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Racism As the Pickpocket's Diversion

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 26, 2009

If you wonder why corporate media outlets give so much time and attention to the nuttiest of racists these days, you have to remember this is part of a larger historical phenomenon.

clowning around with a wallet with a pickpocketing warning on itMost people in this country are aware that the South is less unionized than the rest of the country, but most have no idea why or think it results from the general wingnuttery of that region. In fact, racism has been one of the favorite tools of bosses in the South to divide and defeat union organizing. Getting white workers to resent their black colleagues has been hugely effective in creating distractions which prevent organizing that is in all the workers' economic interests.

confederate flagThis actually goes farther back. During the Civil War, whites too poor to own slaves were persuaded to fight on behalf of the treasonous Confederacy while the whites with large estates and numerous slaves generally stayed home and had mint juleps. How did they manage this trick? They conned the poor whites into believing that their self worth was based on feeling superior to the black slaves based on a white racial identity.

This tactic has been the most effective in the South, but it is used throughout the country, with various degrees of success. Middle class whites are diverted by scapegoating of affirmative action so that they don't see that children of alumni in elite universities and anyone whose parents are willing to give enough money get accepted in droves, regardless of their academic qualifications. (How do you think George W. Bush got into Yale?) Students from elite private schools also are given favoritism in getting into college. Racism is used to distract the middle class from realizing that past academic performance is nowhere near as important as wealth and connections for admissions at elite universities.

When FDR pushed for government programs to benefit middle class and poor people, the wealthy elites thought government was supposed to exclusively serve them. So, they financed and pushed racist hysteria in the media to try to create so much animosity and resentment towards blacks that nothing would get done on New Deal programs. FDR was strong enough and a skillful enough politician to get those programs through anyway, but he was the strongest and most skillful politician to ever serve in the White House. (Other Presidents were as strong as Roosevelt, such as Lincoln, but never has that level of strength been matched by that level of political acumen.)

map of middle eastDuring the push for the war on Iraq, the corporate media played on racial profiling and anti Arab hatred to build support for the war. Never mind that there were no Iraqi hijackers on 911. Never mind that Saddam Hussein's Arab nationalist Baath Party and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda were mortal enemies. In the mass racist hysteria created by the politicians and the corporate media, Iraqis were Arabs and that was enough to trick a lot of gullible Americans into thinking that Iraq was responsible for 911 and that we should subjugate and slaughter them.

Big Oil, the mercenary corporations, and the arms merchants have made shitloads of money off of that racist scam.

Now, there is a push for government provided healthcare, which is the birthright of every person in a country as wealthy as the United States of America. As expected, we are seeing the corrupt elites using the same racist diversionary tactics they have loved for at least a couple of centuries. Whether it is the overt racism of the birthers, Glenn Beck, or Joe Wilson or the less transparent racism that permeates the corporate media, all of it is being financed and promoted by the rich to try to keep government funding from being used to provide life saving healthcare to the middle class and the poor.

The owners of our major media want all government funding to go to profitable wars and government subsidies for them and the wealthy people who own their advertisers. They certainly don't want to pay anywhere near their fair share in taxes. The corporate media's love affair with racism is all about the money.

people play acting the pickpockets diversionIf you have lived in a major city, you probably have been warned about a common pickpocket's trick. They get an accomplice to bump into you, annoy you, and or ask you for directions while the pickpocket takes you wallet. This is a very good reason to keep your wallet in your front pocket, not the back.

When you look at the exploitation and promotion of racist hysteria by the wealthy elites in this country, it is easy to see it for what it is: a diversion by wealthy pickpockets to let them keep steeling from the rest of us.

Photos/Images: Archie McPhee
Spanner Dan



  1. Christopher Says:
  2. This is really interesting stuff and very informative.

    Well done.

  3. Lew Scannon Says:
  4. Fear is the great motivator, and these people are full of fear of Obama.

  5. lib --

    this is one of the most brilliant thing i have read in a long time - so dead on

    the iraq war was all about the "nasty arabs" and health care is all about"giving our money to the poor minorities"

    the arrogance and elitism that pervades this society will inevitably cause its downfall

    sadly there was a strong and savvy poltician after roosevelt - reagan - but strong and savvy for the exact opposite of the roosevelt - and it was the awfulness of reagan that has led us down this path to hell

    thanks for this piece.

  6. two crows Says:
  7. "During the push for the war on Iraq, the corporate media played on racial profiling..."

    ain't that the truth, Libhom.
    remember those ads when Black kids were shown as being all gung-ho to join up and fight the AY-rabs? it wasn't couched that way, of course.
    instead, it was couched as the only choices a young Black man had were to join the Army or join a gang.

    disgusting, fear-mongering, race-baiting used to get the Black kids maimed and killed while the White kids stayed home and went to college.



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