This past weekend, Roots of Justice trainers gathered in Dallas to develop a new training model to guide participants in an exploration of the ways that various oppressions intersect. So I was especially interested to hear a short (1:32) story today on NPR’s Morning Edition about how “race trumps class” in the digital divide. (The “digital divide” describes unequal access to internet resources, usually focusing on race, and has been a subject of study for years.)
That language, that one oppression can “trump” another, is common enough. But it distracts listeners from the ways that the oppressions work together to get the result. “Trump” suggests that one oppression is in competition with the other, rather than that they are in collusion.
In the case of the digital divide, statistics may show a stronger correlation between internet access and class than between internet access and race. But that doesn’t mean poor people of all racial groups face the same hurdles. The class card never trumps the race card, or vice versa; those cards are always in the same hand.
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