By Josiah James Ingalls Race prevents us from solving Class, Class prevents us from solving Race. The racialists want to solve race-based poverty first, but sadly there will never be enough people to make race based poverty solutions work from the start. There are a lot of poor whites who resent poor urban minorities for “skipping the line” to get help. So they basically want nobody to get help and in many cases end up despising and even hating minorities for this perceived unfair advantage. Therefore one must conclude that putting race-based poverty first creates and perpetuates racial discrimination from one generation to the next. This begs the question, If the primary method our society is using to fight racial discrimination does not work, then what will? It is like trying to solve the question of the chicken and the egg. Many people believe it’s impossible to answer but I believe it can be, by tackling it from a reverse engineering approach. Instead of asking how we fix racial discrimination, we must ask how racial discrimination is created in the first place.
I would love to solve racial discrimination, and I would love to solve poverty. I have spent thousands of hours contemplating these two problems. And I have found that racial discrimination cannot be fixed unless you solve its root cause. So let’s break it down to its fundamental elements by looking at context. What effects has racism and racial discrimination had on the USA?
The Roots of American Racism History shows that racism has not always been a cornerstone of government policy or social customs. The Greeks and Romans of the ancient world did not seem to give much weight to skin color. The Greeks respected the dark-skinned Ethiopians who came to Troy’s side during the Trojan War, and they pioneered the concept of Xenia, the showing of hospitality and generosity toward foreigners of any color. For their part, the Romans had at least three dark-skinned or black emperors - Septimius, Caracalla and Juba. The Romans (along with the Greeks) acquired slaves without regard to skin tones – strength, skill, and knowledge were what they looked for. Overall, Rome’s social and belief systems were unbiased with regard to race or origin; belonging and advancement had little to do with blood or soil.
Actually, racism in Western countries appears to be a byproduct of European exploration and colonization in the 1500s and beyond. Explorers who figured out the way to get spices and other Asian luxuries dreamed of the great fortunes that awaited them. Merchants went weak at the knees realizing the riches they could claim by growing cotton, tobacco, coffee and other highly desired commodities on newly discovered soil in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Kings and queens salivated at the taxes they could levy on trades, and ambitious soldiers lusted after the treasures they could steal from indigenous populations.
These fortune hunters found only one serious obstacle to their golden dreams: the lack of labor. All of the sources of wealth required map-makers, lenders, shipwrights, sailors, farmers, pickers, bookkeepers, military men, miners and mule drivers to reach, grow and extract the goods. European workers were reluctant to leave their ancestral homes and risk death in far-away places; indentured servants could be hired but tended to run away at the first opportunity; transported convicts were more likely to steal and kill than meet their production quotas.
The only solution, it seemed, was to buy strong workers and use them as beasts of burden. They couldn’t be other Europeans, because their kings and churches would object; they couldn’t be Middle Easterners, East Asians or Asian Indians, because those people had good weapons and knew how to use them. But the non-technical populations in Africa and the Americas, whipped into servitude and broken in spirit, proved to be up to the task.
The only remaining problem was the unsettling feeling among many that enslaving other human beings was somehow immoral. This challenge was addressed by claiming that dark-skinned people were inferior, not really people at all, lacking good sense, moral decency and foresight, sons and daughters of the bible’s accursed Ham, born to slavery and liking it − after they’d had enough beatings. Such creatures couldn’t have feelings and thoughts like white people – or so it was thought.
Most racism in America has been dispensed by Caucasian residents, although distinct white nationalities (such as Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles and even Germans) have taken their turn at the national whipping post. Still, most white-originated racism has focused on people of color, especially Native Americans, African Americans, East Asians, South Asians and Southeast Asians.
Native Americans were the first New World people to feel the sting of white prejudice. Their numbers declined from an estimated 60 million before Columbus landed in 1492 to 6 million by 1600 – the result of disease, enslavement and wars over land and resources. Meanwhile, white settlers and their descendants grew from about 100 people in 1607 (the year Jamestown, VA was founded) to an estimated 3 million in 1780. These population trends obviously did not favor the aboriginal inhabitants of America.
Of similar misfortune were African people, of whom approximately 12.5 million were transported to the Americas as slaves between 1500 and 1866. The crimes committed against black people during slavery and later Jim Crow have been extensively documented, so we won’t discuss that history here.
The continuing existence of racism creates a huge social disadvantage for the people who are its targets. However, racial prejudice and social disadvantage are not isolated problems, but instead are rooted in America’s Class System. The Class System, protected by the 1%, combines racism and race-based social disadvantage with cutthroat capitalism and economic disadvantage, using these elements as tools to keep the American people divided and so preserve their control over our country and much of the rest of the world.
The American Class System Racism and social disadvantage cannot be solved without our understanding the roles played by Class and its derivative, economic disadvantage. Any attempt to fix social disadvantage to solve the problems of race and class is like treating a symptom instead of the disease that causes it. It’s like applying a Band-Aid to an infected cut that will be worsened when the bandage is torn off.
Apologists for U.S. capitalism have spent a lot of energy denying that classes exist in America, but the fact that they do is apparent to even a casual observer. Opinions differ about the number of classes that exist in our system, but the consensus among economists generally centers on six or so classes. These include:
1. Top and Out-of-Sight (The 1%): These are people with immense wealth who live in private luxury and do not interact socially with other classes. Their mansions are situated far from public roads behind high walls, and so they are literally out-of-sight. They sail the world in luxury yachts the size of football fields, and buy small islands where they spend vacations. They sometimes run for public office, but generally prefer to buy political influence whenever they need it.
2. Traditional Upper Class: These citizens live on inherited wealth, do little creative work or analytical thinking, and rely on tradition when making choices. You can find their parents, grandparents or ancestors in history books, with names like Carnegie, Kennedy, Koch, Lauren, Mellon, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Walton. They avoid mingling with the middle classes.
3. Upper Middle Class. Members of this class are financially successful through their own work, as with movie stars and successful entrepreneurs. They also include lawyers, physicians, dentists, engineers, architects, high-ranking educators and top civil service executives. Except for professional duties, they seldom associate with the classes beneath them. 4. Middle Class. These are administrative assistants, teachers, social workers, IT programmers, junior bankers, teachers, store managers, etc. Some come from decent schools, but many hold low-value degrees from online colleges. Members of this class are under pressure and drifting toward the bottom classes.
5. Working Class. These individuals include white collar workers (medical assistants, payroll clerks, civil servants, store managers, etc.) with lesser skills compared to those in the Middle Class. They also include non-unionized people who work with their hands, such as landscapers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, truckers, mechanics, window washers, sanitation workers, and many others. They do society’s essential grunt work, but have little opportunity to rise into the higher-paying classes.
6. Bottom and Out-of-Sight. These folks have almost no capital or income, and tend to have poor family relationships. Hidden by walls and natural barriers, they include prison inmates, institutionalized people, the homeless, disabled persons, undocumented immigrants, and other marginalized human beings who are persecuted or ignored. However, they are important tools that the upper classes can point to when reminding the middle and working classes to behave themselves, less they suffer the same bleak fate as the bottom-dwellers.
The American people are used to hearing that our economic system is flexible, that any person can rise as high as they want with enough grit, hard work, charm and persistence. But increasingly, Americans are realizing this story is anything but true. Even though a few of us will win the lottery and others will be discovered and launched into stardom, the fact is that most of us have little chance of rising above the class we were born into. If your parents were day laborers, you’re likely to be the same. If they were teachers, you’ll probably be that or something similar. And if you come from the 1% or Upper Class, chances are your life will be more like a cakewalk than an assembly line.
For a non-governmental structured economic class system like ours, we must look deeper to find where the lines between classes are drawn. A good example is that in America, only the wealthy or the upper middle class can afford extensive dental care. And because of that, the vast majority of children in poverty will have bad teeth very early in life, and once their teeth have rotted enough to be noticeable, those children are pretty much doomed to a life of poverty. With a mouth full of bad or missing teeth, they are very unlikely to find a well-paying job that also comes with economic status.
Within our six classes, we see the same behavior patterns that exist in countries with a legally supported class structure, like in governments with traditional caste system. In both systems, people of a certain Class do not really engage with those of another class, unless that class is higher than the one they belong to. For example, in America the poverty people will strive to become working-class and part of their effort is to try to associate themselves with the Working Class. And likewise, Working Class members are likely to try to present themselves as worthy of being part of the Middle Class. But part of their effort also means they do not associate much with the poverty class because they don’t want to be seen as part of it, since they are striving to become Middle Class. And again we see the same behavior pattern in the Middle Class, which tries to associate with the top 20% because they are striving to be part of the upper classes, and likewise are not likely to spend much time with the Working Class other than what is necessary in their day-to-day lives - because they do not want to be classified as Working Class.
And moving on up, we see the exact same behavior pattern with the top 20% as they strive to associate with the 1% and avoid the Middle Class. That brings us all the way up to the top with the 1%. The 1% absolutely does not associate with the Bottom Class, Working Class or Middle Class. They will tolerate the top 20% class because they have to in order to conduct business.
Also, the 1% will not attempt to raise the stature of the poverty class, because their existence is useful in for getting all the other classes to do their bidding, and so maintain themselves at the apex of the economic class pyramid. From there, the 1% can point to the Bottom Class and tell the others, “You don’t want to be one of them, so do as you’re told, do as we say, and you’ll have a chance at rising up to the next class.”
Truth is, the ability to rise from one class to another is extremely low. But there’s still a chance it may happen, and it’s important to the 1% make sure that hope exists, because the system only works if people can hope to rise into the next class. But most people around the world have yet to decide that their economic class is a prison they’ll die in, because the class system is designed to make it nearly impossible for anyone with lower status to reach the top of the pyramid. The 1% will not tolerate any competition from below, and they must have lower classes that they can control with their money and power.
Now in order to reach our end goal of reverse engineering Race and Class to find their common origin, we must establish how there two forces differ and how they are the same. We’ll start with how they differ. Many people would point to governments with legally protected caste system as evidence that class need not produce racial discrimination, and so Race and Class are not related. Others would argue that racial discrimination determines the economic class of a minority person. I would like to think they are right, but unfortunately the race-based poverty-first method proves they are not, because it were so, we would’ve solved this problem already with all of the money, manpower and effort that has been put into this method of solving racism. This proves to me that racial discrimination toward minority people does not determine their class, but instead the opposite is true: class produces racial discrimination.
In order to prove my point we must now discuss how race and class are the same. In doing so we must look at the cause and effect of racism, along with the cause and effect of economic class. Almost all minorities will agree that racial discrimination is a tool used by the elite and powerful to suppress and control them, and to treat them like a resource to be used up and discarded in the name of profits and power. Likewise, people on the lowest economic levels will say that class discrimination is a tool used by the elite and powerful to suppress and control them and to treat them like a resource to be used up and discarded in the pursuit of profits and power. Clearly, Race and Class are both symptoms of a greater problem – and we must solve this bigger problem to subdue the subordinate issues of Race and Class.
The problem is this: greed for power. Power is the ultimate commodity, because with enough of it you can take whatever you want, use whomever you want, and satisfy your highest ideals and basest desires. Having absolute power is the closest that humans can come to being gods. Small wonder that the acquisition of power is so compelling, greater even than the love for money, because money is only a medium for passing around power.
The 1% knows this, they guard this information jealously, and they use Race and Class to divide and control the rest of us. They need a pyramid of classes with progressively diminishing rights, privileges and opportunities, so they can make those treasures artificially scarce and suppress our resentment by causing us to resent each other.
So there we have it: humanity is an oppressed species, controlled and exploited by a tiny minority of ravenous psychopaths. We have suffered long and are suffering still under their tyranny. But now that we know our situation, we can turn it around by uniting to save ourselves, our only help, and our planet, our only home.
But once united, what should we do? I’d like to offer six declarations as our fundamental goals:
1 We demand a guaranteed protectable right to vote, because those who have the say make the rules and therefore control and distribute the power. This absolute right to vote would include all persons asking for a ballot, including prison inmates, undocumented immigrants, election day registrants and people under 18 years of age. No person shall be denied their fundamental right to vote for any reason. Otherwise, you buy into the 1%’s conviction that it’s appropriate for some people to control many.
2 We demand a guaranteed basic income for all, so that every person has enough money to buy the necessities of life – including food, clothing and small comforts.
3 We must have a guaranteed, protectable right to housing. Having a place to live and take shelter is fundamental to human dignity and survival.
4 We require a guaranteed, protectable right to healthcare, which includes dental care and mental health treatment.
5 We insist that the world’s highest income earners pay their fair share of taxes in the quest to relieve human suffering around the world.
6 We call for an end to religious rules, tribal codes, arcane customs and inhumane laws that allow one person to dominate or intimidate of injure another, particularly in matters involving spouses, domestic partners, parents and their children, siblings, and extended family relationships.
So here it is: a blueprint to fix the common source of most of our most serious problems. Now that you know what to do, stand with me and fight the 1%! Tell them “We are not your property, we are not your resource to be used up for power. We will no longer allow you to conquer and divide us with feuds over race, economics, religion, political affiliation or anything else. We declare an end to fighting each other over the scraps you throw to the ground. We take back the right to be free, to pursue happiness, to make choices for our own bodies, to love whom we please, to go wherever we will. You will control us no more!”
Stand with me to end unnecessary human suffering caused by power-greed and its tools of Race and Class. One person can’t do very much alone, but collectively we are more powerful than all the armies on this planet. If we bind together as one human race, we are unbeatable. Divided we suffer, together we can create a world where suffering is rare to nonexistent. To me, that is heaven and is worth sacrificing everything for and even dying for. It’s my dream that the humanity abiding in all of us will hear these words, and stand together against a common foe instead of applying Band-Aids that create more wounds.
You have probably heard the saying that the only way evil can triumph in this world is if good people do nothing. If you choose to do nothing, if you choose not to stand with me, will you be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you could have ended humanity’s endless suffering, if only you had fought when you had the chance?
If you don’t stand with me, can you tell your children and grandchildren that you could have helped humanity’s suffering, but instead you did nothing? For the sake of your dreams, for the love of your families, for the future of your children, for the survival of humanity, for the restoration of the earth – STAND WITH ME!
© By Josiah James Ingalls