Alllla’ these motherfuckers bleating about the white working class, white men, working men, poor poor real white American working class men: shut up, shut the fuck up.
I’ve got nothing against white working class men—my dad was a white working class man! my brother! my brother-in-law! my neighbors and almost everyone I knew growing up! all white! almost all working class!—but I am sorely tried by all of these commentators telling ME that I need to be kinder, gentler, toward those poor poor real white American working class men.
It is fucking condescending.
I totally (well, maybe not totally, totally, but substantially?) understand why black people are tired of being told that they need to set aside their concerns for their own survival and focus on those PPRWAWCM; such counsel is white power in action.
But it’s also more than that: it’s a way for the non-working class white folks—men, let’s be honest, men—to demonstrate once again their superiority over every fuckin’ one.
Barack Obama was scalded for talk of bitter rural folks clinging to guns and religion and Hillary Clinton raked for drop-kicking some portion of the population into the basket of deplorables, but give some white dude a coupla’ column inches in the Times or Wall Street Journal and he’ll be lauded for his perspicacity in writing the exact same goddamned things.
Economic anxiety and fear and opioids and a disintegration of the American Dream and all are wrapped up in the soothing murmurs of I see, I see, as these pundits metaphorically pat their subjects on the head and assure them that It’s completely understandable they would feel this way.
This is, in the words of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Y’know all those working class men I mentioned, above? They weren’t all racists. My parents, with their high school educations, somehow managed to teach all three of their children that racism was bad, that it was bad to be racist.
Were/are my parents prejudiced? Sure. But they didn’t and don’t think that indulging that prejudice was anything that decent people did.
They didn’t expect any of us to be perfect, but they did expect us to be better.