In postelection strategy meetings, progressives everywhere are asking: Should we organize around race or class? Inevitably, someone answers, “Of course, we need to do both.” Heads nod. I disagree. The answer is not “both,” which presumes they are separable. Because racial division is a critical tool of class oppression, we cannot address one without the other. Most economic justice organizers on the Left, myself included, organize people of color around both race and class, but not white folks around race. In fact, we actively avoid it—with a few notable exceptions, like the faith-based group ISAIAH, which has successfully organized predominantly white churches in the Minnesota suburbs against racism. When we talk about how the system is set up to help rich people and hurt poor people, we mostly confine our racial analysis to the subpoint that communities of color are hurt more. But the reality goes beyond that: We must talk more about how wealthy, powerful people of all races (and the corporations they control) incite racism to win support for regressive economic policies. For example, the Right paints single Black mothers as “welfare queens” to gain white support for gutting programs like food stamps, even though the overwhelming majority of food stamp recipients are white. Poor white people are also harmed by corporate practices that are rooted in structural racism, like the sale of subprime mortgages. Banks and mortgage lenders aggressively targeted Black and Latino families with predatory subprime loans that were overpriced and highly risky. According to affidavits by workers at Wells Fargo, subprime mortgages were referred to within the bank as “ghetto loans” and their recipients called “mud people”. But even though banks targeted Black and Latino families for subprime mortgages, and these families were more likely than their white counterparts to receive them, the overwhelming majority of families who received subprime mortgages were white—and millions lost their homes.
Saqib Bhatti in The Only Way to Defeat Trump Is to Understand That Race and Class Are Inseparable (Inthesetimes)