From a Reification of White Supremacy to a Clear Depiction of Society’s Embedded Racism in Eight Words

Follow this graph to find out which economic class you will end up in:

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 2.19.02 PM.pngNote: Stragglers = lower class. Thrivers = upper class

CNN Money has an article titled, “What is middle class, anyway?” Which breaks down the range of middle class, throughout all states, based on income, wealth, and consumption. It goes on to show a diagram which asks about your age, race, and level of education. Then, it tells you which “class” you most likely fall into. In this graph, it is impossible to move beyond the middle class if you are “black / hispanic.” Further, the other outcomes are labeled as “thrivers and stragglers.” Here, the only way to become a “thriver” is to be “white / asian.” At the same time, the only way to become a “straggler” as “white / asian” is to not complete high school. While there is an aside to note that the graph does not hold true in all cases, is it not the ultimate display of social inequality and “othering” of “non-white” people? Further, wouldn’t this diagram be used to simply reify white supremacist views? 

Perhaps not…. 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 9.27.35 PM.png

With the inclusion of eight words, “Does your demographic make up the middle class?” this diagram goes from supporting racism to identifying and clearly showing how racism persists in society. Eight words can make all the difference – mimicking the concerns raised during class about Thurston’s How to be BlackSo, how can our words not be used against us? 

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One thought on “From a Reification of White Supremacy to a Clear Depiction of Society’s Embedded Racism in Eight Words

  1. You make such an awesome point about how the language used in this chart could be misconstrued as promoting white supremacy if you skimmed past the title (like I did when I first saw it).That said, it is kind of sad. This chart represents social mobility based on race in this country . On one hand, it displays how easy it is to stay privileged if you are white. Based on this chart, it seems like you have to actively try not to fall into the upper or middle class if you are white or of Asian decent. On the other hand, as a black person, it is hard to find yourself in the middle class and when you do there is no going up from there. As an educated African American with dreams of becoming a “thriver”, it is upsetting to see charts like this because while it acts as a motivator for me; I can also see how it can discourage blacks as well.

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