We live in a moment in America where our politics is increasingly defined by race and ideas about race relations. However, what is race? What is ethnicity? How do social constructs reflect biological differences, and to what extent can any race actually be identified as a stable classification? These are issue we hope to explore, while opening the discussion to a wider and wider audience. Join us in this national conversation.
We are building a community, a discussion space, and a set of ideas that we hope can forward the discussion of race in America in a respectful, productive and enlightening manner. Stay tuned as we continue to add not only to this site, but to the conversation.
I reject the formulation that we know our society is broken because many white working-class men are going through another rough time. We hear Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and even Nicholas Kristof speak about a broken society. Would they have said our society was broken in the 1970s to 2000s when employers discriminated and paid low wages to women, LGBT people, younger workers, older workers, recent immigrants, and many Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos? Either our society is broken for all or it’s broken for none. Either it always was broken or it never was broken.
But maybe society isn’t broken: the basic concepts of equality and democracy may need to be enacted fully, in a way they never have.
The fact is that we live in a class society where the super rich do well and everyone else deals with food, income, housing, health, and educational insecurity at least for some portion of their lives. A simple way forward for all is to share the goods and services of society. This reduces conflict and divisions and promotes collaborative invention. Even though class society has become highly stratified, we hold the power to create the society we want.
As a society and as a world community, we can extend our conceptions of equality and democracy. We can redistribute income, resources, wealth, and formal political power, including access to well-paid work, healthy food, good housing, quality pre-K and K-12 public education, and low-cost public higher education. Simultaneously, we working people can develop our informal economic and political power. By practicing the use of democracy at all levels (family, community, business, state and global community) we can promote equality, liberty, and justice for all.
If we want to end divisions, we can start by speaking a language that rejects ideas of racial, gender and class entitlements. We can refuse to be divided by the presidential campaign’s manipulative rhetoric, which puts working people at odds and hurts everyone, including the wealthiest households. We can learn to relate to each other in a way that communicates solidarity across the wide spectrum of humanity.
This reflects the views of Torry Dickinson, not the views of NCOR’s Board of Directors.