Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Poor White Peope are Mighty Entertaining: Donald Trump and the Hillbilly Problem

While talking with Malcolm Nance last week, I joked about the new genre of anthropological writing which focuses on the "white working class" and "hillbillies" who support Donald Trump. As Elizabeth Catte points out in a new essay (she is cool folks and will be a guest on my podcast in the future) in many ways this is a narrative in search of the facts. White folks in Appalachia and other parts of rural America are caricatures--derided as toothless wonders and meth heads--and scapegoats for how white folks across lines of class elected the fascist Donald Trump. 

Nevertheless, there remains the question, "Why do white and working class voters consistently support Republican candidates who actually hurt their economic livelihoods?" The answer should not be a riddle. The psychological wages of whiteness are great. These voters are making a choice based on "cultural values". These voters like to hurt other Americans and convince themselves that they are noble while doing so. The money is in the riddle and making the known into the unknown. Consequently, you will rarely if ever see the mainstream American corporate news media state those facts plainly. 

Here are some examples of plain speaking about Donald Trump and his white "working class" and poor "rural" voters that you may find of interest. 

And Kevin Williamson's "classic" (meaning for its entertaining prose and scorn) pieces on the "white ghetto" that is parts of Appalachia.  

This excellent piece on how "white poverty" as been rediscovered by the mainstream news media and American policy makers. 

What to do when the granular details and sentiments expressed by a writer--as in the case of Frank Rich who wants Trump trash to stay on their highway to hell--are correct but the big picture they paint is not?

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