Society as well as mainstream media has constantly shown us that the only divide between our Western civilization is this ‘racial divide.’ But is that really true or is there something deeper brewing in the depths?
Now obviously racism exists and people get favours or lose out on opportunities based on colour but is skin colour truly the root of all our problems?
I argue that it is not skin colour, or religion or sexuality that divides us, rather it is our incomes.
Look at the neighbourhood you live in. Is there an area where only the ‘posh’ live in? Where every house has a three car garage and an orange Porsche sitting on the driveway?
Now go a little further down the block and you might reach the high middle-income families where there might be homes that can fit four or five people comfortably.
But on the other side of that same town, there lies government housing. Run down houses with rickety garages and kids on bikes everywhere. Streetlights that flicker on and off and potholes that have long been neglected by city officials.
And that’s the society we live in. We are literally physically separated from those who make less than us yet we buy into the belief that it is race, or religion or sexuality that divides us.
Would we be more willing to help those in need if those who are in need lived next to us? Or would we be repulsed by neighbors who are ‘less than us?’
Now, take a look at the schools around you, or the amusement parks, or the sports that are played. The rich and wealthy play a different game than us. They go to private schools, they get the fast lane at Wonderland, they play golf at the biggest, most expensive golf courses. We are divided into separate groups based on our finances.
This problem is then further exacerbated when we, as a group, buy into this social and financial hierarchy. The wealthy are perched at the top, the rich just one rung below them, and the high income families another level lower and so on and so forth.
We look up to those with material possessions and commas in their bank accounts, whereas we frown upon those who are ‘lazy’ or ‘not motivated.’
We hold those with money and worldly possessions in higher regard than those that might make less. We are separated by classism and not by racism or sexism or any other factor.
One can argue that this is simply capitalism. In a society based on money and the ‘free market’ anyone can simply become wealthy. But capitalism wasn’t built so that everyone can be wealthy. The game has been skewed so that the rich stay rich. Loopholes are created not for small, family owned businesses, rather they are DESIGNED for the wealthy corporations.
So what if urban environments weren’t designed in such a way? What if the richest person lived next to the poorest person? What if everyone’s neighbor wasn’t of the same financial status as them? Would we still turn a blind eye to those less fortunate than us when they are literally next to us?
On such a small scale (our respective neighborhoods or towns), we can see that we are divided by money so that we don’t see those less fortunate than us. So that we can say ‘I don’t see it, so I don’t have to do anything about it.’
But if we worked together as the masses that we are then we can surely create some sort of change. There should be no reason that someone should have eight mansions when people are dying from a lack of clean water. There should be no reason for people to hoard trillions of dollars when a third of that can end world poverty.
If on such a small scale we are divided by class, then upon a larger, international scale how prevalent and systemic is classism?