The Death of the White Working Class Has Been Greatly Exaggerated[Comment at Unz.com]
Why does the Brookings Institution want us to think white people are in more trouble than they are?
By Malcolm Harris
Ever since Hillary Clinton and the Democrats failed to hold the White House last November, some members of the party and friendly elements in the media have suggested that the Dems have to renew their focus on white working-class men if they want to win. In this view, liberals have become distracted by so-called “identity” issues like feminism, Black Lives Matter, transgender bathroom access, and the musical Hamilton, thus alienating the underserved voters Donald Trump was then able to nab.
Underlying this argument is a series of reports on the immiseration of the white working class and its members’ increasing tendency to die. But while these papers have garnered a lot of attention, there’s good evidence that their conclusions go too far.
The latest version come from the all-star Princeton University economics couple Anne Case and Angus Deaton, writing under the auspices of the Brookings Institution, a centrist think tank. “Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century” might sound like a dull title, but the report has inspired breathless headlines, such as: “Why the White Middle Class Is Dying Faster, Explained in 6 Charts” and “Deaths of Despair: The White American Working Class Is Dying Young.”
Despite the headlines, when you compare apples to apples, white Americans remain better off on average than black Americans across the board. … In these graphs, white lives literally count more, and black lives less. But whether in health, income, wealth, or educational attainment, American white privilege is still very much in effect, and no statistical tomfoolery can change that.