PREACH! (or Race and Class in America)


Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO talking about racism in the context of this election. Just watch it.

This goes to a point that I don’t have time to talk about enough which I feel that a lot of people miss: a huge amount of the evil that is done and called racism is actually about class, rich people oppressing poor people and using any issue they can to keep people from recognizing that.

I feel like Race In America, as much as it shouldn’t be marginalized or ignored, is really a smoke screen for class warfare advocated for and perpetrated by people like the Republican party. I feel that the biggest differences are not between me and a black friend who grew up comfortable (aka rich in the eyes of 97% of the world), with two parents and access to education and resources, like me. I feel the gap is much greater between myself and someone who grew up in a much rougher situation, without all of those things and the outlook that arises out of that, whatever race they are.

Those gaps, the differences, are the cracks that racism grows in, along with the fear and resentment that arises when people fail to understand one another. When these differences are watered and fertilized and nursed and encouraged by people like Sarah Palin, trying to turn Barack into the ‘frightening other’ the ‘socialist’ the ‘muslim’ who ‘isn’t a real American’ all that she is trying to do is continue the familiar tactics of divide and conquer, to keep the have-nots at one another’s throats while the haves consolidate their wealth and power. The Republican’s are very, very explicit about this, with their policies of trickle down economics (table scraps anyone?) and belief that the free market will take care of everyone (everyone who matters anyway) and it is only through the use of things like racism that they are able to keep poor people divided enough to believe that someone like John McCain or Sarah Palin is on their side, one of them, with their best interests in mind.

We’re 32 hours out from the first polls closing. I’m confident but also deeply impatient. I was talking about some music business with someone on the phone last night and he said “We could meet Tuesday night?” I told him “I am not gonna be anywhere besides on the edge of my mom’s couch in front of the TV until Barack wins this fucking thing.”

It’s super-realness time America. God save us if he doesn’t win.


  1. amen…

    i’ve thought long and hard about race issues vs class issues in american (and even world) culture and have come to the same conclusion… its all about the have’s vs. have not’s.

  2. Race is a concept invented by the Belgians in 1837 to keep the Black Man down!!

    I mean, great post Matt.

    but prObama optimism wont mean sh%t unless we the people keep pushing. as you point out, class issues are deeply systemic & entrenched , not even a black superhero can chip away at that alone.

  3. Thanks for the comments and videos. A bit ago there was some research done in the US indicating that interracial marriage was much more common than interclass marriage. That seems right. I didn’t really have a sense of class (which I always saw linked more closely to race) apart from reading about it in books until I moved to NY and had my sense of whiteness fucked up for me again. I agree with Rupture’s comment above also. There is a lot of tension on the left and among radicals on the Obama issue. But even Chomsky said voting for Obama in a swing state isn’t evil. For those radicals (like Dead Prez apparently) who say fuck that, I would say a couple things. 1)voting for Obama (in a swing state at least) is not mutually exclusive to operating in radical politics outside the system. and 2). hooray! thankfully there are people calling his bullshit. Fuck Obama should be on the mind of all his supporters too. I find it weird that people are haughty and dismissive, as if there will ever be a candidate in our lifetime as “good” as Obama. The preconditions are too severe (christian, nationalist, imperialist are all requirements–now there is the possibility that one of the requirements, whiteness, is gone-thats a start). McKinney is a badass for sure, but sometimes I thin aren’t radicals more effective outside of entrenched power systems, indeed more powerful in ways? Maybe there is some kind of formula that can be calculated for this. But when Nader’s campaign put in an office in my neighborhood in Seattle in 2000, a slightly mixed but largely working class black neighborhood, I’ll let you imagine how popular it was with the people in the community. it seems like that kind of disconnect would have to addressed thoroughly before we see even the most remote chance of a viable third party.

  4. Hi guys,
    congratulations for having moved your asses to go to do the one choice that could change the world.
    Now, can you tell your superhero prez to go my mother’s country, to DR Congo, where the situation is shitty since end of cold war and the day father Bush decided he needn’t anymore Mobutu’s cash and protection against communism? Where international forces keep the local politic power weak to keep on spoiling diamonds and raw materials?
    Can you tell superprez to go to Africa to stop wars where the weapons used against population are mostly rape and machete?
    Can U tell him to use his army to stop wars where there is no oil , wars wich budget would be equivalent to 2 hours of war in Irak?
    Is barackracy good for the world, or only the US?
    Okay I let you party today but tomorrow back to the real business; back to the politricks!

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