Week Nine: Urban Crisis – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Nine: Urban Crisis

A section in Origins of the Urban Crisis titled The Casual Labor Market talked about the litany of black workers that were delegated to casual work as it suited their employers.

The section talked about how black workers, because of their desperation for work, were treated as a second-class of workers, often receiving incrementally less pay, and having close to no job security. More importantly, though, the section talked about how, because black workers were treated so poorly, it gave white workers who had to oversee them an inflated sense of ego, allowing them to feel like “the boss” for a change.

This struck me so strongly, because this exact same system is what propelled slavery into acceptance in the United States. In the south, even though most whites didn’t and couldn’t own slaves, they still believed themselves to be above blacks. Though race was the only thing that separated them, the belief that, “well, at least I’m not black,” made many poor whites allow themselves to justify slavery. Even though they also had next to nothing, wealthy, ruling class whites made working class whites believe that they had some sort of edge.

In an unsurprising turn, that mentality continued to permeate in America, and often still does, because people continue to subscribe to the system that skin color produces an advantage in America.

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