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Thu Nov 24, 2016, 07:02 PM

Martin Luther King On How Racism Is Used to Oppress Poor Whites - Still True Today

Much of the discussion in the MSM poses the presents the question of racial and gender equality as being mutually exclusive of reaching out to the white working class. Indeed, in an effort to avoid discussions of race, Trump's victory is portrayed as a triumph of populism even though his policies are extremely anti-poor and anti-working class. Tax cuts for the rich? School vouchers? Privatizing medicare?

So, do Democrats need a new paradigm? Do we need to walk away from fighting racism and sexism in an effort to reach out to the white working class? The answer is no. Democrats do not need a new paradigm. They just need to return to an old one.

Here is Martin Luther King's sermon explaining how racism and prejudice are used not only to oppress minorities, but to oppress and distract working class whites by giving them a scapegoat as the focus of their problems. To fight the racism and oppression being pushed by the right, we need to reach out and bear witness to the Republican base that notwithstanding the election of Donald Trump, their lot has not improved, but with huge tax cuts to the rich and cuts in benefits, their lives will suffer, and all Trump has given them is a scapegoat.


Now the other thing is, that it leads to tragic—and we've seen it happen so often—tragic race prejudice. Many who have written about this problem—Lillian Smith used to say it beautifully in some of her books. And she would say it to the point of getting men and women to see the source of the problem. Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first. (Make it plain, today, ‘cause I’m against it, so help me God) And they have said over and over again in ways that we see with our own eyes. In fact, not too long ago, a man down in Mississippi said that God was a charter member of the White Citizens Council. And so God being the charter member means that everybody who's in that has a kind of divinity, a kind of superiority. And think of what has happened in history as a result of this perverted use of the drum major instinct. It has led to the most tragic prejudice, the most tragic expressions of man's inhumanity to man.

The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it. And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. (laughter) You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."

Now that's a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can't hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out. (Amen)

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Reply Martin Luther King On How Racism Is Used to Oppress Poor Whites - Still True Today (Original post)
TomCADem Nov 2016 OP
TomCADem Nov 2016 #1

Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Fri Nov 25, 2016, 09:57 AM

1. Working Class White Issues and Social Justice Issues Re Sexism and Racism...

...are not mutually exclusive. To the contrary, they are inextricably intertwined.

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