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Some links on race and class

Hey you all. Been a while eh? Work and school have pulled me under, so I am a bit busy. However, have a few links:

via: jhameia poor people aren’t supposed to want nice things

I don’t know if you guys received the memo; but poor people aren’t supposed to want nice things.

All rags-to-riches (or rags-to-bitches, if you want to get all Boondocks about it) stories start with people who are poor but industrious. Tales of kids eating cigarette ash sandwiches to survive. Tales of people saving mustard packets so they have food that stretches through the whole year. Bonus points if your parent proudly refuses government help, or if you suffer through and survive a vitamin deficiency. You’re a rock star if you live many years out on the streets and still pull down a 4.0+ GPA. You have done poverty correctly.MORE

nonstressed thoughts about eminem and rihanna

make what you will of the following.

* if you are going to say that the video “glamorizes” abuse/violence, you better have a better reason for saying that than the two lead actors are hot. news flash: workingclass/poor people can be and are hot.

* people in violent relationships have sex. and it is often really really fucking amazingly hot.MORE

What ghetto really means

A look at Urban Dictionary reveals the most popular definitions of “ghetto” invoke not only predominately black, poor, urban areas, but also ideas of “inferior quality.” (Or, specifically, the inferior quality of the culture of poor, black, urban folk.) One definition suggests the word means “jury-rigged” or “half-assed.” Another reads like a hackneyed bit from BET’s Comic View, describing “ghetto” as “Yelling at your boo in the middle of the street…Dressing for work like you are going to the club…Wearing house slippers outside the house…Flashing money you don’t have instead of making your money last…Running from the cops for no reseaon just to see if they can catch you” Some synonyms offered for “ghetto,” based on reader-submitted definitions: hood, black, gangsta, nigger, poor, nigga, rap, slang, cool, urban, thug, drugs, cheap, stupid, bitch, pimp, dirty, slut, ugly…

You get the picture, yes?

When Paris Hilton proclaimed a rusty, old truck “so ghetto” on an episode of The Simple Life, she was using language loaded with race and class-related meaning. So, too, was Mary Mitchell, an African American columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, who sparked controversy last month when she debuted a new term for bad parenting: “ghetto parenting.”MORE

New York and California back Jim Crow Era Farm Worker Laws


Two bills that would have given farmworkers the most basic of labor protections — overtime pay and one day of rest a week — were recently defeated in New York and California.

It was a disappointing series of events, and unfortunately, only the latest episode in over a century of our country’s shameful treatment of farmworkers.

Farmworker regulations have stayed stubbornly mired in the racism of the Jim Crow era for generations — decades in which black and brown farmworkers have toiled in the most backbreaking, low-paying jobs in America imaginable. Meanwhile, white farmers and politicians have consistently fought to keep those workers sweating in the fields seven days a week — for pay that would be illegally low for any other workers in this country.

This is history that’s rarely taught, so here’s a quick primer: In the 1930s, Southern politicians pushed President Roosevelt to modify New Deal legislation to exclude black farmworkers from basic wage and hour laws. Southern congressmen hoped to preserve the race-based plantation system while netting profits for their farm-owning friends. Accordingly, since 1938, farmworkers have been exempt from the overtime pay and days off that are enjoyed by literally every other worker in America.MORE

Sympathy Grifting, the intersection of race, gender and fraud

Kirilow is young, thin, sweet-faced and white: over the year that she convinced people to donate money to her cancer cause, she was given trips to Disneyworld and took a paradise trip to Australia; she is alternately described as an angel and a princess.

When I first saw this news case, I thought to myself (yes, rather cynically): there is no way that anyone other than a young, attractive, normative person could have pulled this off. If Kirilow had been—for example—fat, in her 30s, plain-looking and homeless, few would’ve given her the time of day. Much of Kirilow’s success seems attributed to the fact that she easily roused pity with her little lost girl story and her brave smile. Kirilow embodied a version of white womanhood that we want to believe in (or at least we’ve been socially conditioned to embrace it): pretty, plucky, determined, and in need of rescue.

Kirilow is a prime example of a sympathy grifter: a grifter who uses racist/sexist/classist/etc beliefs in their favor, to get money, affection and attention, or to (literally) get away with murder.MORE

The Right’s long racist history of calling Moms criminals (I am having trouble accessing this site, so can’t give a preview.)

BP dumping oil waste in communities of color, study finds I am having trouble accessing this site, so can’t give a preview)

HUD housing policy conference includes no affordable housing advocates

The Obama administration will prove that they have a plan to do something about the housing crisis by holding a housing conference next week, in DC. The event, called the “Conference on the Future of Housing Finance,” has been organized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department. Panelists include… well, a bunch of economists, finance industry representatives, bank officials, think tankers, and an academic or two. Not included: Any actual consumer advocates or community group representatives.

We’ve got PIMCO, Wells Fargo, the goddamn American Enterprise Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, Moody’s, and Bank of America. But:


“Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president, but it’s not good enough to be part of HUD and Treasury’s think tank on housing,” said [National Community Reinvestment Coalition] chief executive John Taylor, whose group works with hundreds of community organizations to promote access to financial services for low- and middle-income people.


Birthright citizenship is a thinly veiled attack on Immigrant mothers

This is also an ugly strategy fueled by sexism and racism. It taps into a long history of population control—government efforts to curb growth among disfavored populations. During slavery, the children slaveowners sired with their slaves were deemed slaves themselves who could be sold as chattel, thereby increasing the wealth of the owner rather than the size of his family. Chinese women in the 1800s were labeled prostitutes and denied visas to join their husbands who labored on our railroads. And black women, Native American women, and Latinas were routinely sterilized either without their knowledge or without their consent as recently as the 1970s.MORE

Women of color and welfare


Storming Ceasars Palace: How black mothers fought their own war on poverty

Thinking Class: Sketches from a cultural worker

Policing Race, Policing Gender, Policing Sex

Detroit: I do mind dying

Highway Robbery: Transportation racism and routes to equity

3 thoughts on “Some links on race and class”

  1. jenn says:

    Ugh. I got that acidic taste in the back of my throat looking at this one.

  2. John says:

    I cried, I really physically cried if only for a moment.

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