Diane Fung – Class Genocide is Among Us?

In English I had to read an excerpt from a book called Where We Stand: Class Matters by Bellhooks. She explains heavy classism in her life. Being a person of color living in the wealthy neighborhood of Greenwich Village, she often gets questioned, “Which family are you looking after?” etc. This typical example illustrates the ideas of prejudice towards people of color. Bell Hooks describes different classes leading different lives and how it ultimately affects us in a systemic way that will sooner or later cause us to be victims of class genocide. The rich is getting richer and the poor is continually stumbling. Both classes are entirely isolated but in a microscopic sense, you see that it is not so rainbows and butterflies. When Bell hooks speaks upon class, she initially talks about classism among the rich and the poor but later goes in depth about race, the white rich/poor and the black rich/poor.

I agree that class genocide is upon us. Gated communities have separate meanings. The poor are sheltered from adequate essentials and the rich are set apart in their more than enough, sufficient and capable lives. There are a few truths that are sometimes hard to stomach for the middle class, though. They tend to ignore the poor and praise the rich. This may be because the middle class is actually closer to the thin line between middle class and lower class than some might like to think. Bell hooks speaks upon the past of some affluent neighborhoods that used to be dirt poor with starving artists and how we are so quick to forget the upbringing of it all. In their defense, who wants to be? associated with poor aspects? It isn’t a middle class responsibility to look out for the poor. I’m not against helping those in need, but only do so when you have completely helped yourself. It would be illogical to provide for others when you cannot spare some yourself, the middle class.

“The white poor blend in, the black poor stand out.” This specific quote resonated with me because I agree with this in its entirety. We are taught as a society that “whiteness” is the norm and that everything else is a specification. If you see a white person, they are just a person. If you see a black person, they are specifically a black person. So when we see a white homeless person, they are just homeless. A black homeless person has many labels that might come along such as being “crazy.” It reminds me of something I once read about white people being offended when you call them a white person because they are so used to just being a person. The “otherness,” the poor black, has strings attached to their daily lives and it has always been this way since the beginning of American culture.

Does the rest of you believe this to be true? That class genocide is among us in the very near future? What do you think about the things that we can do to prevent this? Feedback on my thoughts as well. If you believe me to be wrong, please explain! Thank you.

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