Why the White Working Class Is Alienated, Pessimistic

Ronald Brownstein, Yahoo! News, May 31, 2011

{snip}

The demographic eclipse of the white working class is likely an irreversible trend as the United States reconfigures itself yet again as a “world nation” reinvigorated by rising education levels and kaleidoscopic diversity. {snip}

Still, amid all of this change, whites without a four-year college degree remain the largest demographic bloc in the workforce. College-educated whites make up about one-fifth of the adult population, while minorities account for a little under one-third. The picture is changing, but whites who have not completed college remain the backbone of many, if not most, communities and workplaces across the country.

They are also, polls consistently tell us, the most pessimistic and alienated group in American society.

The latest measure of this discontent came in a thoughtful national survey on economic opportunity released last week by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project. {snip}

One question asked respondents whether they expected to be better off economically in 10 years than they are today. Two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics said yes, as did 55 percent of college-educated whites; just 44 percent of noncollege whites agreed. Asked if they were better off than their parents were at the same age, about three-fifths of college-educated whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics said they were. But blue-collar whites divided narrowly, with 52 percent saying yes and a head-turning 43 percent saying no. {snip}

What makes these results especially striking is that minorities were as likely as blue-collar whites to report that they have been hurt by the recession. The actual unemployment rate is considerably higher among blacks and Hispanics than among blue-collar whites, much less college-educated whites.

Yet, minorities were more optimistic about the next generation than either group of whites, the survey found. In the most telling result, 63 percent of African-Americans and 54 percent of Hispanics said they expected their children to exceed their standard of living. Even college-educated whites are less optimistic (only about two-fifths agree). But the noncollege whites are the gloomiest: Just one-third of them think their kids will live better than they do; an equal number think their children won’t even match their living standard. No other group is nearly that negative.

This worry is hardly irrational. As Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists Frank Levy and Tom Kochan report in a new paper, the average high-school-educated, middle-aged man earns almost 10 percent less than his counterpart did in 1980. Minorities haven’t been exempt from that trend: {snip}

But for minorities, that squeeze has been partially offset by the sense that possibilities closed to their parents are becoming available to them as discrimination wanes. “The distinction is, these blue-collar whites see opportunities for people like them shrinking, whereas the African-Americans [and Hispanics] feel there are a set of long-term opportunities that are opening to them that were previously closed on the basis of race or ethnicity,” said Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster who helped conduct the Pew survey.

By contrast, although it is difficult to precisely quantify, the sense of being eclipsed demographically is almost certainly compounding the white working class’s fear of losing ground economically. That huge bloc of Americans increasingly feels itself left behind–and lacks faith that either government or business cares much about its plight. Under these pressures, noncollege whites are now experiencing rates of out-of-wedlock birth and single parenthood approaching the levels that triggered worries about the black family a generation ago. Alarm bells should be ringing now about the social and economic trends in the battered white working class and the piercing cry of distress rising from this latest survey.

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  • Anonymous

    Being constantly told “you” are at fault for all of the worlds problems or maybe having to constantley feed, cloth, educate and provide housing for more and more dregs of society has something to do with it. The White Middle Class in this nation has been taken advantage of for far too long.

  • Anonymous

    “The demographic eclipse of the white working class is likely an irreversible trend as the United States reconfigures itself yet again as a “world nation” reinvigorated by rising education levels and kaleidoscopic diversity.”

    Reinvigorated by rising education levels? We have a large minority population that is falling behind in every measure of achievement and educators fudging the numbers so they don’t lose federal funding thanks to “No Child Left Behind.” Yes, we are reconfiguring ourselves as a “world nation”, a “third world nation.”

  • Bill

    How could Mr. Brownstein report on the Whites who feel that they have a dismal future without mentioning that the government discrimninates against them with affirmative action and minority set-asides?

  • E Pluribus Pluribus

    “That huge bloc of Americans [the white working class]. . . lacks faith that either government or business cares much about its plight.”

    ===

    Or the education system. “Stick it to the white male” is the shorthand way of understanding the how the diversity/multiculturalism ideology that is the new religion of the education system — from kindergarten to graduate school — translates into admissions policies at elite universities:

    “When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely.”

    SOURCE: “How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others”

    By Russell K. Nieli, MindingtheCampus.com, July 12, 2010

    http://tinyurl.com/34wpfpq

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t working class whites just go ahead and get college degrees rather than whine? Is it low IQ or laziness?

  • Anonymous

    I am not sure I trust anything that guys named Brownstein and Mellman have to say.

  • SecularRealistJew

    The White Working Class is alienated for the following reasons:

    – Nobody asked them whether they wanted to be replaced and displaced by affirmative action for lesser qualified people of “minority” backgrounds — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them whether they wanted to lose their jobs to outsourcing — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them if they wanted to learn about how special black and African heritage is, meanwhile their own heritage is neglected or openly denigrated — BUT, nevertheless, IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them if they wanted to see their formerly-safe neighborhoods, suburbs, cities and villages ruined by Section 8 entitlement programs — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them if they wanted their children beaten up, harassed, bullied or molested by children of “minority” background — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them whether their children would quit working at service-sector hotels, restaurants, fast-food chains, grocery stores, etc., to be replaced by illegal immigrants — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them whether they wanted to go to church or synagogue and be lectured by elitist clergy on “social justice” and “civil rights for minorities” when their own families were breaking down or in need of uplift — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them if they wanted to spend half of their accumulated life savings (or all of it) constantly moving to stay safe from crime and other scourges of “multiculturalism” — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    – Nobody asked them if they were OK with rounding up inhabitants from the most hideous and backward corners of the Third World and plopping them down as “refugees” in their communities — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

    These are just a small fraction of the reasons that the White Working Class is angry, pessimistic and now ticking.

  • SecularRealistJew

    I’m from a really small town where most of the people are working class without a college education. My dad was a Vietnam vet who came home, got a job in a factory and worked there until he was 61 and the plant shut down and relocated to China. He was lucky, being only a year away from retirement. Many of the people he worked with were in their 40s or 50s, mortgage, kids in college etc, and most of them had worked there for years. It’s the same with a lot of the factories around here. Our government has colluded with corporate interests in shipping out an extraordinary amount of jobs. These are some of the biggest reasons that the white working class feels the way they do, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Most of them could care less about world events, and just want to take care of their families.

    These are good, salt-of the-Earth types we’re talking about here. They don’t want a handout or sympathy, they just want the opportunity to earn their keep. We hear so many people screaming about unemployment benefits and social spending, and most of those screaming are a paycheck or two away from the same situation. It’s time we got back to actually caring about what happens to our neighbors, and demanding accountability from our leaders. We need to stop listening to those who demagogue issues for personal gain. We’re inventive, hard working people who can outproduce anyone, and turn out the highest quality products while doing it. Until we stop letting ourselves be led like sheep, nothing’s going to change, but the good thing is that we can stop it. We need to start now.

  • Who In Their White Mind?

    And yet, as telling as that last paragraph is, I doubt there will be anyone to stand up for the poor White man’s decline, as they did for blacks 30 years ago. And still continue to do today. And the irony in all of this is the fighting that will occur for smaller slices of the American pie. For all of the years that we’ve heard about the angry White male, there will be a pount when the anger manifests itself into aggression. I don’t want it to come to that, but it’s a very real possibility.

    As yhe debt ceiling will continue to climb and $ dries up for shear survival type needs, the government spending will continue on special-interest ideals. Of course 95% of this spending is NOT FOR native born heterosexual White Amrican Christians w/in working age, the exact demographic this article speaks of. When the $ dries up (not if), there will be millions of White Americans needing assistance, and there is no Sharpton & Jackson lobbying hard for reparations for us. Save now, if it’s possible.

  • John Engelman

    White blue collar workers have been badly treated by both major political parties. During the 1960s a decline in the prison population, for which the Democrats must be blamed, lead to a doubling of the crime rate. Leniency toward black rioters lead to five years of black ghetto rioting that often threatened white working class neighborhoods.

    Crime continued to rise during the 1970s. Democrat sponsored policies like forced school bussing reduced the quality of public school education for the children of white blue collar workers. Affirmative action reduced career opportunities for them.

    These factors lead to a migration of white blue collar workers from their traditional home in the Democrat Party to the GOP. Unfortunately, white blue collar workers have not benefitted economically from their support for the Republican Party. Real after tax income for them has declined since 1980, while the share of the country’s wealth going to their employers has increased dramatically.

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    http://investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=971&mn=389436&pt=msg&mid=10153698

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to the free trade world! There are always winners and losers in free trade. In our current economical system the winners are big transnational corporations, too big too fail financial institutions, investors, speculators, China and illegal immigrants. Losing out is the American middle class.

    There is absolutely no difference between Democrats and Republicans on this issue, both pretend that free trade is the holy grail. Reality is different though.

  • Andrew Carnegie

    I have a cousin who is a fine welder. But there just aren’t any jobs. Partly because any job involving handwork has run off to China; partly because illegal aliens from Mexico have grabbed up the few jobs left behind. So what do I tell him? Go into marketing? He wouldn’t be good at it. But he is a fine welder.

  • white guy

    I wonder why they feel pessimistic for worry about THIER country. every one that is.

  • Anonymous

    the minorities are optimistic because every 10 years they dominate another 20% of our population. Its only 20 or 40 yrs until they are the majority they are already 90% of births in cities like dallas

  • FreeMilitiaman

    Sorry. I couldn’t get past the phrase ” world nation” without vomiting in my mouth. then I read the phrase ” kaleidoscopic diversity” and totally lost it. Perhaps the U.S. should finally acknowledge its position as a womb of multiculturalism and take its rightful place as first among the lowest in the third world.

  • rockman

    The noncollege whites are feeling the invasion created competition of the illegals entering the country like a tidal wave. Unemployment among American teens is extremely high because illegals have taken the jobs normally done by teens. Locally teens and women used to pick fruit and do orchard work for extra money. they have been scared out by illegals. Illegals know where the money is like anyone and go for the better paying jobs when they can. Construction jobs and assembly line work are seeing massive hiring of illegals. Our own citizens are being shafted by the govt who smiles and winks when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. many jobs now go to Spanish speaking people. Speaking Spainish is a job requirement. This incluces Social Workers. School Teachers, Supervisors on assembly lines, construction foremen etc. Why does an American citizen have to speak a foreign language to get a job in the US? The angst of the lower class whites will seep into the middle class whites and when it does the country will be in the same state as 1930 Germany when they started to look for solutions as the govt was not providing any. The middle class were Adolfs biggest supporters. Interesting times.

  • Sardonicus

    The white working class has good reason to feel that way. They have been marginalized by our privileged elites. They helped build this country only to be betrayed by it. What good blue collar jobs haven’t been exported overseas, have been taken by imported cheap Third World immigrants or affirmative action hires. Why pay a living wage to a white worker, when the government pays you to take a refugee right off the plane from Somalia? Where is the future of the average non college high school white person today? It doesn’t seem to be in America anymore.

  • Anonymous

    The White working class has been the backbone of this society since the beginning of the industrial age. White people have made the greatest contributions to the well being of humanity even allowing for the periods of madness where we fought against each other and exterminated some of our finest of Europe and North America.

    Over the past half century we have become the targets of all the blame for the ills that plague this planet. Our children have been taught that their forebears were evil despoilers of the environment and racist persecutors of “people of color”. They’re taught that their race acquired wealth on the backs of the less fortunate and all other manner of sins. Our own children have been turned against us much like the Nazis successfully made young children informers against their parents who strayed from the political orthodoxy.

    The Progressive Social engineers have sucked from the Caucasian race the very will to survive as a people and rendered us so impotent that we’ll stand idly by while we are assaulted, raped and wantonly murdered on the streets of the cities, that WE built and made great, by the vast underclass who destroyed those same cities and made them chambers of horrors. We’ve become the Eloi living in a fantasy world rendered unable to act on the very basic human instinct to defend ourselves while being preyed upon by the Morlocks; all of this aided and abetted by the Media Monolith that has done a superb job of hiding the truth. I never cease to be amazed at how many people are totally unaware of what’s happening and has happened (Knoville & Wichita) to White people in our cities and on our college campuses.

    We were at a local restaurant last evening and our waitress was a young girl who’ll be starting her Senior year at Temple University (Phila.) Apparently it’s as dangerous there or possibly more dangerous than it was when I attended Grad. School there back in the late sixties. I had one incident where I was attacked by four Mau Mau on the subway platform and had to fight my way onto the train to get away.

    This young lady told us of how distraught her parents are when she’s up there on campus. She was considering taking a self defense course. I advised her to get 1.a Taurus Judge hammerless snub nose .38 Cal. revolver and 2. training in it’s safe CC use.

    God Bless Matt Drudge for his bravery in this age of cowardice.

  • Anonymous

    Something I read in an article years ago has always stuck in my mind. The author stated that a country with a strong middle class will never have a revolution.

    Looks like a revolution is coming.

  • idareya

    “Why don’t working class whites just go ahead and get college degrees rather than whine? Is it low IQ or laziness?”

    @#5

    That’s a very pompous and assumptive thing to say. Have you seen the college tuition rates today? Maybe they simply don’t have the means. Also, not everyone is cut out to go to college and that doesn’t mean they are lazy or dumb. I have a cousin who can build a house from the dirt to the roof. The kind of houses for which people pay big money. Can you do that? I have another who can weld anything, including doing it underwater. Can you do that?

  • John Engelman

    For at least a generation the people who own and run America have been importing cheap labor and exporting good jobs. During the past decade white blue collar workers have been joined by white college educated professionals as both groups watched their incomes stagnate and decline, while those who own and run America got richer.

  • Honey

    Secular Realist Jew – You have just listed all the reasons that I’m disillusioned, and I’m in Australia.

    One thing I’d add is that No one asked me as a Caucasian woman if I wanted so many misogynist cultures living in my backyard who have perverted ideas about how ‘loose’ Caucasian women are.

    No one asked me if I wanted to find that I had to compete with so many women from the third world when it came to finding a husband, because marriage is one of the easiest ways to gain citizenship.

    No one asked me if I wanted my women’s rights eroded by multiculturalism.

    We have had an influx of Indians who right behind the Muslims in their entitlement to sexually assault Australian women.

    The white man / Asian women relationship is a big thing here too; while white girls are not considered suitable for marriage (I’ve had this said to me on a number of occasions).

    Radical Muslims want to phase in Sharia Law, which will hand all the power over to the men.

  • Question Diversity

    Why don’t working class whites just go ahead and get college degrees rather than whine?

    And if they have no bread, let ’em eat cake.

  • Anonymous

    “Why don’t working class whites just go ahead and get college degrees rather than whine?”

    Well, I come from a long line of working class whites. I put myself through college. First in the family to get a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree.

    Now I work in an industry that is being inundated with ‘diversity.’ My bosses for the last five years have all been from ‘vibrant’ and ‘diverse’ cultures. The message is loud and clear: there’s no advancement for you in this profession, white man.

    I hear daily calls that there aren’t ‘enough’ minorities in the level where I’m at – the level that requires a high level of educational attainment. I see special programs, affirmative action, special help to younger minorities to get into my position. The message is clear once more: you will be replaced, white man.

    I honestly do not think I will be allowed to remain in this job for more than five years hence. “The staff should reflect the people we serve,” I am told.

    So what good will a college education do me, if the wave of race replacement is intent on sweeping me away too?

  • White Devil

    And it’s outa there! SecularRealistJew hits one out of the park. A brutal realist beatdown! Wish I’d said it first, but here’s the other half. We know what happened, so what are we going to do?

    I (a little horn tooting here) was run over by SecularRealistJew’s accurate observations about ten years ago. With two masters (EE and Manage) and most of a masters in CS, I haven’t had a full time job since 2002. But being a farm boy, and a to stubborn for my own good, I went my own way. I make most of what I use, grow what I need, selling the rest for strictly cash. It’s simple, solid and anyone can do it.

  • Anonymous

    When a country is ‘for’ a particular group of people, there is a sense of communal ownership, even if indirect, by them. And a great deal of give and take pride in that ownership as a function of _national_ willingness to abet and abide it’s success on the chance that their future status will continue to improve as it does.

    What the MSM has successfully done, no doubt at the willed behest of it’s corporate socialist owners, is conflate the discordant notions that national loyalty from a population and the fact that that populace is the majority represented (advantaged) demographic is ‘immoral’ because other nation groups, which have not taken part in that success, are not equally represented/rewarded.

    Boo hoo hoo.

    This loss of faith in ourselves has been engineered through a succession of poorly fought wars, starting in the 1960s and incredible personal corruption in the equally bought and paid for governments since.

    The real outcome of this process however has been to ease the ties binding the corporatists to the state and hence the people. If you don’t owe the nation anything as a collective will because it is so corrupt, then you cannot blame anyone else for giving no loyalty to it either.

    Of course it works the other way too. If unions and organized crime corruption of same are largely what is responsible for Americans no longer ‘being competitive’ with slave labor societies like China, then the American government owes nothing to the skilled, white, trade craftsmen that those unions are made up of.

    And so the corporatists can slip a little further out the door of national responsibility via outsourcing and overseas displacement of jobs that the working whites don’t deserve because we’re ‘spoiled’.

    Even though we aren’t making six figure incomes with five figure bonuses moving 1s and 0s through the system. We’re making real products and services.

    How dare we be so useful!?

    THEN you add the further disfiguring element of mass immigration by racial exogroups thrown into the mix who don’t even -have- this ‘for us, together’, common identity and both sides of the governmental/population group mix are poisoned, trying to apply to outsiders the same values as they have (genetically) built up in themselves and our common society.

    Do you see the constant theme here? Get each side to distrust the value of unity as ‘from a people, a nation’ and then destroy the very concept of homogenous identity by which they ever could come back together. After you have Elvis’d the building.

    The inevitable conclusion here is that the rich -want- to separate from their no longer necessary victim population base; taking all the wealth they have accumulated and then leaving us to our ruin in what is left.

    The question is why.

    OWG/NWO is very real. It’s effects if not agents are visible all around us. It is not intended to uplift the planet. It is intended for something far more sinister.

    And more permanent.

  • Orion Blue

    Alarm bells should be ringing now about the social and economic trends in the battered white working class and the piercing cry of distress rising from this latest survey.

    What that really means is that the author of the article is worried about a possible backlash from people who know they are being displaced and rendered surplus to requirements.

    It is happening in the UK as well.

    The diversity doublespeak is an effort by some to become social climbers. As another respondent above notes, having a college degree is no guarantee against being replaced (employment and race-wise).

  • mick

    idareya. The best post I have ever seen on this site.

    The White so’called working class are beyond good. They have been the driver to all of the most successful White societies in the last 3000 years.Without them we are nothing. They are the builders, mechanics, electricians, ditch diggers etc. I would tell any child today to become a master Electrician. forget College unless you want to be a doctor or Engineer it is a waste of time and money.