Middle class, what's that?
Updated: Oct 5, 2018
Middle Class, what’s that?
Under the most prevalent economic system, that is capitalism, there are different types of social classes. Notably, in Haiti, there is the Upper Class, or the bourgeoisie, essentially composed of successful business people, celebrities, and individuals, or families with generational wealth. Said class lives in the best neighborhoods, and is able to afford the best lifestyle, as it concerns education, healthcare and the services of other privatized, but necessary institutions. Generally, the lower class, is an umbrella for both middle class, and relatively poor folks. (That is, poverty varies across countries, and so do the standards for what is considered middle class and/or poor). However, it is agreed on, that a lower class usually struggles to make ends meet and afford basic necessities. The upperclassmen represent a very small percentage, while lower/poor folks consequently exist in higher numbers. Typically, the middle class is the medium between the two, there is still some sort of struggle to cover all expenses, and while most needs are met, there is still a chance that a financial blow will be fatal. Most of us are part of that class. But what if I told you there isn’t really a “middle” class in Haiti? They've been trying to establish one for years, but in most cases, it’s either people are really poor or really rich. Those that should fit in the "middle class " are just considered to be part of the bourgeoisie because they are still able to afford the same costly necessities rich people do. While it is all less accessible to them, in a third world country where poverty is often a picture of deprivation, starvation - and consequently disease - they are still able to afford a decent way of living. Intrinsically, where the middle class and the bourgeoisie differ would be in their ability to afford more or less leisure; to include travels, living accommodations such as maids, cooks, or variations of a butler.
Social class in Haiti is very dependent on skin color and features, giving ,lighter skinned people,- based on ultimately Eurocentric standards, - the structural power to set their features as standard. This is not to say that every light skinned person is apart of the bourgeoisie; but rather to point out that skin color is a factor in classism. The most outrageous part of this system, is that the rich people of Haiti barely represent 5% of the country’s population, making them the minority, yet et their voice is heard over that of the poor, in addition to their desires being prioritized. When the majority of a people live in a chaotic state that is disregarded to serve the interest of the bourgeoisie, you have a recipe for disaster. So, whose job is it to fix this? everyone seems aware of this problem, yet very little action is taken. Are we waiting for people to riot and burn everything like they did during the month of July? Are we waiting for them to reach a point of no return? Their screams seem to disappear into nothingness, and if I may give my opinion, I believe the work should start with the people aware of their privilege that keep a blind eye.
Written by Tiffany Gaetjens