Every time someone challenges society by pointing out white privilege, gender privilege, cultural privilege or any other accepted hierarchy within privilege classes this tends to provoke anger from the privileged class. There is a reactionary attack against the messenger and anger to these cultural disparities being brought up. Some claim it is an attack on whites, others claim to point it out is an attack on their culture, religion or the patriarchy of some sort..
This should be of no surprise. The group who has the privilege will not wish to see that there may be oppression that has granted this privilege. To gain this superiority one must marginalize another thus this marginalization and oppression will flare up. Questioning the hierarchy within this will result in what brought it about. The privileged will justify their privilege often through the re-victimization of the oppressed. They will place the blame on the oppressed for being oppressed. It is true that many libertarians fall in with this category..
Normality is relative. Culture tends to create a egocentric perspective of the world that distorts perception of other cultures and people. To claim there is a norm is often to cling to the culture one has been raised in and conditioned to accept as the norm. The good clean christian white suburbia is often a place we see this..
If you drive to the suburbs of just about any U.S. city you can begin to see it. If you are living in a suburb you may have to leave the suburb to see how others live. In the suburban world we see many areas of privilege. The state subsidized sprawl in catering to the upper class and an upper middle class. With the social subsidies many of these people never challenge despite their rhetoric against the social subsidies for other cultural groups. They tend to attack things like taxation only when it benefits someone outside of their norm..
In the creation of their white suburban havens they have seen fit to allow other people groups into their presence only upon assimilation to their culture. If one wishes to partake in the great wealth they must leave behind their culture and submit to what the dominant race has deemed appropriate to be accepted in their circles. Often this leaves marginalized not with positions of power within these classes but in the lowest positions available..
I walked into a Panera Bread the other day while I was in the suburbs. I come from a neighborhood where many migrants and minorities own the businesses and hold power. Some may call it urban or inner-city. I walked into this Panera Bread in this white upper middle class neighborhood in Johnson County Kansas. The place was packed. There was not one person that was not white except for behind the counter. There behind the counter was an array of migrants and various brown people waiting on and serving the rich white people. Nobody seemed to be shocked or bothered by this. The only white person behind the counter working in the place was the white upper-middle class manager. As I watched the rich white man order about the poor brown people directing them to serve the rich white people I could not see how anyone in the United States could even begin to claim that we do not have a race problem in AmeriKKKa. I was relieved to make it back to the city where things went back to normal. No more black and brown servants waiting on the rich white man. I think I may have sworn off Panera Bread at this point..
It's not just in one chain Cafe, it is everywhere in the suburbs. The vast majority of minorities take the absolute lowest positions in their culture when they are present. Every so-often you will find a Black man (much more often than a black woman) who has made it in the white man's corporations. Most successful businesses I see ran by migrants or black people are isolated to the inner city. Why? I touched briefly on some of that in my article White Flight Levittown Suburban Segregation, and I will touch on more of it in the future..
For now I wish to get back to the concept of a cultural norm. People are blinded by their cultural norms and see them only as natural because it is an accepted way of life they have grown accustomed to. The rich white people in Panera Bread were not shocked that they were being served by underpaid minorities. They did not question for it is a cultural norm. They did not wonder what leads to this and they do not see it as unacceptable. If some did they most likely would turn to the rarely challenged initiation of state violence as a solution. As a part of their norm they see the United States as glorious and necessary acceptance of the lesser of two evils..
In this world it is common to oppose taxes based on the fact that some poor person in the city is somehow abusing them or oppressing them. This is all going back to the blame the victim talk I spoke of earlier necessary to maintain the superiority of their own people group. These people rarely if ever oppose taxation on the basis that taxation requires violence to obtain it. They continue to oppose taxation because it would benefit another person. The violence of the state is often praised in these areas. The Police are put on a pedestal in these areas. It is the police that keep the poor and brown in check, so they continue to perceive it as a necessity. Their news tells them how the poor and brown are a danger to them. They are told that the Muslim and the inner city black man are out to get them, and they fear this. They feed into the lies of migrants destroying the economy..
All of these ideas are subtly spoken of often if not explicitly stated. At times they realize there is a form of classism or racism so the answer to them is just to not mention it or mention the color of someones skin as if not speaking of the problem solves the problems..
We now turn our eyes to the city where I live and have lived. It is easy for me to point out the flaws of the suburbanite, for it is always easier to see the flaws in the ones who are not yourself. I grew up in Cleveland Ohio. Early in life I had a negative perspective of other white people and a negative perspective of suburbs. The rich were seen as pampered and weak. They were seen as fearful, and there were many common insults that came into play regarding the cultural norms of the white suburbanite. So, there is not a one way thing going on here, but I will always attempt to err on the side of the oppressed, poor or marginalized over those with power and privileged..
One of the norms I have seen is the rejection of Police within the city. There is a sentiment among many that the police are the villain. Those who are poor or in the city seem to see the negative of the state not in the paying for programs but in the guys with guns that are coming after them. In this respect I very much find that my norms are more affirmed within the culture of the city. So here we see how the virtues and horrors of the state are perceived drastically different between these cultures. The privileged shows love and devotion to the power of the state that the poor are often oppressed by..
Now back to the idea of norms. Which is the norm? What about the many migrant communities and other cultures and sub cultures within these cities?.
There is no answer or conclusion to this yet, I am working on part two of this which will hopefully be posted soon. There we will hopefully look at gender and religion in relation to all of this. And we will begin to challenge more acceptance of classism within the United States. Think of this as the introduction article to these topics.
Punk Johnny Cash is the Editor-in-Chief of the the anti-Authoritarian website Gonzo Times. Follow him on Twitter (here), and do checkout and subscribe to his site; it's well worth the read.