Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Is Post Racial really a codeword for "Class Based"
In the aftermath of the Professor Gates incident with the Cambridge, Mass. Police Department it appears that the many different interpretations, nuances, insinuations, and allusions are mostly viewed through the prism of race. I would like to toss unto that smoldering heap of incendiary discourse yet another untouchable topic in American society, and that is class. Some may believe that issues of class are simply issues utilized by Politicians while posturing on the campaign trail, and that in reality we Americans are free from the yoke of class. I would beg to differ and theorize that the true nature of class in the United States while at one point strictly being based on the category of race has now come to include many different categories with race being a player, but not the main player.
Hear me out, I know you are wondering where I am going with this. It is my belief that race was primarily used to scuttle any efforts to create a common bond between poor whites, and blacks in the earlier part of our nations history. In order to prevent large scale uprisings by poor whites, dissatisfied with their lot, a lower status had to be created in order to ameliorate those issues. African-Americans, or Blacks in the diaspora, where an easy foil.
Yet with concerted efforts African-Americans were able to gain access to the very institutions that once consigned them to the lower class. With that access African-Americans obtained many of the elite trappings, and so in 2009 we find ourselves with African-Americans being a part of many institutions that confer upon its members specific class or status. I provide this background to place the Gates incident in the proper context. As Bill Maher noted on last Friday's show, "Professor Gates acted like a rich white guy" in questioning the authority of someone he may have perceived as a lesser. Or at the very least an individual he felt should have accorded him the proper respect befitting a man of his status.
Now sit back for a moment, and let the last statement sink in, and then ask yourself "Where have I heard that before". I am fairly certain that those words are common to the elites when confronted with a situation they find unbecoming, or unworthy of any prolonged discussion. Perhaps Class is the new reality in Post Racial America.