In "White like me: Moral Monday is a class struggle, not a racial one" [June 5], Dick Reavis offered a compelling story of interracial organizing throughout an ongoing civil rights struggle whose strength has grown, luckily, in recent months. The article's main argument, however, elided the intimate connection in the Southern United States between racial oppression and class oppression.
Class warfare as a part of racial oppression explains why most people who have the resources to demonstrate and be arrested happen to be white. White people are more likely to have free time and expendable income within a white supremacist society, and as a group are less likely to be affected by poverty. As activists, we cannot work for our mutual liberation before we recognize the entanglement of all forms of oppression.
Having grown up in a culture that has embraced an updated, neoliberal racism clothed in terms like "colorblindness" and "diversity," I find that the accusation of race treason is not one that resonates with me as a young person.
The Rev. William Barber has repeatedly emphasized the necessity that progressive movements foreground the voices and experiences of young people. Instead of accusations of being "race traitors," young progressive white people must address the ongoing betrayal of fellow human beings in which they are complicit when they do not actively seek to address and dismantle racial oppression.
I want to thank Dick Reavis for that most important reminder in his article "White like me."
Recently I was gifted with a boxed set of Martin Luther King speeches on CD. Listening to his masterful speeches at what proved to be the end of his life reminded me that his last march on Washington was not called the black people's march but the Poor People's Campaign. His eloquence and sadness soar in his speech as he reminds us that poor whites and blacks have much more in common than not.
It is an effective tool of the ruling class whenever we fuss with each other over racial and other differences, since then we are not looking at what they are truly up to. Deflection and disinformation distract us from the misery and economic looting that is being spread at epic rates.
It makes me think of that line from Frank Zappa's first album, circa 1965, which went, "I'm not black but there's a whole lot of times I wish I could say I'm not white." That was almost 50 years ago!
See you all at the next Moral Monday?
The oft-used phrase "radical Republicans" must call to mind that radical Republicans ended slavery in America more than a century ago. And nobody else.
The present-day Republicans remain loyal to that impulse to some extent. Of course, Thomas Jefferson had ended the income tax during his first term in office. I wish I could, but I don't admire the NAACP's efforts to exploit taxpayers by extorting payoffs from politicians to their voting bloc. I suppose they use their nonprofit status for political means without an IRS hitch. God knows they profess to be urgently pro-Democrat.
If the stated goal was mutual independence, great. If the means were voluntary, great. It is not a moral stance to force others to pay for one's pet projects and lifestyle wishes. Go raise money yourselves and do genuine good for a change.
The other side of Birmingham, Ala., politics is buses sent to the housing projects to ship "voters" to the polls with checklists and threats of eviction. Liberate that. If an enlightened NAACP joined the Tea Party, the nation would grow a better place for all. Maybe I have a Moravian bias for cooperative, independent life. So be it.