classism sucks just as much as racism

so a couple local blogs wrote about the kkk cross in moraga yesterday. while they condem the racist action that took place, they themselves end up using offensive and ignorant classist terms.

crazy in suburbia, which is probably my favorite local blog, has a good article about it. good up until the second to last sentence where the author asks "So, are things really getting ugly out there, not just in the places you'd usually expect, but in so-called decent, respectable communities like Moraga, Pleasanton, and Concord?"

what kind of places would you usually expect these sorts of racist actions to take place? poor, rural towns in the mid-west?
maybe that isnt what she means. but that's what i read it as.

the other blog to write about the moraga kkk incident was east bay daze
There have been occasional sightings of the three-letter scrawl of toothless hillbillies in various parts of Moraga, usually left well after dark by kids with no real understanding of what the organization is or what it did.

But this was new, a fairly sophisticated rendering of the klan's "flaming cross" wrapped in t-shirts and the usual insignia (Q: Why do they call themselves the KKK? Answer: Because it's the only three letters of the alphabet they can remember)...

...No suspects, but you may want to look for a bunch of yayhoos in a car with "I'm A Rebel" license plates.
this kind of anti-rural sentiment is fairly ironic coming from people living in the suburbs. suburbs being looked down upon in a similar way by urban dwellers.
it also plays right into the stereotype people have of the bay area being elitist, pretentious and snotty.

classism is equally as offensive as racism. this idea that most racists are poor is an ignorant stereotype. it's a fact that capitalists would use racial divisions to stop union drives. when the working class is fighting each other, they wont notice how badly the rich are exploiting them.
racist institutions are not formed by poor people. institutions are formed by the rich and the powerful. it was not poor whites who created slavery, it was the rich who would make money from the slaves.
obviously this kkk cross put up in moraga was not placed there by some "toothless hillbilly" but by someone from moraga. someone who most likely has a lot of money and comes from a "respectable" background.
the idea that poor people are ignorant and stupid is just as offensive as the idea that black people all love watermelon.

if you are against racism, it is foolish to caricaturize racists. i'm sure there are plenty of poor, ignorant, rural racists. but im just as sure that there are plenty of well educated, well off, (sub)urban racists. to dismiss racists as "toothless hillbillies" allows us to ignore the racism that takes place around us. after all, if it's only toothless hillbillies that are racists, i dont have to worry about anything i or anyone i know does as being racist. the truth is, we must admit that racism exists here in our respectable suburban towns just as much as it does anywhere else.
these stereotypes also ignore the threat that racists do pose to society. there might be no reason to worry about toothless hillbillies. but the fact is, not all racists are stupid. some are very smart, charming and effective organizers, and the threat they pose should be taken seriously, not dismissed with some silly jokes about rednecks.

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