Racism and Economics

I’m back with another post, this time about the post-racial society. This comes from another Intelligence Squared podcast debating if we have achieved Martin Luther King’s ideal of an integrated society. After important events like Ferguson it’s important that we all listen to the debate like this.

The debate speaks for itself. I do have one point I want to make. It ties back to my previous post about money buying freedom.

Our laws have been, for the most part, crafted to treat people as equal under the law. This does not however address the feelings in the hearts and minds individual Americans. What’s happening now is that people use existing laws and prejudices to keep others down out of fear and hatred. Stand your ground laws, stop and frisk, welfare reform, etc were meant to address perceived problems but are used disproportionately against minorities.

The people who are being held down are simply asking for freedom, freedom that rich white males already have. Sure, a black man or woman can vote now, but can they get to the polling station safely? Can they get there without being called hateful slurs? Can they take the day off from work to do so? Will they have choices of candidates that represent them? Can they rely on their decision to help them survive and live another day?

When they are asked to be treated more fairly, to ask for more freedom from fear and oppression, those rich white males react out of fear for their own position and think they may lose freedom, so they use their power to hold down others. This is how it circles back to money. Instead of looking to help our fellow man and empower them positively, the white power structure fears change and resists and fights rather than sympathizing. There are numerous individuals who are rich and white and do not fear this and want to listen, but it’s the ones that don’t which hold society at large back and create the friction we continue to experience.

This fear then translates to hatred, a typical response. The hatred then manifests as racism, rationalizing excuses to attack the people asking for a fair shake rather than listening. Then it becomes deeply ingrained and individuals see it in their popular culture, and it gets everywhere. There is a point to be made that it’s not all about skin color, but that’s the end result. We have been trying very hard to fix the issue of money in this country, and it’s fear by those in power to give up their power and share it with everyone so that we can all have a proper taste of freedom.

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