The Intersection of Racism and Poverty
Well, this year I am writing about Race Relation in 2016. Things are so messed up and you would think they would be getting better in 2016, but they are not.
I have learned that America is divided into many sections – often it’s black and white, however, there is a whole lotta gray too.
I also know that somethings are a matter race and somethings aren’t – sometimes it’s a matter of money. The intertwine of poverty and race is a long and twisted relationship which goes back as far as our history on this planet.
Really quick, slavery was both a racial issue and an economic one. White men, took Black people from their native land and brought them to America to do the work that they didn’t want to do, couldn’t physically do, and couldn’t afford to do. Slavery.
Fast forward to today in America, slavery is formally abolished but there is still racism and a class system – a divide between the haves and the have nots. For instance, a certain Presidential candidate, who will remain nameless because I am sick of hearing his name, has famously said he intends to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants from crossing over the America border from Mexico. Well, just who is going to build said wall? White people? Black people? Americans? Ha! Good luck with that. We couldn’t even build up Utah for the winter Olympics, we had to use illegal workers for that. We don’t even want to go to work in an office, let alone the hot sun! We are lazy and entitled and we think certain work is beneath us. We have gotten too wealthy and privileged!
Even the poorest amongst us have cable tv, a cellphone, a laptop. Although many poor people wear designer clothes and expensive name brands, sport jewelry and drive nice cars, we are still poor. I read recently that the average American cannot afford a $400 emergency without borrowing, pawning something or financing it! Wow! Yet during Christmas we hit the stores to buy any and all materialistic items that are on sale.
If you live in a poor city, like me, I live in Memphis, now don’t get me wrong, there is money here, it’s simply not shared evenly. It’s a fact that 50% of the children in Memphis live in poverty. Before cancelling school due to weather, our school board has to consider that most of the kids in the school system are food insecure and that means the school meal is their only meal of the day. Highly educated college graduates are faced with a life of warehouse labor, low wages or relocation, so we lose a lot of talented people because the economy is so bad. Crime is high. Lots of robberies. Lots of murders, when you are stressed and strapped for cash, life is more stressful. And that plays out in other cities too. Poverty sucks.
Anyone can be poor; Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and Asians, but statistically it hits the Black and Hispanic communities the hardest. They live in the worse neighborhoods, surrounded by violence and very little hope sometimes. Poor people don’t vote usually. Several reasons for that, some don’t know how – seriously, they have never been taught how to vote. Or, they don’t have polling stations or access to voting machines – also true. When you don’t vote your neighborhood becomes underserved. What that means is that the roads aren’t taken care of – pot holes. Your street lights aren’t replaced. Your mail comes…whenever. Crime goes up because those neighborhoods are no longer a priority. Property value goes down and now your home is underwater – meaning you will never get your value back.
This is the intersection of poverty and race but the best example I can give you today…ripped from the headlines is FLINT, MICHIGAN.
Warning profanity filled rant ahead…I apologize in advance.
How in the fuck does that happen in AMERICA today? In a country where people spend millions – hundreds of millions of dollars to become President of the United States – a job that pays $400,000 – does a community of people have to live and PAY for tainted water!? How in the hell is the Governor, Mayor and City Leaders not in jail!? And why did it take 2 years for the general public to be made aware of it? Two fucking years!
If you aren’t familiar with what’s happening to the underserved, mostly black, community of Flint, Michigan, then shame on you.
Over 2 years ago, it was decided that city of Flint would switch its drinking water supply to a cheaper source, a source that used lead pipes and a tainted water supply as its base. For whatever reason, it was decided that the lead based water would not represent a major health risk and so the project continued. Brown water and sickness ensued.
Once you get lead poisoning you don’t get rid of it – you have it forever. Little kids who drank the water and bathed in the water now have it and it effects their cognitive abilities, growth potential and physical fitness levels.
I donated some money to Flint, and a lot of others have too, because it’s really sad that this is happening in America – the greatest nation in the land, but you don’t hear the politicians who want to “make this country great again” talking about it all. It’s like it’s not even happening – BUT IT IS TOTALLY HAPPENING.
This is the intersection of race and poverty – a decision was made to pump corroded water into the system of poor people because they wouldn’t complain. No one would care. And thank God for social media or else nothing would have happened to help.
The city officials of Flint need to be prosecuted for their actions and failure in leadership – people’s lives are in danger – this is serious.
Would this happen in your neighborhood? Do you think this would happen in the Hamptons? How about Beverly Hills?
There are so many more intersections of race versus property, like why certain schools have Ipad and tablets and have been using them for years, where poorer schools don’t even have computers. Ever wonder why people move to the suburbs? To get away from violent, crime and rich people don’t commit violent crimes, usually, they commit white collar crimes – Bernie Madoff. The Pay Gap; White men and women make more than Black men and women and Hispanic men and women, this helps keep the cycle of poverty alive.
I want to make it clear that there are White communities that are underserved and overridden with crime as well. After living in Ohio and Iowa, I have met some very poor white people. Some of them drop out of school too. Some of them live in poverty too. Some of them commit crimes to survive too and it’s all because they are poor. And so no one cares about them either.