picture of white middle class family

White Middle Class Fatigue

As I watched the August 6, 2015, episode of DonnyBrook, the phrase, "white middle-class fatigue" was mentioned at about 2:30 in the timeline. Evidently, many people are tired of hearing about injustices, discrimination, and oppression endured by people of color. A quote by Barbara Smith – "For those of you who are tired of hearing about racism, imagine how much more tired we are constantly experiencing it", which summarizes how I felt when I heard the then unfamiliar phrase, white middle-class fatigue. 

It's foolish to let your oppressor tell you that you should forget about the oppression that they inflicted upon you. I am not indicting people for the sins or acts of their ancestors, but many people today benefit from those sins. Land that was stolen and wealth that was accumulated was passed down and provided advantages to succeeding generations of European Americans; while decimating native, enslaved and oppressed populations. See The Unequal Opportunity Race.

 

I assume white middle-class fatigue is one of the contributing factors why comments from Donald Trump stating he doesn't have the time to be politically correct resonates with so many people. White privilege allows Trump to make statements such as, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.….They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”  Many of the Mexicans crossing the borders are actually crossing land that had previous been stolen by the U.S. during the Mexican Session of 1848. 

 

So when Trump calls Mexicans crossing the border are mostly criminals, he should take a closer look at U.S. history and consider one of history's greatest land thefts of First Nation Peoples. This country was built on the theft of human lives, resources, and land. The success that our country enjoys today is based upon that theft. Trump's statements reminded me of an ad campaign about discrimination of another people native to their land which was stolen by new settlers. The subject of the ad campaign was discrimination of Australia's indigenous population, however, the theme could just as easily be applied to any group that is discriminated against. 

Political correctness is a term used to criticize language, actions, or policies seen as being excessively calculated to not offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society. When objectionable language is directed toward you, it is considered offensive, but when it's directed toward others, I guess that's when it's considered an issue of political correctness. 

Many people seem to think that the past has no effect upon the present or the future. The past is foundational and effects people and communities just as the quality of a building's foundation effects how well it endures over time. If a person's grandfather was relatively well off, not rich, but firmly part of the middle class, he most likely provided a decent education for his son and the son stood a good chance of going to college. That son would then most likely surpass his father in economic status and the grandchild would possibly get an even better education than both the parent and grandparent. In addition, when the grandparents and parents die, their accumulation of property passes down, enriching the grandson even more. Multiply this by 350 years of slavery, then by another 90 years of Jim Crow plus factor in the destruction of black wealth and discriminatory legislation and it's easy to see how white families are worth 20 times that of black families. A cartoon, "The Unequal Opportunity Race" does an excellent job of expressing this point.

 

Dr. Claud Anderson discusses the sentiments expressed by The Unequal Opportunity Race cartoon in his lecture, The Truth About Slavery.

It's unfortunate that when people who have been oppressed both socially and within statutory codes of law, that others feel fatigue by their efforts to secure better circumstances for themselves. 

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