“Inequality hardens society into a class system … Inequality divides us from one another in schools, in neighborhoods, at work, on airplanes, in hospitals, in what we eat, in the condition of our bodies, in what we think, in our children’s futures, in how we die. Inequality makes it harder to imagine the lives of others.”
“You can’t talk about ending slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Studies by the Urban Institute and the US Treasury have both found that about half of the families who start in either the top or the bottom quintile of the income distribution are still there after a decade, and that only 3 to 6 percent rise from bottom to top or fall from top to bottom
All issues in society are determined, first and foremost, by have’s and have not’s. Inherited resources, wealth and power are the primary instigators and methods of social discrimination. These were also, historically, the first criteria discrimination was based on. The first forms of slavery, exploitation and oppression that man could capitalize on were based on these criteria.
All other forms of discrimination (ableism, gender preference, religion, ethnic background, race, sexual orientation, etc.) grew as artificial, complementary constructs to mask and maintain this bourgeois paradigm, and continue to allow “owners” to keep owning (That is, owning you and everything that you do) without being implicated in their morally defunct activities.
This isn’t to say that each and every person discriminated against on these supplementary criteria are not even greater victims that need even more love and support, or that they don’t have a greater amount of barriers to break through. They are absolutely getting fucked that much more (anecdotally and statistically) based on something they have no control over. These people, who are distinct and identifiable victims of cultural evolution, need networks where they can communicate their experiences and struggles.
Numbers don’t have feelings and feelings are not exercises in calculation and pragmatism. The least any privileged individual can do is recognize the difference between a quantitative debate about the deconstruction and appraisal of social issues and the qualification of a human being’s feelings concerning what hurts them most or how they feel betrayed by society. It’s crucial to see and know the difference when it’s presented to you. This was my fundamental bias and error, regretfully, and I feel the need to acknowledge this in my previous thoughts on discrimination, race, gender, difference, etc. It’s important to note, in this and most cases, that racism is ignorant, but ignorance is not racist. The crucial distinction being that someone holding an ignorant and/or biased stance can come to a new conclusion by assimilating new information.
You are in an implicit relationship with every person on this planet and this is no one’s choice. The least you could do is listen and share in a non-competitive manner. Shared experience is powerful, motivating and meaningful and the fundamental attribute of any movement. THERE IS ALWAYS COMMON GROUND. It’s simply a matter of bias and emphasis in its presentation from both parties.
What this statement aims to communicate, more than anything, is that discrimination is fundamentally based on a power struggle over scarce resources that started at the beginning of human history and evolved into a diverse and complicated form of control. No one can be equal as long as someone can profit off of a human being’s oppression in any form. It’s about what makes you the same as your friend, your neighbor, your countryman, your fellow earthling; the fact that you’re getting reamed by a guy who capitalizes on your differences, or your indifference.
What this isn’t about is guilt. What this isn’t about is difference. People love to talk about these things but that’s what screwed humanity up in the first place.
I will never feel guilty for something that I had no hand in creating or supporting. What I can do is treat everyone I meet with the same dignity and respect that I would want for myself. I can listen to everyones ideas, even if they aren’t the same as my own. How am I supposed to expect someone with the “wrong” ideas to change and listen to me, if I don’t give them the same respect in return? How is anything supposed to change if a first step is not taken?
I think any struggle between two sides ultimately boils down to communication. People begin to be so appalled as soon as something that conflicts with their beliefs is brought up in text or communication. I more than understand this emotion, but honestly, what could possibly come of ganging up on someone or distancing yourself from the human race?
I see people voicing their opinion all over the internet on a variety of subjects, but no one is truly listening. No one: meaning, the people it’s really intended for. The internet is a place that is very selfish and programmed for the user. It can be turned away from things the user does not like very quickly. So why would someone who does not agree with what you have to say, be listening to you?
I don’t know the answer to that question exactly, but I do think a good start is to treat all human beings the same way.