How the Class War Masquerades as a Race War
When I was in college, I was trying to date three girls at the same time. Each one I told them that I was seeing them exclusively. Everything was working perfectly ... so long as they did not ever talk to each other. When they met each other (in some class some semester) and started talking, then my plan fell apart.
From this, I learned that you can lie to different people (or groups of people) and the lie will continue only if those groups never mingle.
Since then, in my study of Labor History, I have found two examples to illustrate how racial divisions aid the upper class to remain in power.
California, 1960s, Cesar Chavez. Even the briefest overview reveals that, until the Hispanic workers stopped crossing the picket lines of striking Filipino workers, the bosses would be able to keep wages and conditions down for everybody.
Another example is the Ludlow Massacre in 1914. Put succinctly: 32 different ethnic/linguistic groups united for better working conditions, so the bosses called in the state militia to murder as many of them as they could, including their wives and children.
These two examples illustrate just how afraid the ruling class (yeah, sure, read "CAPITALISTS") are against ethnicities working together.
Now ... I'm not suggesting there is a cabal of these guys sitting around eating caviar in a luxurious club somewhere. What I'm saying is that there is a system in place by which owners of corporations and investors have a vested interest in ensuring that the workers do not organize to demand higher wages and better working conditions, two things that noticeably eat into net incomes. What I am saying is that such in the ruling class, thus, have ZERO vested interest in any program that creates communication across different ethnic communities. As long as they are in different housing projects and generally don't talk to each other in society, then it is no danger if, by this division, they naturally fight amongst each other instead of uniting to fight side by side.
Granted, this is a generalization of these societal forces, based on both personal experience and a few examples; however, I believe the theory is sound, and to date, I have seen little evidence to contradict it.