one assumes class is a driver of police shootings, you're now up to 6 black deaths.

I suspect if one was to find the numbers there are more thumbs on the scales -- being urban (and more likely to be in police encounters) and being young (and more likely to be in police encounters). Maybe that gets us up to 7. Maybe you're a bit more likely to see blacks being abused due to the urban skew, versus poor whites trending a bit more towards rural poverty. There are details I won't put online, but there are rural/suburban police stations serving areas of New England that today are whiter then they were before the Civil War which have a strong reputation of an unfair strong arm to the point I've known officers who've transferred do to it. Overwhelmingly it's not POC who are tripping down stairwells on the way to holding cells, it is poor whites. And I did say *unfair* strong arming -- sometimes young assholes don't need a complicated justice system so much as they need a slightly older asshole holding them immediately accountable.

This isn't to excuse bad police training and practices; it's not to excuse racism and less overt or concious prejudice that exists. It is to say part of the reason blacks are killed by the police at a higher ratio than their population would indicate has to do with issues linked strongly to class in addition to their race.

When the institutions of the elite -- and I suspect you'll find many of the national news anchors, editors, and staff of organizations like NPR or for-profit media; as well as many other organizations come from those elite channels -- are championing the causes of "people of color" I just have this nagging feeling if you started to peel apart the onion you would find many of the issues of keeping the working class and poor divided that elite institutions have created throughout our history. A scholarship given to a poor black kid is a scholarship taken away from a poor white kid, or even a middle class white kid -- and one made explicity on the basis of race. While good intentioned, even if many people can't articulate the sense of unfairness, it creates a similar dynamic to times when poor whites were made to be afraid that poor, free blacks would take their jobs away.

When folks question those who criticized Kaepernick for kneeling (which I always thought was actually a very *respectful* way to protest) then turning around and saying they support peaceful protestors, just not the rioters...they're absolutely right to call out the hypocrisy, but I suspect that hypocriscy is every bit a product of that same institutional divison of the working class at play.

Similar to school mascot controversies, you're going to get pushback when you call someone who is not conciously racist a racist. When you POCs proclaiming there's a new standard and that ole mascot was racist even if you didn't know it was racist, while products of elite and elite-ish institutions cheer them on, and it creates divides between working class folks whose economic interests would otherwise coincide...who does it benefit other than to keep those elite institutions in power and the working class voters divided?

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