The New American Caste System?

Poor is the new Black.

Now that I have your attention.  What do I mean by that?  America is a society where historically someone (or some group such as women) has to be “the lower caste”.  I have a feeling that the rising number of poor people in America just may become the new “Out” group.  By using the word “caste” I mean to put emphasis on the fact that in the near future people may not be able to raise themselves up out of poverty by their book straps, just as for generations many people in places like India have never escaped the stigma of the caste they were born into.  I wonder if we are seeing the foundations of a society where poor is the new untouchable.

Will race still be a factor in the way groups are divided up in the U.S.?  Sure, but let’s face it, my fellow Negroes.  Many of us are educated enough and make enough money were we don’t have to worry about the daily trials and tribulations faced by our fellow American who live below the poverty line.  Sure, there is still racism to content with.  But you cold, hard, green cash and plastic is accepted as widely as Visa most of the time.  Race is not the main qualifier in the American caste system these days.

However, I’m also not ignoring the fact that many blacks are in the ranks of the poor as well…every ethnic group is. White, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow…Technicolor…doesn’t matter.  If you don’t have money in America, you are in a really tight spot right now.

Ask someone who doesn’t have a job.  Ask a recent grad who’s been looking for work since January.  Ask a Baby Boomer who keeps being told they are over qualified, but they look in the interviewer’s eyes which seem to say, “You’re too old for us to take the chance that you’ll wreak havoc on our insurance policy and we already have too many folks on disability.”

I was just reading this morning that U.S. Income inequality is at its highest level since the Census started tracking it in 1967 (Gini Index).  The number of U.S. households getting food stamps increased by 2 million last year to 11.7 million.  This is the highest number on record.  That means 1 in 10 families are getting government aid to feed themselves.

If we keep going in this direction, how poor you are will determine your place in society more than how Black you are.  A caste system focused on economical attainment is not far-fetched.


Filed under african american, black, black men, black women, culture, opinion, race, society

22 Responses to The New American Caste System?

  1. i wrote a similar post to this effect years ago. i was a little more harsh, because it’s not just the economic angle that will make life for the poor suck. i mostly agree with you that brown and black people with money have less to worry about these days… but. who is confident that they will always have that job? if you are, you’re a pretty lucky minority (employment wise, that is) and you shouldn’t be too smug or get overconfident. i do a lot of reading and learning about econ, and the overall picture suggests things are going to get worse, perhaps much much worse, before that gets better. and it won’t only mean things like more people losing their homes. it will mean more people exposed to police brutality, which falls most heavily on the poor. it will mean more permanent unemployment for those out of the work for “too long.” it will mean a lower standard in health care and education, as communities fail to fund those things as they should be. yes, poor is the new Black. the scary thing to me is i really don’t know how we’ll reign in the overclass, who are quite neo-nazi in their stated goals. it’s one thing to be poor, it’s another thing to be jailed for it. that could happen here too.

  2. Marta

    Sista, you are more than right.
    The new caste system is about money, people care less about race nowadays.
    I am Puerto Rican, so do not really “fit” or “unfit” between African-americans or Whites. I am able to see the whole picture from outside.
    Educated whites (mostly wealthy) just want to be surrounded by educated people, they do not care what color they are; educated blacks feel the same.
    Uneducated people (blacks or whites) they just blame each other.
    Of course there are exceptions, but this is what America is turning into.

  3. SIND

    I agree with you, chicago dyke, about being over confident and smug. Anyone who is relying on a job could be the “new poor”. Income derived from employment is not wealth, it is income no matter the amount. As the government ceases to provide service to the poor, those holding jobs in that sector will be cut. The poor are not the only ones that benefit from services. Millions go to service providers. One example is foodstamps. If millions lose foodstamp benefits, grocery stores will lose billions of dollars, the food stamp office will lay-off workers and some may close. You are right about the neo-nazi attitude of the over-class, even those whose very incomes are derived from services they provide to the poor.

  4. Mike Hunt

    Will there be any point in the future where the negro community will stop trying to come up with different creative words to describe it’s plight and just “do” something about it? Sure there’s been some injustice in the past, and certainly that is wrong, buy you people are the only ones I know that have whole college degree programs dedicated to apologizing to you for slavery, Jim Crow, etc. Once you have one of these African American Studies “degrees”, you’ve not actually learned anything of use to anyone else that you can sell to improve your economic situation.

    Seriously, life isn’t fair. Deal with it. The reason whites have come farther than any other race in such a short time is they got off the boats 400 years ago and got to work. Yes, they had slaves helping with some simple tasks, buy everyone contributed and they built this great nation, for the most part, through the sweat and toil of the industrious, West European, white man.

    I probably don’t sound too PC here, but I have tremendous sympathy for the condition of the black community and want to see things improve. I just think it’s time to knock off all the whining and coddling and either get to work, or quit begging for handouts.

  5. Marta

    Mike Hunt, not all the negro community whine or beg for handouts!
    It is true that is about time to leave behind the slavery issue, after all every civilization or culture has had slaves (Romans did slave everybody and everyone out of the city of Rome, so did the Greeks, the Persians and the Vikings)

    I cannot blame my white side of the family for slaving my black side of the family, due to slavery my ancestors came to Puerto Rico and mixed with the white Spaniards. But you have to keep something in mind: slavery lasted way too long in America, it was not until the 19th century that it was abolished, so it was not only the sweat and toil of industrious Western Europeans that built this country. It was the advantage of having slaves and not employees.
    I have nothing against Europeans, my grandma is a lovely European lady that moved to Puerto Rico from Spain 70 years ago.
    But you have to understand that the negros have started with a disadvantage, first slavery, then segregation. African Americans are a part of this country and their history somehow should be studied apart from the rest of immigrants that came over voluntarily, even as indentured servants. And any college education, will improve any community. Besides, not all graduating blacks have that degree
    Things will eventually improve for the black community, because time, I believe, will even out differences, just look at the Caribbean were slavery was abolished way earlier than in USA.
    If you really have deep sympathy for the black community, I suggest that you consider that many blacks also have sympathy for the white community and many of us have put behind slavery and are willing to embrace what America is: “a nation,under God with justice and freedom for all”

    • Maia

      Hold on a min. Your story sounds good and I’m in agreement with much of what you’re trying to say but your analysis does not have a built-in solution. Here is how I view the history of slavery in America apart from other histories in antiquity. Slavery in antiquity was not justified based on DNA/skin colors. secondly, at the end of the Civil War, slavery was declared illegal but the psychological damage from two or more centuries of the most brutal indoctrination practices known to human kind was unaddressed. There were no debriefing counselors standing by to give the “freedman” assistance. We were on our own. And, we still don’t know that we have the innate capacity and the power to go back to being WHO we were: Africans! And, then recreate ourselves from out native heritage. The indoctrination we received from the slave masters left us totally dependent on the “Lord”. We had nothing to sell in the market place! Therefore, Harvey B. Firestone took our rubber trees for two cents per acre and Starbucks took our coffees and sold it for two dollars and up per cup. Therefore, we have nothing of heritage to sell, no bragging rights for our children, no self-respect for ourselves and no admiration from others. I strongly recommend that we get up off of our knees, leave the “Lord” alone and put ourselves in the petri-dish for self-recreation. Now, I’m ready to take a mirror from anyone who would like to give it. Now, you may ask me any thing you wish about what I’ve just said but, I beg of you; please don’t ask me about what you feel about what I’ve said. If you agree, agree somewhat or disagree, I’m all ears. I love principled dialogue. Let’s talk by the rules of conversation.

  6. Mike Hunt

    It just seems to me that the only rational solution left is to divide the country geographically, and give the minority communities their first pick of land; and we whites will take the remainder. Share it out equally with no hard feelings, but this culture of whining and handouts is keeping the white man from evolving into the higher being he is supposed to bring about. Mixing races has been the ruin of every great civilization and we are arrogant to think we are somehow the exception to the rule.

  7. Marta

    Mixing races???

    I think you are wrong. All races are mixes, it does not exist a thing such as a pure race. (Check it out from a reliable source, such as the American Anthropological Association )
    Every single person is a mixed of races, whether you like it or not.
    And cultures not only have not been ruining by the mixes of races, but actually those historically thrived the most were the civilizations that spread and mixed, as Greece and Rome.
    Please, give an example of a “great civilization” that fell due to race mixing.
    By the way, I do not wish to divide the country and pick first, I rather live where I desire, neither do I live out of hand outs, I probably pay more taxes than you do. I could bet my soul on it.

    Please, do not forget to give an example of a great civilization falling due to “race mix”.

  8. Marta

    So sorry I wrote so badly on top.
    I meant mix of races, no “mixed of races”
    (Not only I am a “mix” but English is not my mother tongue)

  9. Mike Hunt

    Rome, Weimar Republic, US (as of 20th century), France and Germany (today due to Muslim fuxation)

  10. Marta

    First of all, neither France or Germany were a “civilization”. The Weimar Republic was actually a time period in Germany.

    Germany was not really a country until 1791!
    Germany was a cluster of tribes, “barbarians” as the Romans called them, Germany or parts of Germany had historically been under the Roman Empire, the Spanish Empire, etc

    The “golden years of Germay” were actually during the 19th century, and the reason why it fell was due to World Wars. So I can affirmatively say that the fall of Germany was due to its xenophobic and racist racial reasons. (Totally opposite to your racial mixing theory)
    France, very much the same…it was not a great civilization of its own, it was for centuries actually part of the greater civilization of all times: Rome.
    Neither France or Germany were”civilizations” but part of the Western Civilization.
    Great empires would be Spain and England.

    And the fall of Rome, I am going to try to be short and not overwhelm you (I just love Rome)
    The fall of Rome was basically due to the division of the Roman Empire after Emperor Teodosio’s death (he divided the Empire between his two sons) and the constant wars and invasions from the north and Central Asia ( barbarians, vandals, hunnis…)

    So, where do you actually get the idea of the racial mixing as the cause of this fall?
    Could you please refer me to some university scholar, so I could really enlighten myself a little more?
    (Please, not wikipedias or copy and paset from forums, just tell me the name of any scholar)

    Muchas gracias!

  11. wow

    Dear Marta,

    You blew me away with your intelligence! Mr.Hunt (terribly boorish nom de plume, btw) wrong-headed views on race and his sloppy definitions of civilisation and race mixing betray his lack of education–and his seething rage at being who he is.

    As one who lived in Germany, France, Spain and the U.S., I understand that race is not what brings down a civilisation; but racism will.

    It is clear that it won’t be race mixing that destroys our country; we are coming undone because of scared and angry people who would rather see our country destroyed, than to accept a president that doesn’t look like them.

  12. Mike Hunt

    A university scholar will not inform you; they indoctrinate you. Great peoples are not forged in classrooms, but in crucibles of blood and iron. So it was with whites, and so even with the Zulu nation of Africa, and other African powers for example.

    But it appears that, even given the previous offer of first choice of lands to blacks and other minorities, and last choice to whites, we still cannot reach agreement. There appears to be no way for peaceful whites, which most of us are, to politely separate ourselves from other peoples and to have others do so amicably. This selfish mentality of “I rather live where I desire” points to the fact that the future white nation must be separated by force and guarded by strength since it will obviously face the spite of infection from without.

  13. Marta

    The “future of the white nation”?
    I have only read that out of supremacists’ mouths and from low income whites.
    They are entitled to their opinion, but most of them are so uneducated that they do not even have an university tenure to “indocrinate” us.

    Based on your idea of “peoples forging out of the classrooms” next time I am sick I will not go to the doctor (MD) but I will visit somebody forged in “crucibles of blood and iron”. Do you personally know of any “traditional healers”, any witch? They are probably cheaper.
    First choice of land?? Land have never been “given” by choice, you could understand the meaning of territory and sovereignity through any International Public Law manual.

    My position of “I live where I desire” is not based on selfishness, is based on freedom.
    By the way, I do agree with you that most whites are peaceful, at least the whites I know (but of course they are educated, they would laugh at your theories)

    Another thing, the zulu nation, was not really
    advanced, you know why? because they were isolated, they did not mix like for example the Romans.
    And America, was never a “white nation” NEVER.
    Tell me a time when it was a white nation. NEVER.
    Not even the Scandinavian countries hace ever been a “white nation” they have skimos.
    And instead of separate your “white nation” by force, why don’t you move to some desertic continent like Antartic, they have no people there, if you move with your buddies, it will be a white nation.

    You should really consider moving out of my new country (so diversed and colorfull). You risk being infected by me, hahhahahahhahahahha

    • Maia

      These comments are generally higher in quality than on FB. So, I’m still here. I’d like to posit that language: word by word, line by line is the key. I am convinced that we could have a more perfect union of our racially divided nation if we erase the color lines. Why should we ID ourselves and each other by skin colors? Divisions by biological/physical conditions such as skin, eyes or hair color and texture is caste valuing, e.g., the “Untouchables” in India, which is worse than slavery: there is no way out legally or psychologically.

  14. Mike Hunt

    Just tell me which section of the nation you pick. You’re 13% of the population; you get 13% of the geography. If that happens to be where I live, I’ll move. I made a deal, and as a white man I’ll stand behind it honorably. There’s plenty of room on this continent for all of us; just not to live in mixed company. I think that’s been demonstrated quite clearly.

    To be fair, the Black Panthers demand living space for their people as well, so if you’re calling me ignorant, you may want to speak with the admin of this blog as well. I actually agree with a lot of the Panthers’ philosophy; we just have a different skin color. But we both want what’s best for our respective peoples and I don’t find fault with either group for wanting that.

    • Maia

      Mike: No need to remove yourself physically. Just drop the “I’m a white man” superiority sound bites and be a human being like everybody else (same thing to the “black” man & “black” woman & “People of color” B. S. When we drop the skin tags and replace them with cultural heritage tags, creativity will kick in and the options for survival will become unlimited. E.g. Starbucks selling varieties of coffee from around the world, e.g. Columbian, Kenyan, Ethiopian coffee sales. not black coffee or white coffee but ethnic, point of origin coffee. If we draw on heritage for creativity in the market place, there would be a whole lot more wealth in the communities and less nonsense about separate living quarters. Can you dig what I’m saying? Can you step out side the us whites and them black boxes for a minute?

  15. Mike Hunt

    Did not credit wow with proper attention. Now, shit is going to hit the fan in the next 2 years. Politics aside, it’s gonna happen. I am going to work to steel my people against turmoil; I suggest y’all do the same.

    Again, I have NO hatred for the Black Community, but WE’VE BOTH been fed a line of multiculturalist garbage that simply doesn’t work. You know, at this point, we need to be ready for what comes next. There is a war brewing, and Blacks have been ready for it since 1950 (or earlier); Whites are getting ready.

    Muslims and the Jew-league are looking to take over. Shall we hand them the keys to the Kingdom? (At least us Blacks and Whites slug out this business honestly, you know?)

  16. Marta

    Dear Wow thank you very much for your compliments, sometimes I feel I do not get my point across because English is not my mother tongue and I like to use my own thoughts and words instead of copy&paste.
    I am glad you have lived in Europe, so have I, in Scotland, in Germany and also in Spain. I actually went to school overseas.

    Mike Hunt you are so amusing, first of all I might not even have a very different color than you, because I am Puerto Rican. But I do feel and cherish what I am: a great mix, in my family we have blonde&blue eyed Spaniards and chocolate negros. And I love them all the same, we all share flesh and blood, we are family.

    And I am not going to pick within 13% of the territory, I will pick within 100% of the territory, I will go wherever I please. Last time I checked, this was democracy with freedom of movement.
    Now, or God’s sake, leave the Jews alone. I do really like them, and they also come in all types and colors, do some research, you need it.

    Mr Hunt, you are so funny, I do not get upset over your comments, they actually amuse me. You are harmless, people that think like you are harmless, nobody cares what you have to say, you probably make everybody laugh with your theories.

  17. Mike Hunt

    Of course I’m harmless. I don’t endorse those idiot who go out looking to cause trouble for yelling slurs and profanities. I am a racialist in that I recognize there are inborn differences amongst groups, that’s all. If that amuses you, fine. I stand only for the defense of my people, not for aggression toward anyone else.

    I notice you are not “amused” toward the Panthers, however, who endorse wholesale violence and murder.

  18. Wow! I thought this was a great post that looked into a valid topic. And when I saw the number of comments, I thought that a healthy conversation had been spurred by its posting.

    Instead, I came across several comments that sounded a lot like the things I read in the StormFront forums. Lot’s of people there also claim not to hate other races, but continue to press for the separation of the “races.”

    I put the term in quotation marks because, biologically, there just aren’t enough differences between the collection of phenotypical (as well as the less obvious, genotypical,) traits that we use to divide homo sapiens into different groups for such a divisive word to be wholly accurate.

    Sociologically, however (and this is why the word is divisive in the first place), the term is fits the life experience of many people.

    African-Americans, as a whole, are not “whining and coddling” or “begging for handouts.” The majority of us are working too hard to survive to do that.

    However, that does not mean we fail to recognized the continued negative effects of “some injustice in the past.” No, it’s not fair to blame anyone living today for the actions of people long dead, nor is it fair (or even productive) to ask then to provide recompense for what our ancestors suffered. But it is paramount that everyone recognize that the end product of American-style slavery did not end with either the abolition of the practice, or with the Civil Rights Acts.

    Mr. Hunt, you might not be able to see through the eyes of a Black person, but, from your comments, I think you can contemplate living in a state of poverty.

    That is something that we are all vulnerable to. History documents vast fortunes lost throughout the ages and across the Earth. Keeping that in mind, I’d think that financial stability would a subject that everyone was able to rally around — even if their ideas on how to achieve that state differed greatly.

    Just as the well-meaning, but ultimately false and damaging idea that “colorblindness” will lead to better race-relations — sorry, Marta, but as beautifully welcoming as your attitude is, it leaves the ground open for people to deny that there is still a divide; we haven’t reached the point where failing to acknowledge our differences is a viable way to bring humanity together — failing to acknowledge that there is a need for many voices to speak out to address the issue of poverty.

    Cutting the country into race-based partitions will not achieve that goal. Since people of any given race don’t necessarily agree on any given issue, lessening a person’s opportunity to find like-minded individuals (by reducing the pool from which they are able to draw their acquaintances) would likely lead to insular behavior and to individuals holding more firmly to their own ideas, rather than listening to similar, but differing, solutions.

    That’s a pretty scary future.

    And while I’m not convinced that “poverty is the new Black” — yet, I can definitely see it on the horizon. It’s not something I’d want us to face while even further divided than we are today.

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