Today I’d like to write about the scary and scared third.
Having spent the majority of my adulthood primarily rooted in North America – eventually becoming a citizen of Canada (eh) and a green card holder in the States, I feel proud of having gained a rather rich understanding of the myriad facets of Americo-Canadian society. This understanding is, of course, limited by my experiences and interpretations – but it is nevertheless authentic.
(And what is writing if not a vain attempt at authenticity?)
Now, in my travels as an immigrant – eventually garnering of various settler privileges – I have realized that both the US and Canada have what I’ve decided to call the scary and scared third. They seem to be way more docile and subdued in Canada, but shit can always change quite rapidly.
You might have an inkling already of what I’m talking about here.
It’s not unlike other societies, perhaps all over the world but certainly in places I can claim some membership in.
The scary and scared third is that section of society, usually between 30-40% of the population in that nation, country, or state – comprised of a mixture of class backgrounds but quite homogenously emerging from the majoritarian ethno-racial groups, and generally serving elite interests of power and control. Examples of what I mean by “majoritarian ethno-racial groups” include white folk in the US or Canada, upper caste Hindus in India, Han Chinese in China, Sunni Muslims in Pakistan, or Askenazi Jews in Israel.
(I’m nothing if not secular in my condemnations of majoritarianism.)
They are also easily motivated by the venemous, pied piperesque tunes of fear, anger, and hatred – or at the very least a variable spectrum of intense anxiety, irritability, and dislike that can easily be morphed into more dangerous motivational factors.
Now for the most part in the rest of the world, the scary and scared third are a threat only to the remainder of their local societies and themselves. In the US however, they’re also a threat to the rest of the world.
By now I’m assuming some of you would have guessed that this narrative is veering towards that chauvinistic political orgy known as the US political elections that the powers-that-be of the country use to hoodwink all of us into thinking we live in a democracy.
This time around lay people are almost certainly going to celebrate a capitalist, neo-colonial, blue-blood making her way into the White House. Given the other option (because in America the idea of democratic choice is limited to an elite-driven binary) and because we live in crappy times, many of us will actually heave a sigh of relief as and when Hillary breaks the presidential glass ceiling riding on white privilege and old wealth.
But what happens to the scary and scared third that Trump and his acolytes are currently stringing along? They aren’t going anywhere – even after Trump Inc. crashes and burns into the history books as the world’s worst joke.
That’s over a 100 million people, almost predominantly white, with centuries of racial privilege behind them and lots of guns in front of them, in a country where racial demographics are diversifying rapidly.
So, don’t go celebrating your ass off when the Rodham scion occupies the White House again.
The scary and scared third are going to be even scarier and a lot more scared.