…rs, and it’s not clear whether the pandemic is going to shift those hardened political fault lines. In the past few decades, many low-income whites have become allied with other whites, not with other poor people. “White workers with lower levels of education have fled in large numbers to the Republican Party and…
Once again, this has always been true. I am flummoxed by the statement ‘in the past few decades…” I have witnessed, more than three decades ago, working class white people talking about how all white people should be allies.
The Bacon Rebellion is only one example — perhaps one of the better-known ones — in which working class white people were specifically allied to wealthy white people centuries ago.
Creating this sort of atmosphere is Macchiavellian strategizing: in the context of white supremacy, it makes sense to ‘make your enemy your friend’ temporarily. Wealthy white people collectively behave this way — whether or not they are doing it consciously — because we exist in a white supremacist world in which the decisions are made on the basis of this toxic construct. Thus, in order to ‘win,’ the conquest inherent in white supremacy expresses itself as a form of group ‘splitting:’ that is, recruiting others to your ‘side’ and convincing them it is in their best interests. Robert Greene’s summary, The 48 Rules of Power, describes these tactics in simple form.
Many poor white people DECIDE to believe this; that is, they hold onto the hope that, if they support rich white people, they will one day have that same money and that same heavy foot on everybody else’s neck. That choice is hardly admirable, yet working class white people often make it, and then deny accountability for it. That rich demographic, on the other hand, has no plans whatsoever to hand anything over to anybody else; the tactic is about conquest — it is pure Macchiavellianism: how to recruit ‘soldiers’ to maintain their ease. Poor and working class people aren’t simply manipulated by this — they actively accept it. They choose their racial dominance over any sort of meritorious effort because at some level they understand that being white is extremely powerful because we are in a white supremacist society.
This indicates that the core of white supremacy still operates. Recruiting people one perceives as ‘outside’ one’s group — what wealthy whites often do with poor ones — is only about dominance. On an anecdotal note, I have heard the term ‘trailer trash’ out of the mouths of wealthy white people more than any other demographic. They toss the same superiority complex on poor whites as they do on everybody else.
There are poor and working class white people who understand this and who do not behave this way. Unfortunately, if they are not in the majority, POC’s are still vulnerable. More than half of white males and females voted for Trump; they chose their racial advantage over any truly meritorious system of equality. They chose to keep a heavy foot on the neck of POC’s which, as a reminder, comprises about 90% of the human race. This shouldn’t be pushed under the carpet and ignored: this is a choice that a MAJORITY of white people make for one purpose: to keep a heavy foot on my neck, and as a POC, it is obvious to me.
In order to move forward, race must be discussed in any context in which class is being discussed. If the majority of poor and working class white people still cling to their racial advantage, they are making a choice: they are choosing that racial advantage over any class distinctions, and this is a choice that they should examine.
Wealthy whites have recruited poor whites to serve their interests from the first minute that white supremacy was invented. White supremacy has one purpose: dominate others. It requires tactical maneuvers which appear to be nonviolent but which, ultimately, create violence and domination against POC. This is a choice that many white people make.
The tactic described has been used for centuries and is still being used because white supremacy works for rich white people AND ‘whiteness’ works for ALL white people. The underlying motive is to preserve one’s ease, regardless of the deleterious impact to the other 90% of the human race.