Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thinking about racial language...

Recent-like, I had a chance to chat with some older citizens of Georgia, who talked about the changing demographics of Atlanta and the vicinity. None of these were racist. There were numerous races and creeds at the event in question, and all were friends and friendly neighbors, co-workers, and etc.

I did notice that an older generation of citizens had a strong tendency to use race as a convenient framing device to talk about the real issue: poverty and the culture of self-replicating poverty.

It is important to note that the historic events that fed much poverty in this region was rooted in racism. It is also important to note that talking about the problem in racial terms is counter-productive. Poor is poor is poor. White poor and black poor and Hispanic poor and Asian poor and Indian poor all face serious issues lie the lack of quality in many things:education, healthcare, food, and justice.

Framing this problem in terms of race only hinders our ability to tackle the true causes of poverty, by separating it from our own culture. You think your kids and grandkids couldn't possibly live exactly like that? Crazy. The system, at a certain level, creates a feedback loop of despair.

I wish we would stop framing the fight to end poverty and all the social injustice that come with it in terms of ethnicity.

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