Is Classism the new Racism?


I am a Philadelphian born and raised, and I think the one thing that bothers me most about the city is that it’s blatantly segregated.

If you aren’t familiar with Philadelphia the areas of the city are comparable to the boroughs of NYC, South, Southwest, West, Northwest, Northeast, North and Center City Philadelphia all make up this beautiful yet complex city.

South Philly, traditionally speaking was populated predominantly by the Italian Americans, now not so much, it’s more of a melting pot of people. You may still find a very dense population of Italian Americans who have lived in this part of the city for generations.

Southwest, again is a melting pot of culture and ethnic diversity, two of the cities largest Universities are set up in this part of the city so you’ll see people from all walks of life. West Philly depending on which area you’re in is predominantly an area where people of color live more specifically Black people. Northwest is comparable to Southwest, you have a bit of everybody living in the Northwest certain areas are “darker” than others. Northeast Philadelphia is broken into two section, “Northeast” and the “Greater Northeast”, in the lower half of the Northeast you have Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Irish Americans and a sprinkle of Caucasians; the “Greater” Northeast (don’t ask me who decided to call it greater) is predominantly Caucasian, Russian American and other descendants of Northern European countries.

In Center City there is a little diversity not a lot but it’s predominantly Caucasian professionals who more than likely aren’t from Philadelphia at all. Transplants that more than likely attended school here and upon graduation found employment with one of the many companies located in the city.

Last but not least North Philly, North Philly depending on who you ask is made of quite a few neighborhoods that were created to differentiate from the areas where Caucasian’s live,  and to make sure there is a separation from the stigma (black and Latino people) of North Philly, if you’re from Philly anything North of City Hall is supposed to be considered North Philadelphia, plain and simple, but someone decided there needed to be invisible lines set up to differentiate the predominantly Black and Latino sections of North Philly from everyone else non-Black or Latino(or from those who were Black and/or Latino that fit into a certain socio-economic status). So you have the Northern Liberties, Port Richmond, Bridesburg, The Art Museum area, Brewerytown and Fairmount, these North Philly neighborhoods are home to majority of the Caucasian population North of City Hall.

Whenever anyone talks about living in North Philadelphia, it automatically invokes negative feelings, the phrase I love most that I hear mainly from Caucasians, “Isn’t that area very sketchy?”, if sketchy is code for poor and full of Black folk then the answer is yes! I’ve heard things like “I rode through the ghetto the other day”. 

On a side note I blame black people for taking the word “ghetto” and making it synonymous with our people and our struggle. In no other minority group that I know of do others refer to where they live as the ghetto. I’ve never heard an Asian person, refer to their neighborhood as the ghetto.  No matter how far we’ve come and how far we’ll go as a people, the word ghetto and black will always be equivalent.

We all know living in the United States of America that racism is alive and well and probably not going anywhere anytime soon, but it seems in my opinion that now (or maybe it’s been this way but I was too young to realize) there is a new system of power used to separate/alienate those that don’t fit the status qua.

That system I believe is the system of classism, a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes..” 

The difference again this is always base on my opinion, between classism and racism is that people from your own racial/ethnic demographic can and will show prejudice towards you. So not only do “you/we” have to deal with people hating you/we based on the color of your skin, now you/we have to deal with the addition of prejudice based on our socio-economic status.

If you live in a certain neighborhood people automatically judge you, good or bad, if you send your children to public school, instead of charter school, private school or catholic school.  I don’t understand why it seems mankind is so hell-bent on finding ways to separate ourselves from one another instead of learning from each other and creating a better world for the future generations.

I get tired of hearing people talk shit about things and people they choose purposely not to understand. North Philly isn’t anymore scary then the suburbs, IMO the same shit that happens in a “sketchy” neighborhood could happen anywhere. People period are capable of violence, and destructive behavior no matter their economic status, or color of their skin.

Honestly I’m tired of being tired…trying to teach grown ass people that it’s insensitive and in some cases racist or classist of them to say things about a certain group of people is draining.



10 thoughts on “Is Classism the new Racism?

  1. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of people only trying to be friends with others exactly like themselves. It seems no one wants to broaden their horizons anymore. It really is draining listening to/correcting ignorant people who (without even thinking) parrot unfounded opinions about other groups of people. I’m truly surprised at how many people I’ve met who do this. It seems popular to hate people whom you view as “different”, without even knowing why you hate them. And it seems like tv or your social circle dictates whom you’re “supposed” to hate. I remember leaving entire groups of friends because of the prejudice: “I don’t like him because he’s poor.”, “I don’t like her because she’s black.”, “He’s from the wrong neighborhood.” etc. No one wanted to admit that they were wrong, and no one wanted to get to know each other better. It was too much. Even my husband has told me that some of his friends and coworkers have refused to get to know one another based solely on skin color and/or what section of the city they were from. On a sort of related note: I’ve met so many people of color (black people especially), over the past 10 years, who’ve told me that the best decision they ever made was to move to another country (usually somewhere in Europe, or even Japan), because they don’t feel as stigmatized, stereotyped, or judged as they do here in their own country. I never would have expected to hear that.

    1. I’m not surprised by that, POC’s leaving the country and finding it to be a different/pleasant experience. I’m not sure if change is even possible in this country. It’s so disappointing, because these things are so trivial and in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter. I feel it everyday I come to work, I know most of the people in my office would probably want to get to know me better if I came from the same background as them. Not realizing we may have more in common then our tax brackets not being the same. SMH

      1. You’re right… I’ve been wondering for a while myself now if anything in this country will change. Especially with how fervently people are taught to hate even the pettiest of differences. I’m sorry to hear about your co-workers… that’s really sad that they’re missing out on a friendship because of their own ignorance.

        Yeah, I’ve met plenty of POC’s who’ve moved to places where there are either no stereotypes, or only positive ideas about them. They’ve gotten jobs, made friends, and had lives where they didn’t have to fight for their rights. One person told me, “It’s wonderful here! I’m not ‘some black person’, I’m Gwen. I’m a doctor. I’m a homeowner. And no one has a problem with that.”

      2. I’ve been contemplating leaving the country for sometime now, I keep having this recurring dream of my family moving to Spain. I would love to move but hubby’s career in music is here and I think I’m the only person in my household interested in moving out of the country. I think the kids are just scared, but they don’t realize life is about taking chances. One day maybe…

      3. I see… yeah, it can be difficult balancing what everyone wants. Spain sounds really nice, and I hope you get to at least visit! I’d be afraid too, simply because a) I’m afraid to fly, and b) I’ve never been out of the country before. But, again, it would still be nice to try it. My husband and I have been talking about moving to Norway, Sweden, or Germany (if we ever leave the country). I have another friend who told me that whenever he travels/vacations, he always goes to Germany, Spain, England, or Japan, because it’s safer being black there than traveling cross-country here.

      4. LOL I’ve never flown and am afraid to fly , never been out of the country. Which I’m sure would make for an interesting trip to say the least. I’ve heard great things about Germany, Spain and Japan. I’ve heard England is kind of comparable to the US as far as race relations. I definitely plan on visiting even if we don’t end up moving. 🙂

      5. Whoa, good to know about England! I’ll scratch that off my list of places to visit. I hope you get to visit all the countries that interest you. Lmao, yeah… I have no idea if I’d be freaking out on the plane or not. That’s the part that scares me most.

      6. Same here, could you imagine if we both were on the same plane, bless the flight attendants. I have a pretty good feeling I’d definitely freak out during take off. 🙂

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