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The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has a new survey on the attitudes of "white working class" voters. That label has become an imprecise catch-all that makes for great headlines and conversation among the pundit classes; but it is much more slippery when actually examined empirically.

For example, a good amount of research has demonstrated that poor people tend to vote for the Democrats. Yet, white men who do not possess college degrees, and have "blue collar" jobs, tend to vote overwhelmingly for Republicans. And in the aggregate, "white working class voters" men without college degrees, and who are not working in salaried jobs, overwhelming support Mitt Romney.

The idea that working class white people are possessed of false consciousness, and are voting against their material interests when they support the Tea Party GOP has become a type of truism. Nevertheless, I believe it is largely an accurate description of their behavior. However, I have also come to realize that perhaps these voters are simply using a different voting calculus, one where white skin and the psychic wages of whiteness matter more than other variables. Their politics are not "abnormal" per se; rather, these voters are simply working towards a different set of goals.

As a complement to this observation, the PRRI has some rich findings that include:

3. White working-class Americans are more likely than white college-educated Americans to believe that blacks and other minorities have received too many advantages and government attention.

Six-in-ten (60%) white working-class Americans agree that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities, compared to only 39% of white college-educated Americans.

Nearly half (49%) of white working-class Americans agree that over the past few decades the government has paid too much attention to the problems of blacks and other minorities, compared to 32% of white college-educated Americans.

White working-class Americans in the West (40%), Midwest (48%), and Northeast (48%) are less likely than white working-class Americans in the South (58%) to believe that over the past few decades, the government has paid too much attention to the problems of blacks and other minorities.

[A question: if the elite classes and the federal government are dominated and ruled by white people, and whites have a majority of the country's wealth, income, and resources, just who is discriminating against "working class whites?" The logic never made sense to me. Is the argument that white elites are giving an unfair leg up to people of color in some great chess game where the goal is to hold down other white people? How does such nonsense logic get validated and circulated?]

White people have long lived in a different life world than people of color. Segregation, narrow social networks, and a society where citizenship is racialized, has nurtured many white fictions in the service of white power and the white racial frame. Colorblind racism is an intoxicant. In the Age of Obama and the post Civil Rights era many Americans have drunk deeply from said bottle.

Moreover, the specious belief that America is either 1) free of discrimination and/or 2) that white people are somehow oppressed can be found among white folks in the aftermath of the Civil War, those living during Jim and Jane Crow, as well as in the present. It is an old script that is not going away any time soon. Education helps some, although still not enough, to have their eyes opened to the realities of systemic white privilege and racism in this society. There is hope that ignorance can be overcome. However, education is no cure all, as 39 percent of white college grads still hold onto similar fictions.

One of the ugliest phrases in the English language is "qualified" minority or female job candidate. Why? Because it presupposes white male competence and ability.

As I (and others) have long argued, the mediocrity of white people has been subsidized, encouraged, and nurtured by the State. "Affirmative Action" for white people (and white men in particular)  was the stated policy of the United States government for most of the country's existence. The upward mobility of white people, and the federal government's subsidizing of the white middle class, came at the expense of people of color, and was facilitated by discrimination against black and brown Americans in both the public and private sphere.

With a contracting economy, demographic shifts, and more competition from non-whites, those protected, coddled, and entitled white folks--semi-skilled white laborers especially--are afraid because the fiction of their omnipotent competence has been exposed. Such a moment of realization must be terrifying, as it upsets one's cognitive map, and a worldview where whiteness and white people are naturally at the center of all things. People of color have long understood that the myth of meritocracy is just that, a lie, a chimera, and a fiction. Many white folks are finally waking up to that fact and are not taking it too well.

The PRRI survey also has one additional finding that I would like to highlight:

5. Despite being economically disillusioned, white working-class Americans strongly believe in American exceptionalism. Although white working-class Americans are less likely than white college-educated Americans to believe the American Dream still holds true (47% vs. 63%), they are more likely than white college-educated Americans to believe that God has granted America a special place in human history (70% vs. 42%).

Every culture and society has a set of beliefs that it must reproduce in order to remain whole and coherent. But are white working class people who still believe in American Exceptionalism, and that God has granted the United States a "divine" destiny, not setting themselves up for a horrible fall?

How will they manage their cognitive dissonance when confronted by how other countries are rising in power, have much higher rates of inter-generational mobility, happier and healthier populations, and that the United States is in decline? What will these white working class people do when forced to deal with those facts?

Originally posted to chaunceydevega on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've got a partial answer to your question about (37+ / 0-)

    the sense that elites "holding down" whites. I got this growing up in rural, extremely white Minnesota. You've heard the "reverse discrimination" claims. Imagine what happens when one black cop gets on the force in a town with nearly no blacks in it. "Favoritism", "Quotas", you know the routine. And resentment between the working class is actually a goal of the oligarchs. If we're fighting each other we won't stop to realize the common enemy, them, is who we should be fighting together. So they work to foster resentment of blacks, Latinos, etc. in the rest of society. Hell, Rash Limpballs pratically makes it a daily requirement on his show.

    If we got Mitt to be slightly less dishonest and gave him some personality he could pass as a used car salesman.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:20:24 PM PDT

    •  Nobody wants to be John Howard Griffin? (20+ / 0-)

      For those who weren't of age in the 60's John Howard Griffin was the author of "Black Like Me", a non-fiction book about his travels as a white man who darkened his skin to "pass as a black man" and traveled in the south in 1959.  The book came out in 1961.

      I always challenge the knucklehead in my neighborhood who claims that blacks have it made, "Why don't you darken your skin and go black? Imagine all the benefits you'll score!"

      He stammers and backpedals. Even he realizes that being black in the SF Bay area is still no assurance of a gravy train.

    •  I had a different experience, growing up in LA (17+ / 0-)

      I was a frontline manager, in charge of hiring my entire staff of about 30 employees.

      My company had no quotas, but I tried my best to make my workforce reflective of the community I was hiring from.  That meant it was mostly latino.  In a staff of 30, I had my own "quota" of 4 Black employees.  It was not company standard at all, but I figured 15%.  

      These jobs I was hiring for were not particularly skilled jobs...I was working for a competitor of FedEx...But there were record keeping skills, penmanship skills (this was before all electronic delivery logs), customer service skills, driving and navigating skills (you'd be surprised how many people don't know that even numbered addresses are on one side of the street, and odds on the other).  

      But the most surprising, and the most challenging thing, to me as a manager was the quality of the job applications that were dropped off with my office manager.  

      One can go into the whole thing about "Black sounding names", and that is an issue...there's no doubt about it.  There is also an issue of entry level Black youth, seeking entry level jobs, who have never been coached, mentored or simply given good advice by caring, responsible elders, as to how to present themselves when applying for a job.

      Don't show up, for example, with a coterie of buddies, who hand out in the lobby or just outside the door, talking loudly and profanely, while you, as a jobseeker, are interviewing with the decisionmaker who is within ear reach of your friens...

      Don't fill out a job app in pencil

      Don't leave blanks to specific  "Why did you leave your last job?"  

      Don't ask for a jon app, take it home and fill it out, and get food stains on it, and then turn it back in, expecting a call back.  Ask for two, just in case, and turn the cleanest one back to the prospective employer.

      It isn't necessary to dress up for an informal job...but don't dress "down", either.  Leave the athletic shorts and T-Shirt at home.  There's nothing wrong with a clean pair of jeans, that aren't hanging halfway down to your knees, and a polo shirt.  I'm not hiring a deejay for a block party...I'm hiring a courier that will be going into professional business entities...and entrusting important documents to us for expedited delivery and safekeeping.  Look like you grasp that concept.

      I could go on...but you get the picture.

      It was challenging adhering to my own, personal "affirmative action" program.  There were White applicants that I discounted at first sight, or at first perusal of their job apps...
      There were more minority applicants who never made the first cut...not because they were minorities, but because I felt they had put so little effort into trying to get my attention as a hiring person, that I had to wonder how indifferent they would be if I actually offered them a job.

      This is a real fucking problem.  And if you've never been on the front line, you have no idea how real it is.

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:10:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  blame the war on drugs (7+ / 0-)

        our prisons are filled with minority non violent drug offenders who werent around to raise their children to do those things properly since the war on drugs + minority offender  biased laws began decades ago under Nixon and Reagan , who sold drugs to make ends meet and put food on the table

      •  the people I have heard complain loudest... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bnasley, Keith930, whaddaya

        are African-American managers.

        At a barbecue a few years ago a Black mom who worked for Coca-Cola told just about the same story.

        and a half a dozen others chimed in.

        I felt like my  caucasian @$$  was hiding in plain sight.

        It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

        by sayitaintso on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:36:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  i've had that same experience from a hiring POV (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish, Keith930, whaddaya

        and a big chunk of those "memorable" applications came to me when i was managing a university student union and were from college freshman & sophomores.

        This is bigger than me. Its bigger than polka even. So I guess I'll help. - the tao of Butters

        by bnasley on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:19:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is not a racial/ethnic issue but lack of (4+ / 0-)

        training .I live in NW New Mexico close to the largest reservation in the country therefore the majority of our applicants are native. I see the same issues with these applicants from some of them but not all. It seems that the ones that are from the families that live out in the sticks that do not have running water or electricity are the worst. They have nothing to compare their experiences to so do not know what is acceptable and not. I see many non native applicants come in the same way. The applications usually have many missing parts of information, misspelled words or illegible handwriting. I just believe like you said that they have not had anyone to coach them on the correct way to present themselves in order to gain employment.

        Considering these observations I have come to believe that a good portion of the unemployment statistics include these applicants. That most employers dismiss due to their lack of job searching skills and actual life skills needed to get a job and be successful at a job. As an employer we cannot always afford to take a chance on someone that does not appear to be ready to hit the ground running to work.

        •  In my town a few churches got together and (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, LucyTooners, Boudicia Dark

          created an organization called Bridges Out of Poverty.

          Actually this may have been created elsewhere and just adopted here. I honestly don't know.

          Volunteers are gathered from around the community to teach people victimized by systemic poverty... EVERYTHING. From how to read and write, to how to dress and speak and act. Helping them understand credit so that they can learn to save money and build credit to buy their own home some day. I have an eye for style in clothing as much as what color looks good on you and what cut so I'm dubbed for that and what I refer to as the Jane Austen role since I have a degree in English Literature I coach speaking, vocabulary and deportment.

          You're right, it's not just a racial or ethnic issue. There are certainly some areas in the country where you might see a larger concentration of one ethnic group needing this kind of coaching but that's sort of incidental, I think. Here, where I'm from we have mainly blacks enrolled in the program and what's interesting about that is the fact that at my office I'm in charge of application intake. A lot of the local white people could really use this kind of training and support as well. But maybe it's too liberal.

          •  I am not sure if there are organizations like (0+ / 0-)

            you describe here as I am not tapped into the religious community. I do in my observation see a correlation between lower income individuals and lack of skills to make it to the next step of gaining employment and keeping it. It is hard to put it into words as I have never been exposed to it directly until moving here 10 yrs ago. The drop out rate in NM is extremely high and it reflects in the quality of job applicants that I see. Applicants come in all stripes and sizes not just one type or race.

            I work for an electrical contractor so of course we employ people that have worked in the trade. The electrical trade is evolving to where it is demanding more technical skills and not just braun. So many of our electricians and helpers were trained on the job and do not have the technical skills to be successful in the trade to reach the higher paying jobs. We see it because the ones that do have those skills move away to bigger markets for better pay and we get the left overs that remain. We have struggled for years to find a foreman that has a strong set of skills to run the crews.

      •  You hit the nail on the head when (0+ / 0-)

        You said they had no elders to mentor them.

        If peace is to prevail we all have to become foes of violence.

        by spacejam on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 10:03:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  ambiguous definitions of "working class" (4+ / 0-)

      Working class is defined in two contradictory way in US political discourse. economist John Quiggin (friend of Paul Krugman) explains and parses the data re supposed support of Republicans among "white working class":

  •  First It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time Before (29+ / 0-)

    the white lower class accepts that other countries are doing better than us at anything. They certainly won't hear it from mainstream media or many politicians.

    Mr. Obama himself never (that I heard) said the US wasn't #1 in health care, a common belief, even while he was promoting his signature reforms. The most I heard him say was that we paid more for "no better" outcomes when in fact we ranked #37. That was an utterly astonishing omission in selling reform for which America paid dearly in 2010.

    America ranks just about last among developed nations in availability of the American Dream of upward mobility; we've been behind Europe and Scandinavia in this for at least 20 years, maybe 30.

    So there's no reason to expect the working classes white or otherwise will come to know America's rank in the world, ever.

    The white working class was the target of racist fear and anger mongering for political gain beginning no later than when civil and voting rights passed. It's perfectly logical considering that blacks were so economically disadvantaged, it was naturally going to be working class jobs that first began to open up for them, so the white working class would find its world changing the earliest.

    The white working class is not low information so  much as high disinformation, which they get from media, employers and church, and so they don't vote against their interests as far as they know. Their racism is their fault, but the rest of their state of disinformation is something the global economy has spent many fortunes to establish.

    I don't know how we can expect lesser educated people who by their class standing have little spare time and ability to inform themselves, to be able to reject the world view presented to them by their country and their God.

    It's a hundred times easier to say what they ought to be knowing and thinking than it is to figure out how to reach them. For me anyway.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:24:32 PM PDT

  •  Excellent. (17+ / 0-)

    hink there is some truth here:

    I have also come to realize that perhaps these voters are simply using a different voting calculus, one where white skin and the psychic wages of whiteness matter more than other variables.
    Especially this: psychic wages of whiteness.

    It gives some people a world view that explains their own struggle and failure to be rich, along with a feeling of being superior.   There is a psychological payoff to these people.  

    Vulgar economic determinisn is not a good explanatory tool for much behavior, although uppeer classes often seem to have mopre class conscionsness.  

    Even sophistacted Marxist analyses often miss much.   Granschi in the 30s did some good work that sometimes helps in understanding, but the intereaction of ideas and economic place in our society is quite complex.  

    These racists are immoral and I think declining over time.  But there are still way too many.


    I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

    by TomP on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:35:36 PM PDT

    •  are they even "racists?" or has the language (8+ / 0-)

      shifted so much that they are just "normal" folks who are scared at "those people?"

      a subtle but important distinction. you know where I come down on this one, was curious as to your thoughts.

      •  I think they are racists. (10+ / 0-)

        Any fear they feel is not rational.  

        I suppose racism has been normalized in our nation for a long time, but that is breaking down bit by bit.  I think the language is shifting away from "they are just 'normal' folks who are scared at those people.'"  There was a time, perhaps in the 60s, when racism was more mainstream.   While many whites still have various privileged viewpoints and racial views, I think this brand of working class racism is a minority view and no longer has societal approval.  

        I think language is shifting to isolate these people.  It takes time.  Two terms of Obama as President will impact the young in a positive way.   I'm an optimist.  :-)

        I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

        by TomP on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:33:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tom - you know I like you but the whole race line (0+ / 0-)

          has a disturbing similarity to the 47% stuff.  You can't condemn huge groups of people -- especially with such a final condemnation as "racist".  That is wrong.

    •  I don't know what you consider (8+ / 0-)

      vulgar economic determinism but I don't think that recognizing crude economic realities qualifies. In a contracting labor market, anything that lessens the likelyhood of obtaining a job is going to be viewed as a threat and cause for resentment.

      From the individual perspective of the worker classed as "white", any program or policy that insures that a percentage of job slots go to those classed as "non-white" excludes the "white" worker from consideration. It is, bluntly, Pollyannish to expect such a person, struggling for survival in the current economy, to not be receptive to the argument that they are being penalized for being classed as "white."

      We can talk all we want about unlearning racism, white privilege, etc, but until we can assure at least the prospect of a decent job to the majority workers regardless of color, we're likely pissing in the wind.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:35:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, been saying that for awhile. (5+ / 0-)

        It is a tough sell to tell someone, by virtue of their skin color that they should voluntarily weaken their economic prospects and give up on fulfilling whatever life's ambitions over abstract concepts such as privilege and other things.

        Take a young white male, he has a girlfriend, the two live outside of a major city. Both have at most Associates degrees and are looking for jobs, trying to start a life, trying to fulfill whatever dreams the two of them have. Its a tough sell to tell them to support programs that may harm their economic futures, may disqualify them from jobs and making their dreams that much more difficult.

        All the Tim Wise in the world won't convince someone to plausibly make their life more difficult to give someone they don't know a leg up over things such people might not feel responsible for and that seem rather distant either geographically or chronologically. As you said, unless one can assure the majority that their lives won't become all the more difficult (I.E. Assuring jobs) it is really just piss in the wind.

      •  those formulations (12+ / 0-)

        exclude past history and causality, i.e why would such programs exist.

        it also excludes tons of evidence about racism in the labor market where the most unqualified white person gets more call backs and opportunities as compared to a more qualified black candidate.

        they are also handy right-wing fantasies that--save for rare cases where onerous and especially egregious past discrimination was ordered remedied by the courts--do not exist. quotas are a myth.

        now, if you are talking about the idea that public monies ought to be contracted out to a representative body of contractors that is a different matter and all good sense.

        white people, white men in particular, have had every advantage in this society and scrape, scrap, cry and complain when they don't get "their fair share." little do they realize they have been receiving far more then their fair share and have been doing so the disadvantage of others.

        in all a group of spoiled brats who got all the toys now complaining that they have to share a little bit.

        •  past history and causality... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn, Laconic Lib, Onomastic

          I totally understand what your saying but I think my greater point was these things seem abstract, ethereal, or divorced from the route calculation and lives of working class white voters. Your telling that person he is advantaged, privileged and should accept what seems like a disadvantage.

          Unfortunately that person doesn't typically agree with you.  And I'm going to say, being condescending to that class of people is not going to win the votes. Again, take the people in my scenario, white working class male and female, with lets say no more then an associates under their belt. It is going to be tough to tell them that these laws, programs ect are over all something they should support when a case can be made its a net negative for their economic survival. Even if its totally perceived the case can be easily made.

          And responding with "Spoiled brats!" isn't much of a sales pitch.

          •  the truth is the truth; if i have to entertain (8+ / 0-)

            lies and fantasies to win over white working class voters by entertaining their false beliefs in bogeymen and ghosts like "quotas" or "reverse racism" we have nothing to discuss.

            white privilege is a sickness that i am not going to entertain. i am especially unwilling to entertain its delusions.

            •  The problem is it's not delusional (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              McUisdon, Laconic Lib, oldhippie, mattc129

              If you have ten jobs and twenty applicants, fifteen of whom are classified as white and five of whom are classed as non-white and a policy in place that mandates some portion of the ten be filled by people of color, those jobs are not available to those classed as white. That's not a delusion, that's a fact, just as it's a fact that without such a policy people of color would likely not have the same number of jobs, if any, available to them. It's utterly counter factual to pretend that there isn't a conflict of material interest involved here and no amount of moralistic high dudgeon will wish it away.

              I don't expect you to be overly concerned about about the interests of undereducated, blue collar workers who are classed as white. I would expect that you'd be concerned to insure that they aren't pitted against the interest of workers classed as non-white. On both sides of the color line you have people who are struggling to support themselves and their families. Any anti-racist strategy that doesn't recognize how actual, not fanciful, conflicts of material interests are manipulated to foster racial division simply won't succeed. Such strategies ultimately play into the hands of those who profit by such division.

              There is simply no point in demanding that people ignore the interest of themselves or their families. People in general are not Saints and absent coercion, they will not willingly sacrifice either of the above. The only practical approach to collective action is collective interest and that cannot be discovered by refusing to recognize where interests conflict and attempting to reconcile them.  


              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:24:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  do you have some evidence for these fictions? (6+ / 0-)

                "If you have ten jobs and twenty applicants, fifteen of whom are classified as white and five of whom are classed as non-white and a policy in place that mandates some portion of the ten be filled by people of color, those jobs are not available to those classed as white. "

                are you talking about public contracts or about something else? if you are talking about the myth of quotas see my above comment.

                contemporary white colorblind racism works though perpetuating the myth you have outlined. another one i encounter with students is the "the black kids get into school because of their skin color." i tell them the real fact is that the only group with a leg up in admissions are the children of rich donors. i then ask them if being a "minority" is so easy with all these perks would they change places with them? shuts up the conversation really quick.

                even in your scenario with its big bad black and brown bogeymen, white men are still getting the most jobs, will be promoted ahead of equally qualified people of color and women, and yet complain about how they are "victims." as i said white privilege is a mental illness that has done great harm to white people.

                i understand symbolic racism vs. material group interest and all the stuff. i just ask that we not perpetuate white people's delusional beliefs that some unqualified colored person is taking "their job"...another fiction that they are entitled by birth to something.

                if anything, corporations are outsourcing and people of color have been hit the hardest by the great recession and our country's transition from an industrial to an information age economy.

                •  Perhaps I misunderstood (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Laconic Lib, McUisdon

                  Are you saying that affirmative action policies don't exist? I thought you had just made a defense of such as necessary to address our long history of racial discrimination. That's an argument I happened to agree with but it now sounds as though your saying that such polices either don't exist or that they don't really impact hiring decisions. If this is, in fact, your position I stand corrected.

                  OTOH, if you accept the proposition that hiring decision are made with an eye towards shielding employers from charges of racial,gender or age bias, it's impossible to exclude such criteria from the decision to hire a particular individual.

                  This doesn't imply anything about the relative merit of the applicants, particularly in a contracted job market with chronic high unemployment. However, it's inevitable that there will be instances where the criteria above will be the only distinction between applicants of equal merit. As I've indicated elsewhere, this wouldn't matter much in an expanding or full employment economy. It's a different story though, when there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available.

                  Of course if I misunderstood you as outlined above, all of this is moot.

                  Speaking from personal experience though, I probably wouldn't have the job I have now if it weren't for laws banning age discrimination. I don't doubt that there is a line of much younger folks who'd be glad to replace me. In this instance at least, I have the advantage of them.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 06:16:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You've piqued my curiousity (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Laws against age discrimination are notoriously weak...what kind of job do you have due to such laws? Or are you just still in a job that would have once had a mandatory retirement age?

                    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                    by Alice in Florida on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 01:30:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm a Teamster (0+ / 0-)

                      The work I do is physically demanding. It is, I think, a certainty that if they could, the company I work for would limit their employees to 20-30 somethings. It would serve their interest in a number of ways.

                      Nothing human is alien to me.

                      by WB Reeves on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 02:05:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Sounds to me like it has more to do (0+ / 0-)

                        with union membership than age-discrimination laws.

                        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                        by Alice in Florida on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 08:08:30 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Why would you assume that? (0+ / 0-)

                          Certainly Union Representation helps but it didn't get me hired in the first place. This is a "right to work" state.

                          Since we're speculating, you said that age discrimination laws are notoriously weak. Your not suggesting that they provide no protection whatever, or are you?

                          BTW, are you a Union member?

                          Nothing human is alien to me.

                          by WB Reeves on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:38:54 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not employed (0+ / 0-)

                            It's a long story, but I went to law school in the 1990s (passed the Mass. bar but never found employment as an attorney (did mostly paralegal temping, including a part time job for a state legislator, moved out of state when my husband got a job in Florida and was unable to find work here).

                            What I learned in constitutional law class was that there are basically three levels of scrutiny under the Equal Protection clause: strict scrutiny (which applies to discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, religion), intermediate (which applied to sex discrimination) and "rational basis" which applied to categories such as age or disability. I also recall that any kind of discrimination case was tough to prove, since most employment is "at will" and thus an employer can hire or fire for any reason under the sun other than those few prohibited by law (union jobs being an exception, at least as far as "firing" is concerned).  

                            As for truck drivers, while those in their 20s would have lower health insurance costs, I wonder if they would have higher driver-insurance costs? Maybe someone over 40 would have enough of an edge in judgment and reliability to make up for being less physically resilient than a younger person? Just a thought....unless you were hired as part of a legal settlement of an age discrimination suit?

                            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                            by Alice in Florida on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 08:14:12 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  3 out of 4 of the jobs (8+ / 0-)

                Are available to those white applicants...yet if a white applicant is not hired it is because applicants of color had an unfair advantage... have not proven that any of the white applicants were more qualified than any applicant of color yet you have no problem presuming that the applicants of color had to have been less qualified.

                This reminds me of a conversation I had with a our childhood we were close friends but we hadn't been in contact for nearly 30 years...he blames quotas for his not being able to realize his dream of being a firefighter in NYC... And says if they had not hired some black and Hispanic candidates he would have gotten the job. At the time he applied he was over 350 lbs with chronic asthma and a long list of allergies and could not pass the physical or the fitness requirements...but it was quotas that kept him from getting the job...

                Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                by awesumtenor on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:19:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I never said that there was an unfair advantage (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Utahrd, mattc129

                  And it's not a matter of qualifications either. It's a question of math. If you have more people looking for work than you have jobs available, it's a given that you will have a surplus of qualified applicants.

                  Assume all the applicants in my hypothetical are qualified. It doesn't effect the logic of the situation. If the the employer uses color as a criteria in order to avoid charges of discrimination, it will automatically limit the number of slots available to be filled. That's objective fact.

                  I certainly don't think that's any more "unfair" than the reverse: hiring nothing but white workers. Personally, I think the former is more fair but I don't expect someone who's on the losing end to share my view and I don't blame them for feeling screwed.

                  This isn't an argument for "colorblind" hiring. It's an argument for fighting for full employment. As long as there is a scarcity of work it is going to aggravate the racial tensions in the working class and exacerbate latent and not so latent racism amongst white workers. Something that ultimately only benefits the 1 per centers.

                  Moralistic hectoring isn't going to fill empty stomachs or pay the rent.

                  I think you ought to go back and reread my comment. I didn't make any of the arguments you're attacking.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:06:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  as I said (4+ / 0-)

                    You wrote:

                    "If the the employer uses color as a criteria in order to avoid charges of discrimination, it will automatically limit the number of slots available to be filled. That's objective fact.

                    I certainly don't think that's any more "unfair" than the reverse: hiring nothing but white workers. Personally, I think the former is more fair but I don't expect someone who's on the losing end to share my view and I don't blame them for feeling screwed."

                    I can't and won't boo hoo or have sympathy for people, as a class, i.e. working class whites, who have been benefiting from white skin privilege for centuries and selling short, screwing, and getting over on black and brown people through either active or tacit consent with white supremacy.

                    I am not that noble. I immediately think of all of the human talent, potential, capital and ability that could have been leveraged into wealth creation and upward mobility if those same whites had chosen class loyalty over a racial hand up. You can fight that fight; they are your people; work with them if you can.

                    As Brother Malcolm said the chickens are coming home to roost.

                    •  Shocking enough... (4+ / 0-)

                      Working class white's have very little sympathy for your causes. I wonder why? It's a humdinger.

                      Even more so the left has trouble, I just can't imagine what is causing us to stumble.

                      Okay I can't snark harder.

                    •  I think your attitude is completely (4+ / 0-)

                      understandable on a personal level. However, you misunderstand my point. I'm not asking you to have sympathy for a class. I don't sympathize with classes. I sympathize with individual people. That's to say, I try to understand their point of view.

                      This isn't a matter of altruism. It's a matter of practical necessity. I learned a long time ago that other people weren't going to automatically conform to my notions of proper conduct. If I was going to have any chance of influencing their behavior, it wasn't going to be by objectifying them; treating them as mere cyphers representing some social or moral category.

                      I can see why you feel the way you do about this. That your first concern is own community is both a matter of collective and personal self preservation. I can't fault you for that.

                      My point though, is a matter of practical analysis. The reality being that this system categorizes people according to "color" and places them in individual economic competition with one another on that basis. So long as this structure endures, racism will endure. If this competition is intensified by economic crisis, racism will intensify as well.

                      You are quite right that it's not your responsibility to grapple with this crisis within the white class. That is the responsibility of people such as myself. As I indicated earlier though, I do think you have an interest, as does every person of color, in the outcome of this internal struggle. I respectfully suggest that the contours of that struggle ought not to be a matter of indifference to you.      

                      Nothing human is alien to me.

                      by WB Reeves on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 03:30:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Some years ago (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  the son of a white friend of mine went through a firefighter academy, and upon graduation, applied for jobs with a few fire departments in the area. He didn't get hired by any of them. One fire department he applied to hired its first black female firefighter from the same crop of applicants. When his son told him about it, my friend's reaction was "She took your job, Eric".

                  •  Loss of privilege (0+ / 0-)

                    even when the privilege was never deserved, still feels like loss...that's the root of a lot of the "reverse discrimination" stuff. Expanding the potential labor pool (women and minorities) has made society more fair but also benefitted the upper class by driving down labor costs and pitting the 99% against each other.

                    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                    by Alice in Florida on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 01:39:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  On one level (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    that's an extremely stupid assertion, since there's nothing to show that your friend's son would have been hired, even if the fire department hadn't chosen to hire its first black, female firefighter. Likewise, there's the ugly assumption embedded in the remark that the woman in question couldn't possibly have been more qualified than your friend's son.

                    OTOH, there is an equally ugly underlying economic reality at work here. That being that an increase in the pool of labor available for a job lengthens the odds against any particular individual getting that job. It's undeniable that if your friend's son hadn't had to compete with women or people of color he would have enjoyed a commensurate increase in his chances of being hired.

                    I hope you'll understand that by pointing this out I am in no way endorsing such exclusion. I consider the moral and ethical objections to such discrimination to be compelling, not to mention the demands of common decency. However, as recent events have made glaringly clear, the economic system under which we live doesn't operate on the principles of moral or ethical decency, or even simple equity. This system functions by pitting each against all in an amoral scramble for relative advantage.

                    Confronted by this system, the individual has a stark choice. They can either accept this brutal logic or they can oppose it. I'm afraid your friend has fallen into the camp of acceptance, probably with no conscious appreciation of where such logic leads.

                    For myself, I long ago chose the opposite course which has its own set of consequences, primarily the relinquishing of "success" as this system defines it. I can cheerfully accept this since I am responsible for no one but myself. Others, with the obligations of marriage, family and Parenting, can't afford to be so blithe.

                    This reality justifies nothing but it does reveal the material basis for the persistence of racial animus among workers classified as "white." It isn't a question of intellectual or moral incapacity. Rather, it is a capitulation to the grim logic of our economic reality.

                    "The circumstances of our lives must be changed, fundamentally and without these changes, everything we do must fail."

                    -Peter Weiss      

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 01:57:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  awesumtenor's would-be firefighter friend (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  awesumtenor, Plantsmantx

                  is typical of the uneducated white males who believe Rush when he tells them that liberals have ruined their lives:
                  - they'd all be CEOs (or firefighters, or Harvard grads) if it wasn't for affirmative action.
                  - they'd all be rich, if it wasn't for taxes.
                  - they'd all be married to gorgeous women who adored them and satisfied their every wish, if it wasn't for the fem-nazis.

                  See a pattern here? None of their failures are due to their own shortcomings. It's always some else's fault. They are incapable of looking in a mirror and thinking, "Gee, I weigh 350 lbs, might be hard passing that firefighter physical, maybe I better lose some weight and get in shape." Nope, it's easier to blame the liberals for ruining your life.

                  Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

                  by vulcangrrl on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 11:32:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Those formulations (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          also reflect a zero-sum mentality.

  •  That's easy... (7+ / 0-)
    What will these white working class people do when forced to deal with those facts?
    Blame the colored folks.
  •  I think the calculus is pretty simple (4+ / 0-)

    The fewer competitors for a shrinking pool of available jobs, the better your odds. If you're a "white" worker, the existence of any program or policy that results in a certain number of jobs being distributed to folks classified as "non-white" lowers your odds of getting hired even as it raises the odds of a person of color being hired.

    The end of Jim Crow didn't lead to an expansion of the working class's share of the economic pie in order to accommodate the entry of African Americans. Rather, it resulted in the distribution of existing employment opportunities among and increased number of workers. Not an insurmountable problem so long as the post war economic expansion continued. However, with the end of the boom the screws began to tighten. No surprise that this correlates with the GOP's increasing reliance on the politics of white resentment.

    The only real solution to this is the creation of an expanding job market for the working class as a whole: "white", Black and Brown alike.  

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:07:31 PM PDT

    •  In the predominant mindset (0+ / 0-)

      is zero-sum, an expanded job market won't make any difference in how these people feel.

      •  This depends (0+ / 0-)

        on whether or not a particular mindset exist independent of, or precedes from, material circumstances.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:12:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That attitude (0+ / 0-)

          among many in the white working class has endured through good and bad economic times, so I think it is independent of material circumstances.

          •  I think (0+ / 0-)

            that the level of white racial animosity has risen and fallen according to objective circumstances. Just my opinion based on observation and study. I don't have any hard statistical data to back it up.

            Do you have any to support the view that it has remained constant?

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:25:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you've (0+ / 0-)

              studied it, you should have some hard data.

              Most of, if not all of the opinions and attitudes Chauncey outlines in his post are expressed by working class whites, and they're held regardless of the state of the economy at any given time. Now, the volume of that animosity, as in loudness, may fluctuate with the economy, but it's always there.

              •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)
                If you've studied it, you should have some hard data.
                I take it the answer is no, you don't have any "hard statistical data" to support your view either.

                Statistical being the operative word here, your assertion that I ought possess such data if I'd studied makes little sense. One can study a great deal of history without encountering statistical analysis.

                For example, it doesn't require a statistical analysis to recognize that Northern attitudes towards slavery were very different at the end of the Civil War than what they were at its beginning. Likewise, despite the continuing racism in the "white" south, there are substantial differences in the attitudes of the present and those that were dominant under the Jim Crow regime.

                Why you make a difference of opinion and a query about the basis of your view into an occasion for implying either dishonesty or misrepresentation on my part is a question only you can answer.

                Most of, if not all of the opinions and attitudes Chauncey outlines in his post are expressed by working class whites, and they're held regardless of the state of the economy at any given time.
                Obviously you think so but there's nothing in Chauncy's piece that actually supports that conclusion. Given the character of your response, I conclude that you aren't prepared to support it with anything more than a bald assertion that it's so.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 02:23:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I can't speak for anyone else, but MY family (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ducktape, Odysseus

    elders grew up in a time where people of color "knew their place" (which was, BTW, always lower than ANY white). As white protestants (except for the LDS contingent), they left NO room for anyone of a different color, religion etc.

    In order to dispense with this insulting view, it would require one to actually BELIEVE in equality. That didn't come about by any legal means, it requires a LOT more than that and it still hasn't come to pass.

    My elders worked to move upward from poor to middle class and I believe they felt threatened by anyone who didn't have EXACTLY their experience.

    I was so glad to finally leave home and the hatred it held within its walls.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:08:09 PM PDT

  •  Insecurity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All members of my parents families grow up in extreme poverty,  and thus were economically very insecure. Of course they were also poorly educated secondary to the poverty.
    When you are in that condition, it leads one to align themselves with some powerful institution such as corporations or religious organizations.  
    Entrenched economic interests percieve this insecurity and use the phantom of a dark menace that will greedily take what little you have from you.  This keeps you ailgned with their interests instead of your true economic interests.  
    Also, because of your hidden insecurity you align yourself with the military charisma and the attached imperialism.
    Religious organizations also prey on this condition.They enforce segregation in churches to insure that the white parishioners maintain the belief that they are exceptional.  


    by michealallison on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:09:05 PM PDT

  •  Insecurity (0+ / 0-)

    All members of my parents families grow up in extreme poverty,  and thus were economically very insecure. Of course they were also poorly educated secondary to the poverty.
    When you are in that condition, it leads one to align themselves with some powerful institution such as corporations or religious organizations.  
    Entrenched economic interests percieve this insecurity and use the phantom of a dark menace that will greedily take what little you have from you.  This keeps you ailgned with their interests instead of your true economic interests.  
    Also, because of your hidden insecurity you align yourself with the military charisma and the attached imperialism.
    Religious organizations also prey on this condition.They enforce segregation in churches to insure that the white parishioners maintain the belief that they are exceptional.  


    by michealallison on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:09:28 PM PDT

  •  Tribalism (7+ / 0-)

    This is what I predicted over a year ago before Paul Ryan became a household name. Ok, I got Palin wrong and the VP wrong, but I think I got the rest.

    From its founding, the white plutocrats have been able to talk the white masses into believing they were part of the same tribe. Look at the civil war where non slave holding whites were pitted against each other. Or the Northern race riots pitting the 'blacks' of Europe--the Irish--against dark skinned Americans.

    This is the real race card that has been played for 200 years.

    And as I've said before, Romney has elevated the dog whistle way beyond any fluency that Palin and Gingrich may have demonstrated. Lee Atwater would be proud.  Romney is counting on the 47% either not to know or not to care that he is talking about them. As long as the white guy is in charge, this cohort will be comforted that the universe is set aright and that they still have a chance. They worship Donald Trump, who probably makes more money duping aspirational whites that they too can get rich. It is the reason that the meme that Obama doesn't believe in success rings true with these folks.

    That is why putting a white face on the 47% is so critical. These folks persist in believing it is the brown and black sapping this country.

    If I were to make an ad to the 47%, I would play Romney's words back with the slogan,

    He's just not that into you.

    "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

    by never forget 2000 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:30:05 PM PDT

  •  Extremely offensive - Delete this post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    White working class men support Obama more than middle class white voters, and as much as rich limousine liberals.  Please stop spreading hateful lies.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:03:00 PM PDT

  •  actually, i think a fair analogy can be made, (0+ / 0-)

    to the stages of grief. the first stage being denial. this class of people denies facts that don't comport with their long-held positions. those that survive the initial "heads exploding" phase (and there will be a few), when they are forced to recognize the truth, for whatever reason, stand a chance of long-term survival. however, they are going to be forced to work harder, and maybe go back to school, to compete in the new marketplace.

    those working in the professional levels of government have already been through this, for several decades now: no one gets in without at least a bachelor's degree, and probably a license to go along with it. no one. this is also why gov't workers have higher average salaries than non-government workers, they are better educated and more experienced at what they do, on average.

  •  Pushing down is easier than pushing up (6+ / 0-)

    It's a fallacy that society has just black and white people, or that all white people are essentially the same tribe.  Rich people control society by knowing how to divide those beneath them.  Poor white people are not as privileged as rich white people.  But when put under pressure, competing with poor black people because the rich are screwing them both, who do the poor white people fight?

    Now if you were a dumbass scholar who looked "rationally" at who the enemy was, you might think that the poor white people would turn on the rich folk who were screwing them.  If you believe that, you'd never understand how the British Empire was built!  The second-from-bottom group, when pressured, fights the people who it thinks they can defeat, the ones on the bottom!  So poor whites turn against poor blacks.  The rich are unscathed.

    Similar patterns emerged among groups in Ceylon/Sri Lanka (leading to the recent civil war), India, Pakistan, South Africa, and many other places.  Why should the US be any different?

    Of course the civil rights era of the 1960s led to remedies created by rich white people, which simply pitted poor white people against poorer black people.  This led to white backlash and ongoing racism, and white support for racist rich whites who screw their own electorate.  That's just how it works, and if we don't understand it, we can't fight it.

  •  It would help a lot if Republican leadership (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Condemned incidents of racism rather than ignoring it, or even expressing some glee.  They use fear and bigotry as a political tool.  And I'm sure both parties have room to improve.

    We're ALL better off when we're ALL better off!

    by susanWAstate on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:51:04 PM PDT

  •  You know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, mattc129

    instead of railing against white working class Americans and their indeed misguided support for republicans perhaps it would be good to actually discuss their perspective.  I realize that the purpose of this piece was not do this but its far more useful and less derogatory than accusing half the population of racism.

    Just a few potential sources of this discomfort

    1) Articles like this accusing wide swaths of people of racist sympathies.  These articles do nothing but shock people into thinking that their is a conflict against them.
    generic white person perspective "Hey this person is attacking the generic perspective of 50% of white people and being derogatory to them in some random shock article... I guess there really are people who racist against white people"

    2)Public norms about race.  In general it is accepted to have "I am minority X and I am proud of it." statements made while the statement "I am white and I am proud of it" gets you social disdain.   I remember the uproar a year or so ago when some people tried to setup a white only scholarship fund. I think it turns out that the ones doing this were racist but is my general perspective on all of these "scholarships"

    3)  Racial based outreach programs, considering race for college admittance etc all there to help underprivileged youth... There are plenty of poor people out there that you dont need to target a particular race or ethnic background. Poor asian,black,white,hispanic people need help. When a poor white kid hears about all of the programs explicitly aimed at people not them it can make a person go "WTF".

    You can argue that these programs are needed but even if they are it does not change the fact that they are guaranteed to create resentment.

    And to answer your "question"  current levels of racism have little to do current levels of wealth and privilege.  For right now white people make up the majority of the wealthy and privileged because 50 years ago the same could be said to be true.

    Racism would only effect the rate of change not the current status.

    Everyone in the 50 states could suddenly become massively pro Indian (positive racism). That does not mean tomorrow Bill Gates is not going to be the richest man in the US....Racism takes time to have an effect.

    The argument to be made is not that there is no racism or uneven barriers. Its that perhaps balance is a better goal. Perhaps not every fortune 500 has to have a web page dedicated to diversity . At every turn of the corner there is some new diversity event. The ubiquitousness of that keyword can be exhausting when the goal seems to be to help everyone out but a certain subset of the population.

    •  allow me to insert finger into throat (4+ / 0-)

      in order to induce vomiting. i have no use for white victimology, white victimologists, or white concern trolls who want to defend "white pride."

      as my grandmom and grandpa told me the minute someone starts yelling "white pride" grab your baseball bat and gun. if they start yelling "white pride" and "U.S.A." get the hell out of there cause they are gonna hang your black ass from a tree.

      i like this though:

      "At every turn of the corner there is some new diversity event. The ubiquitousness of that keyword can be exhausting when the goal seems to be to help everyone out but a certain subset of the population."

      Please accept my hug for your having to endure such hardships and oppression as a diversity event. I know it hurt to be reminded of all your privilege and stuff. My apologies.

      •  So you read the last paragraph (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Care to actually comment on any of the ideas? Are none of those mentioned possibly the root cause of this general feeling?  Or maybe you could offer you own estimate why this perception exists ? Or does this opinion occur only because from your numbers you think 50% of white people are racist? Or is your goal simply to rant and insult people?

        I dont want to defend people who go on about white pride etc. I want to disparage the use of "x pride" as a whole, and point out the hypocrisy of people like you, whom attack one group's use of the phrase but apparently encourage the use by other groups; directly causes the feeling among some people that there is racism against them.


        •  what does the dominant group (5+ / 1-)

          in a society that has validated them in every way have to be proud of?

          I mock "straight" pride, "white" pride, "male" pride all equally. I am all for black and brown pride, gay pride, women's pride, and ethnic pride for those groups who have had to struggle.

          It is laughable when folks with all the toys, especially regarding how whiteness is a social identity prefaced and dependent on social power and dominance, want to celebrate itself.

          There is a reason why those shouting white pride are often killing other people. Whiteness is inseparable from domination, thus such acts necessarily are validating an identity built upon violence and otherizing.

          Sorry, "White" people have little to celebrate in this society save for their power. I can't cosign such acts of hegemonic glee.

          I don't care about white victimhood. You need to sell that somewhere else as "white" and "victim" used together in this society is almost an oxymoron.

          •  HR for "whiteness is inseparable from domination" (0+ / 0-)

            That's about as blanket of a statement anyone can make. I'm a white male, and I love Louie CK's standup bit making fun of advantages available to white men, but to claim that being white inherently means we will dominate everyone is totally wrong.

            Yes, history supports that theory, but classifying all whites like that is no different than me saying all minorities are poor and on welfare. It can't be an all or nothing classification.

            •  you clearly need to do some more reading on the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              subject. Whiteness as a political, social, philosophical, and moral category is prefaced on domination. I am not talking about "white people," per se. Although, a similar claim can be made there too.

              Up your game and get in the big kids pool before you offer an HR on matters you don't understand.

              Start out with Saxton, Allen, Goldberg, then some Ignatiev, Roediger, and Mills. Yancy and Feagin have lots to offer too--especially the concept of the white racial frame.

               I could offer many more suggestions but that should keep you busy. Nell Painter's book White People: A History will help you too. As would Jacobson's work Roots Too and Whiteness of a Different Color.

              The BBC series on the history of racism is a good too on these matters. Volume One would also help get you started in your education on these matters.

              •  You can philosophize all you want (0+ / 0-)

                but when you say "whiteness as a political, social, philosophical, and moral category is prefaced on domination" you lose me. That's a complete generalization, even if history is on your side.

                Yes, since the days Europeans set foot in America they have pillaged anyone in their way, but as I said before, that's a huge generalization in current times. I've read comments from others above and I agree with them that it's very difficult to convince individuals to think at the big picture. I read a great comment about 2 months ago that said the working class is increasingly concerned with having a job literally right at this moment, and it's hard for them to consider long term.

                While I think that's a dangerous mindset to have, it explains white working class workers' fears of not having a job literally right now. Again, it's a naive position to take, but you can't just use greater good pitches. You have to tie it into personal, present life conditions that they are facing.

                •  again you don't have the grasp to understand (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  what I am saying. go do the work. moreover, if history is on my side, it would tend to also suggest that my claim is accurate.

                  whiteness does not necessary equal white people. in fact, there were no "white" people until the 17th century. there were european nations and "ethnic" groups. for white people and whiteness to come into existence required domination and subordination of entire groups of people who were marked as "black" and Other.

                  i am not interested in reaching out to white working class voters. do not misunderstand my intention. someone else can take on that task; i have enough to concern myself with regarding the mental safety, security, uplift, and health of people of color.

                  •  good luck with that then (0+ / 0-)

                    if you are just gonna take care of your own first, then what's the point of even reading your diaries?

                    you can't rail on whiteness and white privilege (which I acknowledge exist) saying look at all the inherent advantages white people have but fail to recognize and then say, fuck it, not even gonna bother trying to bring more people into my cause. because they way you're attempting to bring people to your cause isn't working

                    it seems like you fully expect things NOT to change, so you're simply protecting your own rather then possibly offering solutions to bring everyone together.

                    •  i am black pragmatist and realist; black americans (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      WB Reeves, Plantsmantx

                      have given oh so much, and i dare say too much, to recuperate and fix this democracy. we need to take care of our own house; white folks need to fix theirs and throw out some of the overflowing trash cans that are stinking up the place because no one is going to do it for you.

                      when white folks say "teach me" I say teach yourself. just a motto and life mantra.

                      •  Other issues aside (0+ / 0-)

                        I think this is impeccable advice.

                        Nothing human is alien to me.

                        by WB Reeves on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:33:26 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  nothing but a racist. (0+ / 0-)

                        This comment says it all about you an your perspective. Above you spout off some names like it is supposed to give credence to your "words".  I originally used the word "argument" however you have failed to that and are simply "whining".

                        You pretend to read and yet get nothing from the words you pretend are your source. You babble something about racial separatism than pretend that you have something for others to learn from. You complain and fail to even try to analyze a problem. You simply lump everyone with a different prescriptive than you as bigoted.      And yet you yourself are nothing......but a racist.

                        •  oh stop. can you even define racism? (0+ / 0-)

                          i doubt it. critically engage or please stop trolling.

                          "however you have failed to that and are simply "whining"."

                          I love how the white racial frame is so omnipresent here, assuming you are not a colorblind racist troll, you should read my post on liberal racism here on the daily kos. it would help you a great deal.

        •  You might as well argue (0+ / 0-)

          that the "pride" of the British Imperialist was equivalent to the "pride" of the Indian Nationalist.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 04:08:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good money quote: (0+ / 0-)
    I have also come to realize that perhaps these voters are simply using a different voting calculus, one where white skin and the psychic wages of whiteness matter more than other variables.
    Except you could expand it to fill-in-the-blank:
    I have also come to realize that perhaps these voters are simply using a different voting calculus, one where ___ and the psychic wages of ___ matter more than other variables.
    Like it or not, people are voting their values and interests.  They just are different.

    and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring that the child who had trembled at a rod would never dare to look upon a sword.

    by ban48 on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 04:37:22 AM PDT

  •  Walter Reuther R.I.P. (0+ / 0-)

    Walter Reuther, United Autoworkers Union President died in a plane crash at Pellston, Mi, 5/9.1970 at the peak of his strong and wise leadership.

    He was one of the few labor leaders who saw the economic and political encouragement and exploitation of working class racism as a threat to the longterm success of the union movement.

    He chose to stand beside Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.  He spoke against the war in Vietnam.

    The failure of other labor leaders to follow his lead is a tragedy that we are still living with.  The clever adoption of the "Southern Strategy" by the Republicans is an evil that poisons all.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 05:31:48 AM PDT

  •  The white working class in not "coddled." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, whaddaya, Laconic Lib

    They may be less disadvantaged than non-whites, but if you use words like coddled you can't expect them to hear what you're saying.

    My maternal grand-father worked in a chemical factory and suffered from illnesses he contracted as a result of that work. When he could no longer work, my grandmother, who was a seamstress, supported the family. He had belonged to the IWW and supported civil rights because he believed that it was important that the working class not allow themselves to be divided.

    You ask:

    Is the argument that white elites are giving an unfair leg up to people of color in some great chess game where the goal is to hold down other white people?
    My father's Wasp family turned their back on him when he married my mother because she was the wrong type of white.

    Until Democrats are able to understand what motivates working class whites to vote against their apparent self-interest they will not win their vote. Thirty years ago I would have agreed with you enthusiastically, nodding my head as I read and tut-tutting about the benightedness of working class white men. If a working class white man thirty years ago believed that the Democratic party was abandoning its commitment to the working class to align itself with the interests of global corporations, that with no support for labor from a major political party the rich would get richer and the poor would get poorer and we would be on a slow, but seemingly unstoppable, route to a Hobbsian world of each against all where any advantage, no matter how small, could mean the difference between life and death, he would have been right. Who is suffering from cognitive dissonance? If you feel that there is discrimination in hiring, do not blame the poor white man who ultimately has no power in those decisions. Blame the wealthy who, despite their veneer of civility and boarding school manners, ultimately hold the reins.

    Dividing workers one from another is Capitalism 101.

  •  Granted, I work in a strange place (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    About 20% of the jobs where I work require Spanish language skills.  20% more require some other language.

    Your skin color doesn't matter; all that matters is if you can produce profits for the employers.

    My job doesn't require Spanish, but I speak it and I was chosen over more qualified candidates because I speak it.

    I suspect that my workplace isn't the only one like this and I suspect that there are more every day like mine.

  •  Thank you for finding that survey and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for your intelligent assessment. They are very helpful to me regarding something I am writing. Especially at the end you get at what frightens me a lot (can America transition peacefully to being one nation among many?). Obama's election and probably re-election suggests that it is possible that it can and even to remain in a leadership role cooperating with other nations. I sure would not have bet on that during the Bush years.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 09:43:22 AM PDT

  •  Interesting survey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    its seems the way to win white working class americans would be with greater calls for economic fairness.  When Dems put the focus on economic equality, they win.  Obama and the Dem's allegiance to Wall St. hurts them with these voters.  

    This also explains why Rush and the rest of the conservatives are so focused on ginning up outrage over Affirmative action and immigration.  It is the distraction from economic issues it always been.  The only problem with the Republican strategy, and the white working class voters who support them, is that the demographics are changing.  Republicans are going to have to find ways to expand their base or else risk becoming a permanent minority.  Sorry Repugs, voter ID won't work.  As they try to expand their base they will inevitably alienate some of the people they seduced with gods, guns and blame the other guy tactics.

    This is all to say I think we can expect a major shift in the parties over the next 20 years.  I don't know how it will go.  But someone needs to make the connection between white working class voters and minority working class voters.  Together, you have an unstoppable populace force.  Which is what really scares corporations and those in power (see the fear generated by OWS).  

  •  "There is hope that ignorance can be overcome." (0+ / 0-)

    I gave up on that a while ago.

  •  "How does such nonsense logic get validated?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves

    You ask this question in your excellent diary - it's not hard to answer. The people who accuse the white elite of giving minorities an unfair leg up believe that they do it for two reasons:
    * "Liberal guilt" -  a psychopathology where a misguided liberal white person feels responsible for all the sins of all the whites throughout history and seeks to atone by forcing ALL whites to be extra-nice to minorities. Rush loves him some liberal guilt.
    * Political pandering - politicians basically buying the minority vote by giving them stuff. Stuff that is, of course, stolen from white people. This is a dog whistle that Romney has blown repeatedly.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 11:22:05 AM PDT

  •  While I agree with most of this article, (0+ / 0-)

    I also believe that it is in our best interest to not drive a wedge between white men and the Democratic Party.  Perhaps we are at some fault for not doing our job of informing and educating these people with the truth.  I also see this dissing of southern people.  As a white southern man I wish to remind all kossites that there is a whole bunch of us white southern blue collar men who are Democrats.  I never see anyone asking for our help and advice, only asking for money when some purple or blue state candidate or dscc/dccc wants some damn money.

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 12:18:57 PM PDT

    •  The solution is (0+ / 0-)

      to speak up about it, as you have done here.

      Here's a quote that might that might buck you up a bit:

      "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
       If I am only for myself, what am I?"

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 02:35:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. Lynsey Graham has recently (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida, WB Reeves

    stated that, "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."

    So, of course they're going to try to create more angry white men.

  •  Great post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plantsmantx, WB Reeves

    I lover your posts Mr. DeVega.  The insight into the effects of race in America is something that I, as a pasty-faced guy who grew up in one of the whitest places you could imagine, really value.


    How will they manage their cognitive dissonance when confronted by how other countries are rising in power, have much higher rates of inter-generational mobility, happier and healthier populations, and that the United States is in decline? What will these white working class people do when forced to deal with those facts?
    They've BEEN confronted with it for years, and the way they manage it is to deny it, and to create their own reality in which it's either not true, or it's the result of Lib'ruls, and Those People.

    Not to go all Godwin, but for example, in WWI Germany got its ass kicked, which should have destroyed any thoughts that the Germans were some kind of superior being. And yet, 20 years later Germany fell under the spell of some clown who told them they were the Master Race.  

    How was it possible that the Master Race could have been defeated by the Lesser Peoples?  Simple - Lib'ruls and Those People, in this case Jews.

    I've already seen the 'Lib'ruls and Those People' argument made overtly on a forum dominated by rural white conservatives, and of course the whole 'Taking Our Country Back' is just that overt racism cloaked in denial. And they'll cling to it tighter than a tick no matter what.

    •  LOVE your posts, not 'lover' (0+ / 0-)

      What, is there no editing capacity?  You'd think I'd know.

    •  Nothing "Godwin" about this (0+ / 0-)

      The historical, cultural and psychological comparison is apt.

      One point though. While this kind of thinking was wide spread in Germany following WWI, it never attained hegemony until after the conservatives ceded the Chancellorship to Hitler, which didn't occur until four years after the onset of the Great Depression.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:19:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Limits on Safety Net CAUSING this Problem! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves

    While looking for the famous Craig T. Nelson "I was on food stamps, welfare...I didn't get a bail out" quote, I saw someone remark on a forum that it's practically impossible for a single male to get welfare.

    This person may or may not be aware that in some states a single person may be able to get food stamps and up to $330/month in rent subsidy money. They are probably thinking of welfare in terms of a cash subsidy that you can spend on expenses - that's not there for single men OR for single women!

    I don't know why no one ever factors in the plight of single women without kids, who are just as ineligible for a safety net as single men.

    Anyway, the reason these  working class whites are so bitter about social services is because they think (rightly) that there is no safety net for them. They also think (wrongly) that people who fit into various racial categories DO get welfare in the sense of something to meet their expenses.

    One of the reason Social Security is generally accepted is the sense that it's universal and everyone did their bit to earn it.

    The terms of welfare, on the other hand, are obscure to people who aren't actually on it. While no one wants the money they've earned to be redistributed to someone else, there is a disconnect between voting against social programs and the assumption that people are being vetted for help "somewhere" and thus shouldn't be begging and sitting in the street.  No one wants to think of themselves or their society as there MUST be a safety net.

    But since the white single guys aren't getting it, where is the safety net? It might be going to those black people, who are living large on welfare without having to work for it!

    The problem is the political smoke and mirrors surrounding welfare. The solution is a massive educational effort to let people know what welfare consists of and who gets it and what the path out of it is supposed to be.

    The other major solution is to implement a welfare system that is a true safety net, bridging the gaps between, say, health issues that make one unemployable, and the time it takes to get that person back in the workforce.

    Then make that system universal and make sure everyone KNOWS its universal.

    As long as white males think it's impossible for them to get welfare while black people, male and female, are getting their lifestyles subsidized, the GOP will have a lock on the resentment vote.

    Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

    by breakingranks on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 03:51:12 PM PDT

  •  I live in an area that is undergoing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves

    unprecedented change in its demographics.  Our once 90 percent white city that had only four or five black people and a few more Hispanics (some who's families were here well before the Revolutionary War) now has a majority of minorities, has increased tremendously in foreign born population, and has very complicated racial politics that no one is tracking well, or even beginning to understand.

    I see a lot of publicity for outreach programs for all the newcomers.   English programs for people speaking over 100 different languages,  senior activities geared toward specific ethnic groups, parenting classes offered through the police/schools/health services to help parents stay in touch with their kids.  Special programs to get the new kids into college;  special programs to alleviate the serious ethnic gang problems we have, special small business programs for people new to America.

     Wish somebody would put together a program for 'white' people to learn to deal with multiculturality and diversity.

    Maneuvering through this polyglot society, to make a living and retain some comforts and leisure and status amongst friends and family is becoming increasingly difficult, fraught, stressful, and no longer as rewarding as it used to be for many of the locals, who have either cocooned into their homes with less open social contact, or moved away to more 'traditional' areas of the country.  

    Competition for wealth and status and educational access is incredibly vicious, and people are always playing their various race, gender, ethnic, and linquistic cards as well as they can.   There is, indeed, discrimination all around; white kids seem to be getting the worst of it in many ways, and there may be glee for some in seeing what went around coming back around. Black people sometimes feel that some of the newcomers are more racist than our home grown varieties.  

      It's not the simple black white issues anymore, but it's a competition/cooperation dance involving ever changing alliances.   You got the East Asians, many Chinese, with differences between the Tiawan, PRO-China, and Ethnic Chinese from Vietnam; the very different South Asian peoples and their interesting caste attitudes.  When we talk about Indians here, we have Amerindians or Native Americans or East Indians; Pacific Islanders as diverse as those from the Solomons and Fiji and the Philippines and Guam.   We have several different ethnic groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israelis, Russians.   The greatest divide seems to be generational, however, with the old tech adults and grandparents, and the new tech kids.

    Most of the immigrants seem very concerned with keeping their original cultures and language;  a generation ago immigrants would usually discourage their children to not speak their mother tongue so they would integrate more easily.  There is some voiced worry about the increasing 'Balkanization' of the state as a whole.

    Many of these people are active investors or representatives for people in their home countries who are betting on business and investment success here in the United States;  a lot of complex banking and business and information  transfers carried on here have nothing to do with Americans of any nationality.  We've gone global, and American interests are not of primary importance in most neighborhoods here.

    We've got to get leadership that understands and can weld together the people who are committed to raising their families here and will commit to common American goals and values and customs -- sadly, wealth acquisition seems to be the only value shared by most.  

     We have to be able to face up to opportunists of every type who are  are truly a threat to our futures.   We have to have some measure of security so that people won't become stressed, defensive, and more greedy than they need to be.

    I don't mean to minimize the differences between Black and White culture in the US, but I think we've got some bigger differences that have to be managed coming down the line.   There will probably be some pretty big battles coming down the line about what being an American really means.  

    •  you are right the black white binary is being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      upset while still being omnipresent.

      •  This is the thing. (0+ / 0-)

         It appears to me (and this is only my opinion) that it is all too easy for the newcomers to adopt the existing paradyme of white vs. black and try to 'fit in' within the existing status quo, or establish a position either separate from and outside the existing social chaos,  or else superior to both the black and white strata in terms of money and education and 'culture.'

          Times of rapid change would offer, on the other hand, a chance for all of us to completely change the structure to something much more inclusive and efficient with improved quality of life for everybody.    But we need leadership of some kind to get there.  

          We could be having a 'golden age' of social relations if more people would see and act on this possibility, but it doesn't look good right now.   Maybe it's just darkness before the dawn kind of thing.

    •  This is a real contribution to the discussion (0+ / 0-)

      The social and political terrain is shifting under the traditional racial/class categories.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:27:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that's how I see it. (0+ / 0-)

         But this may only be in the more cosmopolitan worldly cities;  many people are leaving here for places with more 'traditional' social structures, resulting in a local population mix with more connections and allegience to outside interests and organizations, and a hardening of traditional attitudes in the 'heartland' areas.

          That leaves a vacuum and little interest in civic support systems for the families that are trying to create a society here and now.    Witness the California problems with funding and maintaining quality public education!

        Our local council is made up of a pretty well balanced ethnic mix,  but the politics is more complicated and that gives an opportunity for less effective civic management, and a greater chance of manipulation by powerful development interests.  

        Our local newspaper (part of a conservative conglomerate) has little relevant local news any more, the broadcast media is conglomerated, so people have a very limited view of 'what's happening'  and who is behind it all.  

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