“Any reckoning with how the US got to this point, politically, demands some interrogation of how white America got to this place economically and culturally; that takes into account both their relative privilege and their huge pockets of pain.”
Yesterday the Guardian published a brilliant, thought-provoking article written by Gary Younge, who is editor-at-large for the Guardian. The article focused on those who are often left out of mainstream discussion–poor, white Americans. Younge is a British Journalist and also a Black man who traveled from Maine to Mississippi to understand what he described as:
“My travels in white America – a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain.”
“This summer, Gary Younge took a trip from Maine to Mississippi to find out what has brought the US to this point. From the forgotten poor to desperate addicts, their whiteness is all some of them have left – and that makes fertile ground for the far right.”
As someone who lives in a mostly all white community, one that is filled with pockets of poverty, drug addiction and crime, I empathize with the struggles of these white folks because I understand they are completely marginalized and seemingly disregarded.
Before coming to college, I thought that mostly all white people had money. I thought that me growing up poor and in the ghetto was something solely based upon my race. Ignorant, I know.
However, just like white folks who are conditioned to view Black people through a negative lense based off the stereotypes fed to them through mainstream media, I too, was brainwashed.
The stereotypes of whiteness that was fed to me through television showed strong white families and whiteness was always associated with success and wealth.
It was not until I moved to Humboldt County for college as well as majoring in Critical Race and Gender Studies, did I begin to chip away and break down these notions of whiteness that I once held.
Living in Humboldt County and witnessing white folks strung out, hanging out in front of liquor stores and gas stations, on corners asking for money, on the nightly news and in the papers committing crimes, I often wondered where their white privilege was. Did they use it all? Or was white privilege an obscure notion within the politics of class and drug abuse?
I, like Younge, understand the rise in the far right. These are white folks coming to grips with the contradictions of what their individual whiteness represents.
They attempt to understand why they as white Americans are slowly being squeezed out of the American dream.
A dream which they attempt to preserve at all cost–even if they do not fully understand the dynamics creating their current circumstances.
“There is systemic racism, but Black people have advocates. Poor white people don’t.”
Check out the Guardian’s article here: My travels in white America – a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain