Monday, October 09, 2006


We still hear about racism. Personally, I question if racism is the right word. Not that there's not plenty of prejudice out there. But I don't think it's about race.

It's about class. Or perceived class. Not that race, or more properly physical traits, isn't a factor. But only one factor. Not the only factor. Basically, many of us, we either don't like, or are uncomfortable with, those who are different than us. When it comes to differences of social classes, we may respond differently to that discomfort for those we see as above as than to those we see as below us. Deference perhaps to those above us, distain for those below us. Though the discomfort is there both directions.

But, see, we don't make those class judgements based purely on physical traits. Not that it's never a factor. Yes, it probably is, at least for some folks. However, I think it's extremely rare, in the U.S. today, for racial predudice to stand alone without other factors mixed in. If someone treats a poor black different than a rich or middle class black, then something besides racism is going on.

I think we would better be able to counter such predudice if we started calling it by a more accurate term; seeing it for what it is instead of oversimplifying and calling it racism. Call it class prejudice, or maybe classism. And, really, racial prejudice is only one example of the larger problem of predudice towards other social groups. A problem which we see all too much of. Including examples that aren't at all along racial lines.

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