The Racist-Classist Things People Like to Hear

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“Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

– James 2: 5-9

Here’s a sample of things people say to me about poor people, especially poor people of color:

“It’s the parent’s fault.”

“My family was low-income, and they worked their way up.”

“They know how to work the system.”

“What can you do when the only people at home they can look up to are drug addicts and dealers?”

“Not much you can do when they just refuse to accept your help.”

“Aren’t Black people just as racist against White people?”

“We have a Black President now.”

When I graduated from college and moved to Tulsa to become a teacher, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There I was, a person of color who had nevertheless grown up in tremendous privilege her entire life, now teaching in one of the most historically underprivileged communities in the entire country. more “The Racist-Classist Things People Like to Hear”