It's no wonder why so many of us try scrape and claw our way out of the gutter. Some of us do it successfully through education, dedication, and hardwork. Many of the "Chosen One" catch a break or two. We're always either at the right place at the right time, or just plain wrong. It's really pretty simple. We get into a survivor mode where we must provide for ourselves and our families. But sometimes the desire to "move on up" like George and Weezy is pushed by a particular value that has become more important in a lot of peoples' minds across the board, regardless of ethnicity, creed, or social class.
We know all about the greed, money, and power that is flexed among the rich. We've all seen "Wallstreet" and "Boiler Room". Rich people are some of the most cutthroat muthafuckas on the planet. The rich want to get richer. They want to fan their feathers out and display their dominance over their domain. Our society promotes that. Our society exudes that. Status is all powerful and omnipotent. Forget what you learned in church. These cats would sell their souls to the devil for higher status.
But it's not just the rich people our our society that are affected. Remember, that's only 1% of our population. This lust for status has trickled down through the middle class and has taken a hold of our poor and impoverished. It gets grimy at the bottom of the barrel. Even at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, there are people who shit on the next man in order to establish some sort of status-based superiority.
Wanna know the reason why white people seem to laugh at blacks?
Cuz brothers in South Africa slaving to death in diamond mines
Meanwhile, we spendin every penny to overshine
Tell the next nigga he lesser
Cuz he can't afford to buy ice from his oppressor
So now he pullin out nines, tryin to homicide me for mine
Meanwhile, George W. Bush got a war on crime
Ras Kass - "Golden Chyld"
This is a big issue with poor minorities. We shit on each other to feel better about our status. "At least I'm not as poor as him" has been a train of thought that has plagued our poor neighborhoods for years, but has been amplified even more in recent years. It's sad. It's disappointing.
And I'm not immune to it. I've caught myself looking down at the unfortunate. I've looked at my own poor Filipino immigrant and called them "fobs". I've played up the stereotypes of my own people as if I am better than them because of their less American lifestyle. It's all about maintaining your spot and kicking people down so, relatively speaking, you are "better".
That shit really has to stop. We really need to take responsibility for our actions as minorities living in a white society. We shouldn't be hating towards the next man or woman. We need to focus not on our personal status, but on the institutions that are currently in place that predispose us to failure. There is a reason why we make up for so little of that 5% left over from the pie. We need to make changes, not only in our actions, but in our minds.
Status is not the be all end all of life. What the next person thinks about you and your accomplishments are meaningless in the overall scope of your life.