it wouldn’t take long before another topic spontaneously came up, blacks, their problems, their call on government help. At the bottom of the imagined slide was the situation of blacks — teen single moms, kids out in the street at night, slacking off in school, drugs, drink. So, yes, the feeling was, “if we don’t turn this thing around, that could be us.”
Yes, the fear was about rearranging the “pecking order.” But many working-class and middle-class whites without college educations also hate poor whites, who they see as lazy and worthless. Historically, poor whites have shared the same stereotypes applied to poor blacks: lazy, uncouth, living on handouts, and not just having too many children, but practicing “inbreeding.”
tapped into anxieties of all who resented the government for handing over the country to supposedly less deserving classes: new immigrants, protesting African Americans, lazy welfare freeloaders, and Obamacare recipients asking for handouts. Angry Trump voters were convinced that these classes, the “takers,” were not playing by the rules (i.e., working their way up the ladder) and that government entitlement programs were allowing some to advance past the more deserving (white, native born) Americans. This is how many came to feel “disinherited.”
have in recent years been largely unaffected by the tidal wave of family change that first hit the poor in the 1960s and has since moved higher into Middle America. Indeed, highly educated Americans, who make up 30 percent of the adult population, now enjoy marriages that are as stable and happy as those four decades ago.
As you know, the divorce rate and rate of unmarried childbearing in the professional-managerial elite have remained close to what they were in 1960, whereas whites in the Missing Middle now are experiencing sharply higher rates of nonmarital childbearing and family dissolution, which of course hit black families a generation earlier, given that they lost access to the blue-collar jobs that kept family life stable a generation earlier. The white working class is mighty upset about that.
Valuing hard work means having the rigid self-discipline to do a menial job you hate for 40 years, and reining yourself in so you don’t “have an attitude” (i.e., so that you can submit to authority). Hard work for elites is associated with self-actualization; “disruption” means founding a successful start-up. Disruption, in working class jobs, just gets you fired.
It hasn’t been a great time to be a man without a job. The jobs that have been disappearing, like machine operator, are predominantly those that men do. The occupations that are growing, like health aide, employ mostly women.
I don’t want it to sound bad, but I’ve always seen a woman in the position of a nurse or some kind of health care worker. I see it as more of a woman’s touch.
Elite men, you will notice, are not flooding into traditionally feminine work. To recommend that for white working class men just fuels class anger.
Intensive investments in children, signaled by higher child-care time and by growing expenditures on children, are concentrated among college graduates.
If social and economic changes have reduced the value of marriage to non-college graduates, these changes may also be responsible for a further causal, and generally deleterious, effect on men’s behavior.
is the increase in premature mortality among significant sectors of our society – due to preventable deaths such as suicide, opioid and other drug overdoses, and heart, liver, and lung diseases. These deaths are most prevalent among uneducated middle-aged whites in rural areas.
Opinion Charles M. Blow
Trump Is His Own Worst Enemy
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