Updated: Sep 21, 2021
First let me start by making something very clear, In no way is this blogs intent to suggest that provocateurs of racism provoke and fan the flames of racism with the intent to destroy the middle class. What I am suggesting is that the gain that those people in power get from provoking racism makes the collateral damage inflicted on the middle class an acceptable loss.
The first and most important goal of people in positions of power, is to stay in power. With that in mind, this becomes the driving determinant of just about everything those in power do. The pinnacle of power in this country and probably the world is the position of the President of the United States. While I state this as an example it certainly holds true for any person in the position of power. The President of the United States from the moment he takes control of the position begins making decisions based on getting re-elected and not what's best for the country. Although we would hope that these two positions would line up, often times they don't. When they don't most often times the decision to stay in power takes precedent over what's best for the country. Take the healthcare debate for example. I doubt if anyone on either side of the table would tell you that everyone having healthcare insurance is what's in the overall best interest of the country. So ask yourself why is it then that our government has not been able to get it done? Well the simple answer is staying in power has taken precedent over what's best for the country. The Republican party base and large donors understand universal healthcare means higher taxes even though this higher tax on income would easily be offset by the amount saved in the healthcare plan many now have. So from this simple illustration, I only look to prove that decisions are not based on what's best but rather what keeps power in the hands of those wielding it.
The understanding that those in power ultimately seek to stay in power is the premise of my theory that racism is ultimately an assault on the middle class. While people of color are hurt and subjected to a unfair system that subsequently rips the thought of the "American Dream" right out from under them, it is the middle class that continues to work harder and pay the financial cost of a system of racial discrimination. This is possible through a coordinated and carefully executed coded language employed by politicians with the purpose of appealing to the racist beliefs that inherently exist in people raised in a racist society. Before you blow your stack let me explain what I mean. When I say racist beliefs are inherent in people raised in a racist society what I'm saying is that there is virtually no way to spend your entire life in a system of systemic racism and not have any of those images, sound bites or teachings influence your thinking. Since our thinking has already been corrupted by this onslaught of negative race teachings we become very susceptible to coded language that appeals to our feelings about race without actually being outed as having racist thoughts and or beliefs.
Racism and provocation of racist sentiment for the purpose of political gain has in fact led to the unsuspecting middle class voters whom are unaware of underlying racial feelings, to vote in a manner that causes harm to themselves by allowing the Republican party to enact policies that serve to enhance the wealth of the top one percent while holding stagnant the rest of the country. Lets look at some issues that directly effect the middle class in an effort to show that the perception of social issues and racial pandering is what Republican candidates have utilized to drive middle class voters away from what is in their best long term interests.
Deregulation of Wall Street and Banks. The last economic crisis was set in motion by little to no oversite of banks and other financial institutions. Who benefits from the deregulation of financial institutions, duh, the bank owners. The common man or middle class if you will, depends on the regulation to provide a safety net for their money in those institutions. Who supports deregulation of financial institutions? Republicans.
Republicans since the Regan era have prioritized tax cuts to billionaires and multimillionaires the thinking is quite simple, let the wealthiest among us pay less in taxes and have less money for social security, medicare, education and other social services. The theory of trickle down economics has been proven to be false. The income inequality gap almost always grows under Republican administrations and falls during Democratic administrations. The middle class is never served by Republican tax cuts aimed at corporations and the top 1 percent.
Which party is actively working and consistently proposing cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare to bridge the gap of income loss because of tax revenue loss because of tax cuts for the wealthy.? Yup, you guessed it, those good ole boys of the republican party. Who is hurt by defunding of those social programs? Yes you guessed it the middle class.
What does a conservative supreme court justice mean for the middle class? He or she is a judge that will empower corporations to weaken unions, pollute the earth, abuse workers, pay workers poorly and roll back employee rights. These judges have consistently upheld corporations rights to inflict societal harms through under-regulated operations and not be held responsible. Who appoints these judges? Republicans.
Which party vowed to "Do Away With The Affordable Care Act"? Republicans. When they saw that they were unable to do away with it they changed course, weakened it and drove up the cost of health insurance. Who is adversely effected by higher costs of insurance? Yup, the middle class.
Which party consistently votes to reduce the minimum wage? Again, Republicans. Republicans have made it their goal to constrict social safety nets, cut funding of services for programs that benefit the middle class, and the whole time convincing the middle class to vote for them. How is it that voters of the middle and lower social economic level consistently vote against programs that provide a safety net for those that need it most? Simply put the Republican party has realized the truth in the statement of President Lyndon B. Johnson he said and I quote, “If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.” The Republican party has the middle class looking down when in fact they should be looking up. What type of system enables a school teacher to pay more in taxes then a billionaire. Don't know how this slight of hand is actually pulled off. I'm glad you asked.
The Republican party has built a tradition on putting a fancy label & bow on a turd. They have mastered repackaging white American racist beliefs and giving them cover rather then helping them to uncover and address them. I do believe that most white Americans are good people and if allowed to uncover their racist beliefs would in fact work to understand and dismantle them. However, the Republican party has staked their entire political future on being able to give cover for those feelings and beliefs because remember early on I told you obtaining and keeping power was the goal and what ever damage incurred is acceptable. Promoting racist beliefs instead on working to dismantle them is what keeps power in the hands of those looking to keep it. It keeps well intended citizens looking left, right and down for answers to societal problems but never thinking to look up.
The Republican party has in fact convinced middle class white Americans that the issues they face can be found and remedied by "effectively dealing with minorities". This works like this: President Trump makes the argument that he is the "Law & Order Candidate" he threatens that Biden will allow crime to move in next door in your suburban neighborhoods, he then shows you violent riots happening in the streets. All the time railing against Black Lives Matter protests. He has campaigned on building a great wall to keep illegals out, and of course his slogan Make America Great Again. The white voter that he is specifically talking to that is probably not aware, or in denial of their racism (due in large part to the stigma and wildly exaggerated societal depiction of what a racist somehow looks like) hears the intended coded language.
Law & Order: Who could ever argue against Law & Order. Of course we all want to be safe from crime. Locking up criminals and keeping them off the streets should probably be on the top priority list of any developed society. But what does Law & Order actually mean? Law and Order calls on more stringent policing policies, harsher sentences, and less oversite of already under scrutinized police departments. Since the face of crime in this country has already been cemented in the mind of the middle class as Blacks and Latinos, what it says to the middle class white voter is, your going to keep me safe from Blacks and Latinos committing crimes against me. When the reality suggests white middle class voters are not at risk from crimes committed against them from Blacks or Latinos. So in essence society has convinced you to fear that which in reality is not a threat or risk to you. It has provided you a face to associate with that unrealistic fear, and has used that to get you to vote against your best interests by convincing you that somehow you are benefited by a criminal justice system that is set up to disproportionately incarcerate minorities.
Infestation of Crime in the Suburbs: For a background on this subject check out this article from Politico https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/23/trumplow-income-housing-suburbs-400155 This article basically outlines how the President is praying on racist beliefs to make you afraid of a policy he once supported. But as he has found himself behind in polls he has had to make a full scale pitch to appeal to middle Americas racist beliefs in an effort to retain power. So he has made the pitch that Joe Biden is for placing low income housing in the suburbs. This is precisely the racial Dog Whistle I'm referring to. Without making any mention of race the President of the United States is making a strong play at middle class whites racist beliefs. Putting the face of his democratic challenger on an attack on the suburbs. He understands that low income is associated with high crime, middle class Americans associate high crime with urban ghettos and urban ghettos are associated with Blacks. This is the key to Dog Whistle Politics, note, race is never mentioned but he is successful in stoking racial feelings in an attempt to keep power. This is a very strong play to keep power at the expense of the greater good of the society.
It is my contention that society is much better served by acknowledgement and confrontation of our racist sentiment. It is through this that we can foster true change and not just rebranding of racism. Those in a position of power are much more interested in keeping power and are willing to exploit and even in extreme cases promote racism rather then making society better and learn from our history that rebranding and retooling of racism is but a band aid on a gaping wound. Remember those in power are not interested in helping to solve the problem but only in exploiting it when the need is there.