Oh boy are you ever right about all of this! I can’t fault any of your logic, except to say that for whatever reason these divide and conquer strategies work exceptionally well. It is no easy thing to deconstruct them,as you sort of imply.
Most people just cannot see the forest, only the trees. I see it, you see it, but we seem to be always in such a minority. Because believe me, I have tried!
Take the term all lives matter (which is very controversial, when it shouldn’t be!) I point out, that hey all lives should matter and they don’t and black lives are not the only ones not mattering, so it’s fine to say “all lives matter.”
But, believe you me, no black American wants to entertain this idea…well very few anyway. The ones who think like you and me, are okay with it. Most, however, despise the phrase. They see it as a clever way for white people to avoid saying “black lives matter” and it really irritates them.
I have a friend, very intelligent and typically quite reasonable, go round and round and round with me about why the phrase HAS TO BE “black lives matter.” Finally, I gave up. If someone is foaming at the mouth about Black lives mattering, there will be no talking them out of that. And, there wasn’t.
I kept pointing out, this alienates a lot of people, and a lot of nonwhite ones, like Native Americans, who, by the numbers are really, seriously getting the rawest of deals in every way imaginable. Treaties made with them are ignored entirely. The water that they need to live, is poisoned beyond recognition. So many brutal wrongs, they get killed by law enforcement all the damn time, for no good reason. It’s never on the news or on social media because they are just that poor and isolated. So I will be the one to say, this is ridiculous! And yes all lives should matter! And yes, native lives matter! We should be talking about this as well! Especially if we hope to have any credibility around combating systemic injustice, economic and otherwise.
But smaller interest groups largely don’t want to hear this. They only want to focus on their specific issues, because that seems manageable. And ones own pain is easily understood. The pain of other seems so abstract, and therefore less important. As I pointed out there suffering to One black lives matter activists said to me, “we just can’t focus on all those other people!”
But I pointed out, much like you, if you don’t, you’re really hurting your bigger cause and not doing much to solve the problem. The focus should be on the whole of humanity.
And this is why I focus so much on the black lives matter movement, because to me, to have a society decide to not value lives because they are poor (which as you point out is global) and incidentally sometimes of a darker complexion is inhuman; and it’s the kind of inhumanity I can’t tolerate and I don’t believe anyone should — and I feel like if I can get people the world over to admit that, yes black lives matter, then I could more easily get them to admit and yes all lives matter.
But that the statement “lives matter” no matter how you qualify it, is so controversial shows just how very sick our world is!
Maybe we should say instead “Your life doesn’t matter!” It is probably closer to the truth, than all the other “lives matter” statements combined.
Son of Baldwin’s anger is really, at it’s root, over this lack of humanity. He speaks of early experiences of poverty, race and sexuality nearly grinding him into dust, and so you’re right, it’s a perfect storm of injustices that created this anger, and given his experiences and his intelligence, we’re lucky he’s not a serial killer.
And you’re right, when you say the problem of this sort of anger continues to grow. To what end? Holly Wood, got it right when she said capitalism doesn’t have a plan. It certainly didn’t account for vats of excessive human rage the planet over. What to do?
I think the answers are internal and I think people have got to process all that rage, unfortunately before they can move on to something more productive. I think SOB helps with that rage processing.
However I could be wrong. Like I said, it’s a dangerous game, he’s playing.