“Whiteness”, the new cliche of stupidity.

Owsley County , Ky. lowest median household income

My comments in bold.

Sean Illing: “Why are so many poor and working-class white Americans endorsing policies that are literally killing them?” Sociologist and psychiatrist (two words give early warning that drivel follows) Jonathan Metzl is being interviewed by Sean Illing of Vox, about his new book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland.

Jonathan Metzl: “That’s the core question I address in the book. I look at the rejection of the Affordable Care Act in the South. I look at policies that make it far easier for people to get guns and carry guns everywhere. I look at tax cuts that benefit wealthy Americans but cut roads, bridges, and schools in poor and working-class areas. (actually the latest round of tax code changes phase out tax deductions that more “wealthy” Americans used to depend on in high tax states, like state income tax deductions) Every one of those policies has been sold as a policy that will make America great again. But they have devastating consequences for working-class populations, particularly working-class white populations, in many instances. I found that if you lived in a state that rejected the Medicaid expansion and blocked the full passage of the Affordable Care Act, you lived about a 21- to 28-day shorter life span on the aggregate. So it was costing people about three to four weeks of life in those states. (slight problem with methodology: the ACA, and Medicaid expansion, went into full effect 2016, just 3 years before this book was published. How can someone draw any conclusions about life span effects with less than 3 years of comparisons???)

“When I looked at states that made it incredibly easy for people to buy and carry guns pretty much anywhere they wanted, I found that this correlated with hundreds of deaths that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, (“wouldn’t have happened otherwise?” Do you have an alternative future generator or some way to prove what would have happened otherwise?) particularly in white populations, because gun suicide rose dramatically. (so, there’s a correlation between gun suicides and legal guns? Did you look at suicide by other means? Aren’t the states you are referring to also leading in ophioid abuse, and doesn’t that correlate to suicide?)And I found that if you lived in a state that cut away infrastructure and schools and funding, that correlated with higher high school dropout rates. (Infrastructure is related to dropout rates how?)

Illing: “Can you explain what you mean when you say this is a structural story, and not necessarily a story about individual bias?”

Metzl: “I found so many instances where people, if you talk to them in their daily lives–and this is true for all of us–are much more accommodating, they’re much more willing to compromise if they can understand somebody else’s point of view. When they engage, when they make eye contact with somebody, they have empathy. And I found that again and again in my research. (Finally, a worthy conclusion)But I also found that there are powerful forces in this country that benefit from polarizing us and keeping us apart.( Like ridiculous conclusions you have drawn from “research”, all trying to make up, then prove the toxicity of “whiteness.” You people are pathetic). People actually benefit from that polarization. And as long as we’re having these polarizing, nuance-free conversations driven by the [National Rifle Association] or Fox News, we’re unlikely to find a common ground.” (sure, Fox and the NRA are the problem, not bogus drivel like this interview and your book!).


Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

2 thoughts on ““Whiteness”, the new cliche of stupidity.”

  1. Good post. Sometimes I wonder why they never ask any of the alleged, “poor and working-class white Americans,” what is going on? You don’t need a sociologist and psychiatrist, just ask them directly. But of course the answer to that is quite simple, it’s because they don’t respect us, they think we’re all stupid, and as far as they are concerned, our issues are invalid.

    I spent years writing letters, testifying at meetings, trying to get someone to listen to me about the Affordable care Act, all to no avail. To this day I can hardly get anyone to even address my concerns, but I know the truth and others do to.


    1. The author says he did talk to lots of people, and in one paragraph in my post I quoted his assessment of how individuals are more fair-minded when they are treated as individuals, rather than part of a group. The problem, as usual, is he and the interviewer need to cut reality to fit their narratives. “Whiteness” must be shown as the fount of evil.


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