What does “structure” in structural inequality actually mean?

fuzzyhorns:

spaceykate:

lavenderlabia:

radicallyhottoff:

Ok—so everybody (including me) always says that white supremacist heteropatriarchal nationalism is “structural”—that we have to deal with the “structure” in order to make changes.

But nobody (including me) ever says exactly what that *means*. what does “structure” mean and what does “structural” mean and  what does “we have to get at the root and change the structure” mean? (This is all the US).

Well, I’ve been discovering—“structure” means:

Food disbursement (or: how do we access a basic survival need): grocery stores, co-ops, resturants, farmer’s markets, etc. (closely connected: farmers, seed companies, etc).

Burial systems (or: how do we access a basic human dignity): burial plots, funeral homes, coroners, paupers burials, etc.

Birthing systems (or: how do we access a basic human dignity): hospitals, birthing centers, “home,” (i.e. apartments, houses, 99% of the time, in this case, “home” is NOT a shelter or other homeless/abuse survivor site), prisons, etc.

Housing systems (or: how do we access a basic survival need): houses, apartments, public housing, condos, gated communities, etc

Energy systems for heating, cooling, cooking, etc (or: how do we access a basic survival system): energy companies (i.e. untilites companies), oil corporations, etc.

Energy systems for travel (or: how do we access a basic human right to movement): oil corporations, the big three, trains, FAA, etc.

Information systems (or: how do we access the basic human right to policy information and *demystification of that policy information* about the systems we live under): public libraries, the FCC, Comcast, Time/Warner, Disney, Google, Viacom, etc.

Attempting to be installed as we speak:

Water disbursement systems (or: how do we access a basic survival system): soda corporations (i.e. CocaCola, Desani (which is I think belongs to Coke).

If you look closely at how each of these systems work (and there may be more, but I am choosing right now to keep this discussion down to basic human needs/dignity), you see that the basic concept within each of them is “to control how disbursement of particular “service” will happen.”

And you see that unequivocally, in every single area: 

Poor people,
Non-white people,
Non-cis people,
Disabled people,
Non-citizens,
Non-straight people,

have the *most* trouble accessing, navigating, acquiring any of these systems. (And I understand that using “non-X” as a descriptor is problematic, I am using it as a way to show that for each identity, problems with access play out in a different way—but they all *play out in a problematic way*).

The choice to opt out of these systems: i.e. bury your own dead, grow your own food, etc is there on a very limited basis—but usually it is only available to those with access to a high level of resources (e.g. hipsters). Poor people CAN and DO find themselves “off the grid”  but this is almost always due to unjust and unequal problems within existing structures (e.g. segregation, inaccessibility, etc). BUT—this is also how many communities of color have managed to create successful community driven economies, and it is how many social justice organizers (most notably in places like Detroit), have been able to recognize an oportunity existing in the most dire circumstances (i.e. defining “resource” as community knowledge rather than money).

Also: the ability to “opt out” is heavily monitored and restricted by the catch-22 inherent in all of these systems: you must have money to access them more easily—but you can’t get that money unless you spend a vast portion of your life working within them. thus, through the strict monitoring of “time,” most people are unable to “opt out” of systems as they don’t have the *time* to grow their own food, bury their own dead, etc.

These systems are how you get the triangle system we live under and how some of us benefit from things and others don’t and how .01 percent of people at the top control everything and *benefit* from the privatization. Privatization does not create *independence*—but *dependence*. people are heavily dependent on the benevolence of corporations for jobs—and almost totally dependent on them for the actual service they offer.

This is one of the top ten things I’ve read on Tumblr. 

If you just scrolled past the wall of text above to see what I said, then do be aware that what I said was, “back up, silly, you missed the good stuff”

if you read just one long post on tumblr ever let it be this one please

(via lesbian-satan)

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    Also, health care. Also also, the criminal justice system.
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