Societal Issues

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CLASSISM

Classism is one of the more visible and problematic issues in the AE setting. Prejudice based on one's assumed social class is an automatic reflex for most. Someone who comes from the S7 West Side would have a series of assumptions made about him among Terrans, for example, and reactions to him would be informed by that series of assumptions. Someone descended from a peerage family would also have a series of assumptions made about him, and reactions to him would be just as informed by those assumptions.

The hiring practices for legitimate businesses typically reflect prejudices pretty openly - they may not outright tell a potential prole employee that they aren't being hired because of where they come from, but when a less qualified corporate or peer is the person hired instead it doesn't really need saying. Peers rarely if ever find themselves imprisoned or even charged for offenses, corporates receive lesser sentences for equal crimes than proles, and proles are liable to be picked up for just about anything an enforcement officer can dream up based solely on the assumption that they're probably up to something. News networks, knowing they could face considerable pushback and find themselves tied up in lawsuits from individuals with essentially bottomless bank accounts, tend to avoid exposing themselves to the risk of broadcasting negative pieces about upper classmen. Networks are thus over-saturated with frightening stories about crimes committed by proles, and further the notion that they are the bad guys.

It's rare to find a person who is aggressively hateful, however, and refusing to interact with people outside one's social class would be unusual and extreme. Classist prejudice is not a matter of running around screaming about hating those from other backgrounds. Instead, classist prejudice takes a subtler and arguably more insidious form. It's institutionally enforced due to the ingrained prejudices of those involved in those institutions. With the exception of Outsider communities, it would be nearly impossible for a person to grow up without a guided opinion about what types of people tend to come from other socioeconomic backgrounds.

XENOPHOBIA

Within the context of AE, xenophobia is framed as the dislike of or prejudice against people from other planetary cultures. Terrans and Martians are the most notorious offenders in this regard, and primarily against each other. Terrans tend to view the Martians as dirty, belligerent, and backwards. Martians tend to view Terrans as weak, arrogant, and immoral. Though it's not unusual to find a Terran with no inherent prejudice against the Martian people, finding a Martian with no inherent prejudice against the Terran people would be like stumbling upon a unicorn at Z-Mart. For the Martians, resentment runs deep and goes back centuries; fueling that, many Terrans never think about the Martians at all.

In so far as other cultures are concerned, such as the Jovians of Krondstadt, the Venusians of the Dome, or the Saturni of Elysium, the Terran perspective tends to be complimentary if a touch demeaning. Terrans tend to claim credit for the success, function, and beauty of the colonies while simultaneously categorizing them as closer to theme parks than independent and fully formed civilizations. In general, off-Earth cultures are viewed as fairly irrelevant to the overarching development of the species. No matter what curious things the colonies have gotten up to from the sidelines, human culture is simply the culture of Earth. This perspective inevitably feeds Terran behavior in the colonies. Terran tourists are typically viewed as the most obnoxious in the solar system.

NON-ISSUES

Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identification, or biological sex are not even remotely common or perceived as acceptable in AE's deliberately futuristic setting. Things may be shitty in many other ways, but homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and the particular flavor of bigotry that fueled them are today regarded as a shameful mark in the species' very distant history. Coming across a person who holds bigoted views related to the above would be extremely bizarre, as none of it has been a point of contention for hundreds of years.