What we in the US have been told in regards to middle class is that it is the class between the working classes and the upper classes. The average person in the US has accepted that definition, a definition that is based on income, but it is only a piece of the definition and it is not even a necessary part of the definition.
The most important characteristic of the US middle class is whiteness.
The middle class dream in the US is that you can be not that smart, not that competitive, but somewhat competent and get a house, a car, a spouse, and 2.5 children. It is your birthright, that you should not have to fight for. It is a class of complacency and mediocrity. It is a protected class for whiteness. It is a protected buffer, that will not allow you to fail.
If you are Black or Indigenous (if you are not a descendant of colonizers you are Indigenous, rapes don’t count), you will never, at least in the United States be middle class. You will never be able to be mediocre. Neither you nor your children will ever be “protected” by a middle class lifestyle.
You will never experience the comfort of the middle class, the comfort of watching your children do better than you, no your children will fall out of the middle class, because of the lies you told them that as long as they tried your best, there would be a space for them.There will be no legacy for your children. No politician will have a speech to fight for you to have middle class status, based on you having a home and the right to an education, just because you were born
in the United States.
Speeches for you will be about the right for you to live on a park bench and not being murdered by the police, because the truth is this you are not middle class, you’re not white. Middle class is the code for white people, all this time we thought working class was the wink, no, middle class is the most important wink of all.
Middle class is not about socioeconomic class, it is about race and capitalism. Middle class is
about white supremacy.
Why do many former middle class white people who need help from the government hate it so much? It is because if you are white and doing everything you’re supposed to, it is so supposed to work it out. No one, but white people think that, and white people think this, because whiteness is
supposed to protect you.
Middle class is about being able to be white, ordinary, and not failing AS LONG as you protect the institutions of oppression and capitalism. Black Lives Matter sticker, fine, dismantling the police department, not fine, the middle class’ job is to stop that conversation, and to be a safety valve.
The middle class was created to create division within the working class. It is a US phenomenon that exist owing to a need to control the class that is NOT bourgeois or petit bourgeois.
The middle class no longer exists in New York or Los Angeles. This is why certain white people hate those two locations, because for a very long time in the US, you could just be white and go anywhere and do OK.
In LA, if you didn’t make it, you could wash up in the San Fernando Valley and at least send
your kid to good schools and live in a split level.
Of course white people have privileges in LA and NY locations, but their whiteness will not protect them from failure. A white person in Los Angeles can end up homeless, it will be a slower fall that for a Black or Indigenous person, but it is something that can happen, it won’t happen in New Jersey or Wisconsin, at least not for the descendants of people with mortgages and college degrees.
But that will go away for everyone soon, the United States no longer needs non elite white people to be white supremacists, white is a pretty flexible and just like people were brought into whiteness, people will soon begin to be thrown out of it.
Whiteness is a made up concept that has to do with you not being Black or Indigenous and being a buffer between the rich and the rest. It is about the middle management of capitalism. Middle management has a dress code in the United States, white skin or white passing skin. The idea of the middle class must be dismantled. Being middle class is not something that should be a goal or desired.
Middle class is to not be confused with quality of life, because that is not what we are discussing here, we are discussing dismantling the barrier to a conversation on oppression. The dismantling the race idea we have long discussed is locked up in the desire to be AND maintain the middle class.
L@rk Lo has presented at Left Forum NY, Occidental College, Anarchist Book Fair LA, MOCA, Montclair State, LACMA, Ruskin Art Club, and UCLA. Her collection of satirical poetry on capitalism, Queen of Inglewood, was released on Word Palace Press in 2017. She can also be found doing interviews on Black Kids In Outer Space.