© 2023 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

We Must Understand Our Oppression

In 1977, the great British punk band The Clash released one of their most blistering protest – rather, call-to-action -- songs, “White Riot,” with lyrics like:

Black people gotta lot a problems But they don’t mind throwing a brick White people go to school Where they teach you how to be thick… White riot – I want to riot White riot – a riot of my own

Lead singer Joe Strummer explained the song is not about white nationalism or supremacy but that the white working class should follow the lead of blacks and protest inequitable class relations rather than simply blaming others.

White folks must understand how they, too, are objects of oppression -- primarily by economic policies that ultimately strain the spectrum of racial and ethnic groups.

Since the rise of Trumpism, we’ve seen an emboldening of divisive and marginalizing voices, and now the tide is turning back on them. Racism, sexism, homophobia are seeing a broadening of resistance. Coalitions of groups across identities are explicitly declaring enough!

But now, the white working and middle class that accept the principles of Trumpism and routinely reject the arguments and demands of historically marginalized groups must come to grips with their own marginalization.

Perhaps Trump supporters misunderstand their own oppression. It is not that others are trying to take from them, but they are being hoodwinked by the very same system that oppresses others.

Perhaps its time to stop blaming others and join those who riot against systems that hold us all back.

I am Joseph Flynn, and that is my perspective.

Related Stories