Right now, I’m reading Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. (Actually, I’m listening to it, via an audiobook copy checked out from the Los Angeles Public Library. As I’ve said many times before, audiobooks allow multitasking—driving, riding, working out, cleaning the house, etc.) Since I’m only at the end of Chapter One, this won’t be a review, but I can’t help but put down a few thoughts. These initial observations may read as critique against capitalism or Western Civilization, but that’s not my intention. All civilizations have flaws–most much worse than ours.
Isenberg outlines the British concept of “trash people”–meaning the poor—and how the British upper crust desired to use that population for its own ends with respect to the colonies. Of course, we all know that class divisions have existed and still exist in Western civilizations, but reading about the planning and the implementation of these endeavors bids comparison to how the present-day American “upper crust” uses the poor and the not-so-poor. Back then, control of the poor to the end of making profit, was far more overt than it is today, which makes today’s efforts far more effective—as is so for all hidden agendas.
From what I can tell, there has always been a set-apart group in European countries and their colonies: an indentured/enslaved caste—whether the bondage is formal or not. Sometimes, it’s the natives of a conquered land. Other times, it’s a forcibly imported group, such as African slaves, the British underclass, or the Irish. Today–in America at least–it’s primarily those of Mexican descent.
The interesting thing about this history is that it proves the axiom that there’s nothing new under the sun. And, though the tactics have changed, the goal remains the same: control.
But, back in the heyday of the British Empire, the elite just wanted to control your body and couldn’t care less about your mind…
More to come.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.
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