How the Democrats Lost the White Working Class– Book review of White Working Class by Joan Williams- reviewed by Joe Queenan in Barron’s:
“The working class…has been asked to swallow a lot of economic pain, while elites have focused on noneconomic issues,” Williams writes. Elsewhere in the book, she adds, “During an era when wealthy white Americans have learned to sympathetically imagine the lives of the poor, people of color, and LGBTQ people, the white working class has been insulted or ignored during precisely the period when their economic fortunes tanked.”
Working-class people view work as a means to an end, not an end in itself. And working-class people do not think there’s anything heroic about making a living by designing apps or shorting Valeant. Heroism is what cops and firemen do.
“Daily life reinforces admiration of the rich but resentment of professionals,” she writes. “Most working-class people have little contact with the truly rich…but they suffer class affronts from professionals every day: the doctor who unthinkingly patronizes the medical technician, the harried office worker who treats the security guard as invisible, the overbooked business traveler who snaps at the TSA agent.”
At a certain point during the past half-century, it became acceptable to sneer at poor white people while expressing bottomless compassion for impoverished minorities. Williams believes this is because members of the elite, professional class do not have to compete with minorities for jobs or status or anything else, so it’s easy for them to be compassionate and understanding. Elites never say nasty things about minorities because they don’t know any.
The last paragraph strikes me a bit odd. I don’t think the elite compete with poor white people either. The last sentence insinuates that the elites would not like minorities if they knew any. Seems a bit racist. I don’t know if that is an accurate conclusion until I read the book. I find that the elites do spout off against minorities in the privacy of their country club but never in public or in the media.