Last night I went to hear Ansley Erickson talk about her book about schooling in Nashville. I was really struck by her willingness to call what happened/happens to black people in Nashville (and throughout the South) as theft and plunder (and her insistence on crediting Ta-Nehisi Coates).
And it made me think about the way “taxpayer” has been racialized. In our culture, when you hear “taxpayer,” you can rest assured the speaker envisions white people. So, if you are a black woman in public housing, you’re a welfare queen, living off the taxpayer. As if you’re also not a taxpayer.
But it also got me thinking of just how very much of our culture is white people trying to make sure no black people treat them the way they’ve treated black people.