Maybe it's just me.
Michelle Alexander has written a book called The New Jim Crow. At WSWS, Helen Halyard and Fred Mazelis review the book, which they find disappointing, and note:
In common with all analyses of American society based on race, the book contributes to channeling discontent back into the blind alley of identity politics and support for the Democratic Party.
Ms. Alexander has been lionized in some liberal and “left” circles, including pseudo-socialists such as the International Socialist Organization. These layers of the middle class, prominent in academia and elsewhere, play a major role in propping up the Democrats.
Identity politics is their calling card, counterposing the issues of race, gender and sexual orientation to the interests of the working class as a whole. The pseudo-lefts respond with enthusiasm to Alexander’s call for a new civil rights movement, conceived as a vehicle of middle-class protest against what they regard as congenital American racism.
Alexander herself is quite clear on this. The driving force of American history is race, in her view, and certainly not the class struggle. “Since the nation’s founding,” she writes, “African Americans repeatedly have been controlled through institutions such as slavery and Jim Crow, which appear to die, but then are reborn in new form, tailored to the needs of constraints of the time.
“It may be impossible to overstate the significance of race in defining the basic structure of American society,” she continues, even more categorically.
From the fact that the US Constitution was based on a compromise with slavery, enshrined in the notorious three-fifths rule defining the slave as three-fifths of a man, she concludes that “upon this racist fiction rests the entire structure of American democracy.”
So much for Jefferson, Franklin, Tom Paine and the rest of the leading figures of the American Revolution and the world-shaking impact of that revolution, which reverberated in France barely a decade after the Declaration of Independence.
I think that's a strong criticism and one that the author should take to heart. I have really grown to despise the ISO because they're nothing but knee-jerk applauders for the Democratic Party. (ISO publishes Socialist Worker in the US, FYI.) It sounds like she had an interesting premise and then she tied her arms behind her back by refusing to factor in class.
As a Black woman, how could she avoid class?
I'm Black. I can tell you right now, that if you can speak proper English, you'll be treated a lot better than a Black person who can't. Which is why I was as much a stickler with my kids about speaking as my folks were with me.
My folks knew it was hard to be a minority and even harder if that mean being Black. They knew that you had to be armed with as much as you could carry.
And I agree with that.
So any book that wants to talk about race but doesn't want to talk about caste is by an author who's not ready to be honest.
In addition, I do not go outside in certain outfits. For example, I will work out in a gym or at C.I.'s but I will change before I go out into the world. I will not wear workout clothes in public. If you're Black and you don't get that, go to a store in your workout clothes (they can be fresh and clean and non-worked out in) and then go to one dressed in your business professional dress or church clothes. Notice the difference in the way you are treated. One way, you get looks. The other way, store employees actually want to help you. And, reality check, the store employees aren't 100% White.
Anyone who tells you that we are a class free society is lying.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):