Dear rich (mostly) white people (regardless of political affiliation)

We see through your pretense.

Your true feelings about us appear in your agents’ (police) use of lethal force against us, especially our brothers and sisters of color. We know they are your agents because these things never happen in your neighborhoods to you—only in ours to us.

And when we protest, you respond with military equipment and poison gas. You know, even when we do not, that we are your enemy.

You impose a system of exchange that systematically devalues us,[1] deprive us of opportunity to improve our lives,[2] and insist the market is a level playing field. You insist that your profits are more important than a living wage or health care.

You have your bunkers and you seek to colonize Mars and even the Moon, while the rest of us face existential threats, including climate change, nuclear materials, and technological threats, to our survival[3] on an increasingly depleted Earth. You aren’t building bunkers for us. We aren’t the ones who will benefit from your quest for immortality. We won’t be the ones who can afford to settle on other planets.

In some places, we don’t even have safe drinking water. In many places, we live with your toxic waste. You raise our rents, push us onto the streets, and expel our homeless encampments, but these villages re-form elsewhere, larger than before. Oh, and you protest that your taxes are too high.

You pretend and have indoctrinated many of us to believe all this is about merit when it is in fact about protecting your own positions in our society.[4] You are the ones who went to Ivy League schools and have access to social networks that you exclude us from.[5] Meanwhile, you deploy automation to deprive us of our means of supporting ourselves.

We have white people who are wondering what happened to their place in society[6] and people of color who have never really had one. All of us exist merely as means to your ends.

But you claim this system is for our benefit. Even as you are even more rapacious toward our brothers and sisters in other countries, you claim we benefit from lower prices that we still can’t afford to pay. You insist that no matter how little you pay us, we should be grateful for the crumbs off your table.

This is not a threat from me to you. It’s a simple fact, a warning: We see through your pretense. You should be wondering why we should care for your lives any more than you care for ours.

  1. [1]David Benfell, “They must pay,” Not Housebroken, February 21, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/02/21/they-must-pay/; Max Weber, “Class, Status, Party,” in Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings, ed. Charles Lemert, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010), 119-129.
  2. [2]Jay MacLeod, “Social Immobility in the Land of Opportunity,” Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality in the United States, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005), 22-26.
  3. [3]Julian Borger, “Doomsday clock stays at two minutes to midnight as crisis now ‘new abnormal,’” Guardian, January 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/doomsday-clock-2019-two-minutes-midnight-nuclear-war-new-abnormal
  4. [4]Christopher Hayes, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy (New York: Crown, 2012).; Thomas M. Shapiro, “Introduction,” in Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality in the United States, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 1-7.
  5. [5]G. William Domhoff, “The American Upper Class,” in Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality in the United States, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 156-164; C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956; repr., New York: Oxford University, 2000); Ralph H. Turner, “Sponsored and Contest Mobility and the School System,” in Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality in the United States, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 71-76.
  6. [6]Julia Belluz, “Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 charts,” Vox, March 23, 2017, http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/23/14988084/white-middle-class-dying-faster-explained-case-deaton; Andrew J. Cherlin, “Why Are White Death Rates Rising?” New York Times, February 22, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/22/opinion/why-are-white-death-rates-rising.html; Ross Douthat, “The Dying of the Whites,” New York Times, November 7, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/sunday/the-dying-of-the-whites.html; Gina Kolata, “Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds,” New York Times, November 2, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/health/death-rates-rising-for-middle-aged-white-americans-study-finds.html; Paul Krugman, “Heartland of Darkness,” New York Times, November 4, 2015, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/heartland-of-darkness/; Paul Krugman, “Despair, American Style,” New York Times, November 9, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/09/opinion/despair-american-style.html; Alana Semuels, “Is Economic Despair What’s Killing Middle-Aged White Americans?” CityLab, March 23, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/politics/2017/03/economic-despair-killing-middle-aged-white-americans/520554/; Josh Zumbrun, “The Economic Roots of the Climbing Death Rate for Middle-Aged Whites,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2015, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/11/03/the-economic-roots-of-the-climbing-death-rate-for-middle-aged-whites/

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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