Posted in reply to someone’s statement on Interdictor’s LJ. She said:

Honestly, I don’t think they’re suffering directly because of the earlier atrocities, I think it’s because they use the fact that they are black as a scapegoat, from dealing with real issues.
That’s just my humble opinion though…

I replied:

Imagine, if you will, that there is a game of monopoly going on. People have been playing for some time, and most of the properties are owned. Many of the players even have “gentlemen’s agreements” about reduced rents and other breaks if they land on each other’s properties. Then some new people get added to the game, but they have to start off new, with just a token and their initial $200. Do you think, short of some very lucky break like one of them landing on free parking, that any of those people have any chance of being competitive in that game? Do you think as a group that they will be able to achieve the levels that the original players did?

This is a very simplistic metaphor for the social conditions that most blacks face in today’s society. The Civil Rights movement finally made the legal playing field equal (they got their token, $200, and the opportunity to join the game), but that didn’t address the social inequalities that have become embedded in the very structures of our society. To a lesser extent, women face similar difficulties, but women are born into all different classes in our society, so whereas blacks have to deal with both racial and class issues, some women only have sexism issues to confront (and, of course, low-income black women have all three to contend with).

Look at the demographics of people in positions of power in politics, business and academia. They do not fit the demographics of our country, and the higher up into those echelons you go, the more they don’t reflect those demographics. That is a result of long-term racism, sexism and classism that are embedded into the structures of our society. When people in groups that have been discriminated against in the past point this out, they get accused of using that past discrimination as a scapegoat from dealing with real issues…but what they are pointing out *is* a real issue, with real quantifiable (if very uncomfortable) data to support it.

Unless you really believe that black people are somehow racially inferior than whites, or that women are inferior to men, or that poor people are inferior to rich people, then you need to start questioning what are the social structures that perpetuate these inequalities long after the legal inequalities have been addressed. Because as we see from who was left behind in NOLA, those inequalities are there.

edit: In my original post, I said that it was in reply to “some dumb person’s” statement, and she rightly called me out on being an ass, and on ruining my point by being an ass. So my apologies to foxsgurl and the rest of you. Turns out that I am the dumb person ;>

(hangs tails in shame)

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10 thoughts on “

  1. New entrants to Monopoly game

    “The Civil Rights movement finally made the legal playing field equal (they got their token, $200, and the opportunity to join the game), but that didn’t address the social inequalities that have become embedded in the very structures of our society. To a lesser extent, women face similar difficulties, but women are born into all different classes in our society, so whereas blacks have to deal with both racial and class issues, some women only have sexism issues to confront (and, of course, low-income black women have all three to contend with).”

    How do you explain the successes of the Latino and Vietnamese immigrants, among others, who arrive with barely a token into a nest of prejudice, but they succeed. Some manage to take the token and become wealthy. What is different about them? Why are they Horatio Algiers stories?

  2. Absolutely Brilliant essay!!! I am so sending this to my Hubby – economics and English major who does fundraising and membership development and grew-up in the projects. You are so right on!!

    Oh and there is a new book out called “Fox Makes Friends” and everytime I see it I think of you!!!

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