The article discusses America’s current economy in which the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to grow. The article quotes a section of President Obama’s speech:
And so as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires. It was whether this country would admit all people who are willing to work hard regardless of race into the ranks of a middle-class life.
The test was not, and never has been, whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. It was whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many — for the black custodian and the white steelworker, the immigrant dishwasher and the Native American veteran. To win that battle, to answer that call — this remains our great unfinished business.
The author suggests that “the subtext of his argument: Class may be the new race.” How audacious and ignorant.
The issue is that as Black Americans continue to fight for equality and to protect their rights and (the few) privileges they have obtained, popular opinion continues to undercut the very present struggle with race relations. Class is not now nor will it ever be the new race. Race is the new race. Simply because our country has developed another major concern, does not mean that all the previous concerns are now null and void. America has a race problem AND an economic problem.
The economic problem does cross races and includes poor or lower class White people as well. The economic problem for Black people is a matter of race as well as a matter of the economic crisis. However, what Black people cannot afford to do is allow another movement to usurp the significance of racial prejudice, racial discrimination, and racial disenfranchisement.
Historically, Black people have had their concerns melted into some other issue that the country is more willing to deal with and when that problem has been addressed, America has shrugged it’s shoulders and become indifferent to the issues of race. This was one of the errors made in The Civil Rights Movement. The march on Washington attempted to appeal to the country for a broadly defined move of “justice.” In retrospect, the Civil Rights Act was passed, the Economic Opportunity Act was passed, and the Voting Rights Act was passed. Currently the Voting Rights Act has been revised to weaken its power. Various portions of the Civil Rights Act such as desegregation and employment discrimination have been and still are being thwarted as it relates to Black people. This is not said to devalue the accomplishments of the movement but to express the fact that a broad stroke cannot kill discrimination for everyone.
I am always disturbed to see the concerns of any minority group blended get her with the struggles of another minority group. We have seen this done when the movement for gay rights is likened to the struggle Black people make equality. The two are not the same. The struggles of any two minority groups are never the same. Discrimination is a nuanced thing in America and because of that the devil is in the details. There is no over-arching argument that can be used as an umbrella to address all minority concerns. Some might think this is divisive but it is not. The truth is we are divided. The details of our oppression create unique circumstances and obstacles; that isn’t division it’s specialization. The problem is not unifying all minorities in one movement. The problem is that none of us are able to unify with the 1% of this country that holds all the power, wealth, and influence. That is who we need to not be divided from. So we cannot allow ourselves to be grouped together or rather pitted against each other to fight for the crumbs of justice that America is willing to share. We need to be able to dine at the same table and partake of the entire feast (with all of its varied choices) that is offered to the privileged 1%.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man