This zine is about collecting white poor and working class narratives on liberatory politics and identity. We wish to explore the ways in which white working class and poor people have a stake in challenging racism and oppression.
This is about debunking the myth that this system is good for us and is in our best interests. This is about saying no to siding with a white ruling class agenda. This is about saying yes to a multi-racial working class and poor struggle for liberation for all people.
We are looking for writing that illuminates how/why you choose to step up and stand up against oppression all the while recognizing that sometimes this manifests in ways much broader than a demonstration or meeting but pumps through the veins of the everyday.We want to understand how white folks who define themselves as anti-racist came to that place. We want to create a space for stories about how being white, working class/poor has shaped who you are today, and what you care about, about the work that you do, and the lessons you have learned. Poor or working class voices of all kinds are not heard enough!
We want your art, photos, drawings, stories, essays, poems, love letters, manifestos, rants, speeches, interviews, songs, cartoons, fiction, and non-fiction writing that speaks to a genuine anti-racist poor or white working class experience. You don’t need to identify as a writer or as an artist or have a “formal education”, all voices are encouraged!
Submissions should be nestled in between the corners of race privilege and class oppression, and can fall anywhere along the axis of personal and political.
Deadline for submissions July 1, 2011
Maximum length of 2000 words (about 4 pages)
No minimum length.
Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org (note address correction)
We would like jpeg/tiff for art/photos or in doc. format for poetry/essays/stories. Please include a brief bio of yourself. We would like to print bios, but only with your permission. We will not edit without your permission.
Submissions that are discriminatory, racist, sexist, or homophobic will not be accepted. Despite common sense guidelines based on respect, we encourage honesty and courage, and have much respect for people addressing difficult and complex issues.
We may not be able to print all submissions.
This is a project of the White Antiracist Poor & Working Class Study Group, a crew of 6-15 people who have been meeting over the last 5 years in different configurations to discuss the intersections of racial privilege and class oppression in our organizing, our families, our lives and in the world around us. We all identify as white, and we all come from poor and/or working class backgrounds.
There is a lot of confusion about class in our society. Many poor and working-class folks claim being ‘middle-class’ as do many wealthy folks. This confusion around class is no accident; it serves the people in power quite well. When we, as white poor and working-class folks, see ourselves as ‘middle-class’ or ‘upwardly mobile’ we are more likely to think the system is ok as it is... to see poverty, violence and oppression as just ‘cracks’ in the system as opposed to inherent pieces of how capitalism works.
Here are some examples of what we mean by poor and working class from the book, “Class Matters”, which resonated with our own experiences.
By “poor” we mean:
There just never seemed to be enough $ or resources to get your basic needs met.
Sub-standard housing or homelessness and hunger.
The long-term use of public benefits like welfare, section-8 housing, WIC (women, infants, children) and charity.
The chronic lack of health care, food, or other necessities.
Frequent involuntary moves, chaos, and disruption of life due to poverty and lack of resources.
By “working class” we mean:
Little or no college education for you/your parents, in particular, no BA from a 4-year college.
Low or negative net worth (assets minus debts)
Rental housing, or one non-luxury home long saved for and lived in for decades or generations.
Main income (or that of your parents) comes from physical work and/or little control in the work place.
When we say “White” we mean...
Why do we talk about being white? We, as a group see “white” to be a manufactured category, created back in the day so that some people could claim that light skinned Europeans were better than other people. This was an intentional process, which allowed for the genocide of Native Peoples and for the long history of slavery in the u.s.
“White” was created and continues to be used as a means to solidify economic power and divide workers along racial lines. We challenge the notion of race as a biological fact, yet we resist the notion of a “post-racial society” because racism is systemic.
We talk about “whiteness” so we can understand ourselves in relation to a history of white- supremacy in the United States. We want to learn, heal, and grow politically and personally. We recognize that being white (or appearing white) in the u.s. allows privilege, such as more potential access to resources, no worry of being racially profiled, less likely to be denied housing, jobs or other opportunities.
Thanks for reading and considering writing/creating for this project!
love and solidarity
the crew from the White Antiracist Poor and Working Class Study Group