Since the opening chapter of A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn asserts that class, not race or gender, is the most important division in American history. He starts by outlining the long-lasting impacts of indentured servitude and slavery on individuals’ socioeconomic class. By the time he reaches the Civil War he explains how different classes felt different ranges of emotion about the war. In the later chapters he views domestic favor for World War Two and the Vietnam War through the context of class structure. Finally, in today’s chapter, he brings it all together. Class is important to American history and, therefore, society because it is the middle and lower classes that must understand that they — not great figures — who must enact change in history. Even though Zinn admits that the US economic and political system allows the upper classes to manipulate the lower classes to be content with the current reality, he encourages the current lower classes to recognize their ability to make change.
In a similar way, the movie Sorry to Bother You encourages the middle and lower classes to recognize their agency. When Cash Green takes a job at a telemarketing company, he is just looking for a way to make some money and help his friends out of a bad economic situation. However, he quickly is promoted up the corporate chain and learns of a plot by one of the company’s customers to control their workers through a class of half-human slaves. In the same way that Zinn recognizes, change is difficult and takes persistence. The first time Cash tries to make change he fails; however, once he gets a whole class of people to revolt at the end, he is effective at getting back at the boss of WorryFree.
Looking at today, the movie and chapter’s message seem to be ringing true. After the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Taylor, and too many other people of color, it was the people as a collective — not some great figure — that stood up and demanded change. I think that the impact of this can be seen in the election of Joe Biden. While Biden has been elected to lead the country forward as its leader, he did not win election through an impressive amount of appearances and speeches. In fact, the opposite occurred. The fact that Joe Biden could win the Presidency on the backs of popular leadership shows that a changing of guard could indeed affect change.