More racism among middle class people than poor or working class people..?
Ok, the title is meant to be provocative, but I’m not trolling. I think the media portrays racism in a dangerously misleading way in the US.
It’s always treated as a problem of bigotry among poor whites... especially in some “other” region.
I grew up in a “white trash” area (majority white, but nonwhite folks too) and people said a lot of racist things are there was certainly some ugliness and resentment that turned to bigotry and scapegoating. So you’d hear racial slurs a lot, but also people just talked a lot of crude shit in general. But pretty much everyone also knew and saw how cops treated young black folks and Latinos. Nobody liked the cops in general.
But then when I started working I realized that a lot of better-off people had horribly racist attitudes—but just didn’t use slurs and weren’t obvious about it. A good chunk of them were kinda liberal too and many believed they weren’t actually supporting racist policies or attitudes because they wouldn’t dare use a slur.
Even Trump supporters who were portrayed in the media as “salt of the earth” bigots, had a much higher median income than average voters who in turn have higher incomes on average than eligible non-voters. Like to the media someone who has a million dollar local contracting business or owns a print shop or something is “working class” because of cultural signals like t-shirts and baseball caps.
But then there’s the alt-right. Mostly recruiting college students, most active in California (also home to the largest number of organized hate groups). Most of their leaders are fairly well-off people with education and probably used to be college Libertarians. Going back in history, the NAZI brownshirts were middle class former low-ranking officers in the military and - again college students. They made arguments that Jews were unfairly using hidden connections to excel at small business or the professions... just like the alt-right claims affirmative action or women or whatever are unfairly taking “their spots”... as in their chant “the Jews won’t replace us”.
I think the media shows a shallow representation of racism based on Archie-bunker type stereotypes. Instead of speaking about racism structurally, they just moralistically hold their noses about poor whites using “crude” language. Some do, but generally folks are just more blunt about opinions compared to middle class people who tend to hide behind politeness.
I think this minimizes the harm and dangers of racism and also allows savvy white nationalists to get media attention as “provocative” or unconventional figures (rather than the racist nationalists they are) simply because the speakers don’t use crude language and are well educated or cultured.
Just posting it because I’m tired of hearing people in the Bay Area talk about racism as if it’s something outside or something that “uneducated poor whites” in other regions are wrapped up in. And I’m curious if other people who don’t have a middle class background experienced anything similar.