Can we hear some of those Classist ARK Messes Up Delinquents head canons? It's v interesting and I agree w the classist society part
Okay. Consider this a meta about classism on the Ark
(First of all, I need to say that I didn’t read the 100 book - so I don’t know if any of this makes sense in that context. But I also have the sensation that it wouldn’t matter anyway.)
My little headcanon/theory/rationalisation of the Ark as a society is based on the - rather cynic, but overall i think realistic - assumption that if sexism and racism, as oppressive power structures, seem to have been eradicated completely within the Ark society, then there must have been at least one surviving oppressive power structure at play. In this case, I think it was classism.
Reasons to back this up:
I don’t believe that humanity, when forced to cohabitate in a very limited space - in this case a spaceship - would be able to erase the primal instinct it has to create some sort of divide within the society it inhabitates. If anything, it would get worse. Ergo classism.
There is a clear power rank within the Ark. The Chancellor rules over the Council rules over the Officers and the Guard rules over the rest of the Sky People.
It’s clear that some professions - engineering, medical - are more rewarding than many others within the society. It’s been made clear through things like costume desigm and set design that Clarke, for example, enjoyed a much better lifestyle than the Red Haired Man who Sacrificed Himself for his Daughter or even much better than Bellamy and Octavia, whose mother was a seamstress.
Bellamy desperately wanted to be a part of the Guard because it would have clearly given him and his family the reassurance that they wouldn’t have needed to worry about Octavia being discovered. (I presume that members of the guard rarely get surprise home visits by other members of the Guard.).
Bellamy’s mother resorted to prostitution to ensure Bellamy had a place in the guard and that she’d never have any surprise visits from the Guard itself. The mere fact that she had to do that indicates that she didn’t have that much power within the Ark society. In other words: I don’t think Abby Griffin, for example, would have had a problem just telling an Officer of the Guard not to make any surprise visits, or just straight up recommending Clarke for the Guard. Privilege.
The fact that Wells and Clarke were considered “privileged”, hated and repeatedly mocked by the Delinquents for being related to certain people - the Chancellor and not one but two members of the Council.
Bellamy managed to convince a whole group of teenagers that they’d be shunned, mistreated and belittled once the rest of the Arkers come to Earth in literally half a minute. He managed to convince even people like Miller, whose father was part of the Guard, and Monty, whose mother worked in the pharmaceutical department of the Ark (presumably valuable-ish jobs?)
The sole fact that the Council didn’t include, at least to our knowledge, any member of the supposed “lower” classes is telling. All the known members of the council, who made ALL the decisions, were high ranking in their own profession - but there were no rapresentatives of the “lower” professions such as blue collar workers.
The elective system doesn’t count in the wishes of the lower classes: Each Council member is appointed by the Chancellor and approved by the other Council members. Same goes with the Officers and the Guard.
Information from the Council is disseminated to the rest of the Arkers only after it was approved by the Council - which is why Clarke and Jake Griffin were named traitors in the first place. “Traitors” of the Sky People, when the Sky People were exactly the people they were trying to inform.
almost expect that Bellamy wouldn’t know who Oppenheimer was. Why would she make that assumption about a grown man whom se perceives as an equal at the moment? I think she thought his education was worse than hers, which is probably true.
Murphy seems to not know how to spell/write properly ( die =/= dye). That might be classist of me to assume he’s not educated, but given the fact that we’re led to believe Murphy was part of the lower-lower classes (He was really poor on the Ark, and he’s literally the first person Bellamy turns to when he’s looking for angry lower class Delinquents for his posse on Earth), I think it’s plausible to think that he’s received a worse education than average.
On that same topic: many have interpreted Murphy’s “dye” incident as Murphy having some sort of learning disability, such as dyslexia. It could be, and I think it could even reinfoce my case: dyslexia can be managed, I understand, through a whole lot of support from the educational system, therapy and alternative learning strategies. As it’s true for the real world, often those things aren’t provided to the lower classes at all. This could have been Murphy’s case.
The fact that Raven’s mother was unfit to raise her, was an abusive drunk and didn’t care for her, yet Raven didn’t receive any help from the Ark society at all - in fact, needed to rely on her Friendly, More Privileged Neighbour Finn Collins to survive. Ergo: lacking or nonexistent child support for the lower classes.
The fact that Murphy’s mother was an abusive drunk too, yet he had to live with her for years after his father’d death. Ergo: lacking or nonexistent child support for the lower classes.
The fact that the Ark only started to value Raven as a person when she became useful to them - aka when she started to show incredible mechanical skills and could work for the Ark. (This one is more of a personal observation)
Some in the lower classes were so poor that they couldn’t afford to satisfy basic human needs - John Murphy’s dad couldn’t afford medicine, for example.
Crimes against Sky people are always considered worse than crimes against outsiders - a questionable notion which I think could have stemmed from the fact that the Ark is in itself a place that promotes “us vs them” mentality.
This hierarchy was extended to Earth. Newsflash: Bellamy was right. The delinquents, after having enjoyed their own little Lord of the Flies moment in s1, once again bowed to the same exact power structures the MOMENT the Arkers came to Earth ( cue Kane’s “We’re in charge now”). The Council is back. The Chancellor is back. The Guard is back. No one except a selected few seem to even consider that maybe it’s time to stop relying on a class system that was designed to make humanity coexist under strict control, without possibility of change, in a small spaceship, in the fucken sky. (Maybe it’ll happen in season 3? But I don’t think the show has any time to explore that at all).
When Major Byrne wanted to punish Abby for breaking the rules on Earth, Kane immediately objected by stating that she was a Council member - implying that she should therefore be immediately pardoned. Ergo: te old classist power structures still exist on the Earth.
On the same note: The Sky People are shockedto see Abby getting punished. They don’t expect her to have the same treatment as they would have had in her position!
The Arkers’ justice system is inherently flawed, as it tends to distribute punishment in regards to who’s more likeable, important of influential. It’s the reason why Finn was almost pardoned for having massacred a whole village (more on that later) while Bellamy was arrested for attacking Murphy under Kane’s nose, Murphy was given forced labour for punching a grounder under Kane’s nose during a treaty, or Raven was thrown in jail for slightly attacking a guard under Kane’s nose.
Finn was almost let off the hook for having slaughtered a village. Were it not for the insistence of the Grounders (I cannot stress enough how clear it is that the Grounders were 130% the reason Finn was killed. It was 130% a political move), he would probably have survived it all, and he’d have been pardoned instantly while still being considered a “good person”. Finn didn’t get any dirty looks from anyone after the massacre. That didn’t happen to Murphy, for example (”I was pardoned - slate wiped clean. I’m still treated like dirt.”).
Bellamy trying to murder Jaha is considered more serious than Murphy killing two Delinquents because Bellamy tried to kill an authority figure, while Murphy “only” killed two Delinquents. (AND Bellamy has already been established, at this point, as one of the new Leaders arising from the Delinquents AND he had bargaining power since he knew who was plotting against Jaha)
BUT Murphy killing two Delinquents is more serious than Finn killing 18 Grounders because Grounders don’t matter (AND Finn is considered way more important and likeable than Murphy)
Which shines a light on Murphy’s Law as an episode: 99 power hungry delinquents blindly accuse someone who is exercising his own power in a disruptive way (lil ole equally power hungry Murphy, peein’ on people cause u gotta) of murder and decide to kill him, then banish him. Both of those decisions were based on the fact that he wasn’t likeable at all - Wells’ murder and (I guess) Charlotte’s suicide became pretexts to get rid of someone who was innocent, but unwanted. I am 100% convinced that the classist society in which they lived was the reason why they all, including Clarke “let’s jump to conclusions” Griffin and Bellamy “let’s give up to Mob Mentality or they’ll no longer see me as a leader” Blake, reacted the way they did.
It’s therefore clear that, in a flawed and classist justice system, it becomes easier for someone to get away with a crime when they’re considered important, valuable, or likeable. This leads me to believe that probably a good number of those Delinquents are undereducated, angry, and have probably been locked up for nuisances for which their more privileged peers wouldn’t have been.