2

This is going to sound so stupid, but what word am I thinking of?

My mind is telling me that is sounds something like platonize and it means to take advantage of a certain group (racial minority, lower income families, etc.) and exploiting them in some way for personal gain.

2

I think you might be thinking of two separate words that sound like Platonize

Patronize: to talk to (someone) in a way that shows that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people

and

Plagiarize: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source

Otherwise, a word with a whole similar meaning might be:

Exploit: to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage eg. exploiting migrant farm workers

0

You might want to consider "vampirize:"

vampirize: fig. : to drain the vital essence from; to plunder.

E.g. Most Americans do not believe that the entire country is completely unfair, that a small minority is vampirizing the rest of us.

vampire: a person who preys ruthlessly upon others.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/vampire

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