“growing permanent underclass”
“Last week I partook in Tribulation Trail’s brand of hell house pageantry, which brings participants—a total of 25,000 every October—on a 90-minute walk through the South Georgia woods. […]
lucia is amazing
you should read this article
i mostly found this article really useful, but i’m kind of troubled by the things the author doesn’t say about race in the piece
she intelligently and sympathetically emphasizes the whiteness of the working-class folks who organize and participate in such events and surely implies reference to their racism, but kind of drops the ball in actually talking about it and kind of smooths over issues of racism and racial difference when talking about the u.s. working class
this excerpt contains the full extent of her reference to race in the article:
Our tour group was asked to imagine that we were in the days just following the rapture, and the Antichrist (whose speeches involved a lot of Obama-flavored language about “change”) had established a totalitarian government after duping the masses with his political charm. […]
I thought about Joe Bageant, author of Deer Hunting with Jesus, who writes about the political and religious lives of working-class white Americans—i.e. the people make up the majority of Tribulation Trail’s cast and audience. Bageant argues that working-class whites have become a “growing permanent underclass” in a class war in which they are exploited by the elite right and neglected by the left. Given the violence directed at this group—whether physical violence inflicted against youth who are economically conscripted to fight in Iraq; economic violence inflicted by regressive tax policies; or psychological violence inflicted by a culture that tends to belittle poor whites—is it any wonder that Tribulation Trail enacts violent scenarios without directly deeming them “scary”? Is it any wonder that its vision of hope is located in something beyond immediate material realities? […]
Quite literally the recession was present from the beginning to the end of Tribulation Trail. In the second scene, Jesus returned to rapture a woman as her unemployed husband berated her for trying to convince him to go to church: “Did your God find me a job today?! I’m not ready for your God!” The Antichrist enticed recruits with offers of work and food. Before the first execution scene, we watched a video drawn from news broadcasts. It emphasized images of (white) US combat soldiers (in an army that is disproportionately working-class) and clips of floods ravaging people’s homes (in a year when thousands have lost houses to foreclosure).
how does one deracialize either the ways that aggressive army-recruitment campaigns work (the army is surely quite disproportionately non-white in addition to being disproportionately working-class) or the place that images of ‘floods ravaging people’s homes’ have in a post-katrina u.s.?
i feel like talking about the very real and serious exploitation of poor and working-class people who are specifically white without talking about how those people also get very real and serious economic and social benefits from individual and structural acts of racism can come dangerously close to excusing that racism, normalizing it, or deeming it secondary to class struggle - all of which are pretty contrary to the ways in which i’d want people to approach both anti-capitalist and anti-racist analysisfrom transarterrified
Well anyway, some White Atheist From Town on my Twitterfeed mentioned that he was shocked—shocked—that some folks were calling Draw Mohammed Day racist. I said, well, he was welcome to explain the ways it WASN’T racist and I guess he’s either chosen to ignore it, hasn’t seen my response, or is still trying to figure out how it’s not racist.
See, this is why me & atheist communities can’t be friends. Intersectionality and THE FUCKING OBVIOUS just doesn’t exist with these people and I learned early that I really hated them all, even the groups populated by minorities/people of color/non whites/what have you.
i know right
besides just the rank racism (generally of the liberal or libertarian types) of a lot of atheist-identified folks, i think atheist identity is one of the few identity things that some friends of mine do but that i just really don’t get at all, and not in a way that takes more-or-less conscious thought on my part to not-get, either: i mean i just really don’t understand the impetus to do atheism in an identity way
i mean, i am an atheist, yeah, and that’s present in my politics and ways of interacting with the world, but there’s nothing about this that feels to me like it warrants identification as such, and it’s just kind of puzzling that some people seem to hold the word so close to their heart
there are much more important parts to my life and politics than the fact that they don’t include a belief in god or any other ‘higher power’, and i mean i was brought up southern baptist and have lived all my life in the deep south, so it’s not like this lack of import is due to religion being absent in my past or surroundings
though that might be part of it: i’ve been a non-believer for a long time and just kind of acclimated (at a young age and in a conservative environment) to the fact that some of my founding assumptions about the world would be really different than those of most of the people around me
so i just kind of got over it
atheism i get; ‘atheist’ as an identity, not so muchfrom telegantmess