A while back I reviewed Joe Bageant’s Deer Hunting with Jesus. He emailed me, saying I was one of the few reviewers who got what he was saying, that the book wasn’t just about those colorful rednecks, but was about how the Democratic Party et al stopped caring about rednecks and poor whites, and ceded them to the Republicans. Unfortunately, not much has changed since.
An Asian college student emails Bageant saying his parent’s are working themselves to death to keep him in college, and wonders, should he go for the money jobs or get involved with progressive causes. But –
And even if I did throw away my thirty pieces and side with the “progressives” or whatever the fuck they call themselves on campus, they just don’t get it. They’re caught up in disdaining Caesar’s mutt people and celebrating diversity and race and specialness and all the little balkanizations. They’re Queer, Fluid, Pinoy, Chican@, Afrikan, not laboristas! Well, some of them are. But they don’t get the point that white labor is labor, too. Everything’s got to be oppressed in some special way before it can join the club.
Worse, they tend to be contemptuous of poor whites. They’d never call a poor latino a ‘beaner’ but have no problem calling poor white southerners ‘white trash.’ Yet in the same breath they claim some mystical solidarity with that same working class. Most illogical. And self-defeating.
Bageant on the white underclass
These uneducated rural whites became the foundation of our permanent white underclass. Their children and grandchildren have added to the numbers of this underclass, probably in the neighborhood of 50 or 60 million people now. They outnumber all other poor and working poor groups, black, Hispanics, immigrants.
The right happily and cheerfully organizes poor whites. They’ve been doing so for decades. And they don’t insult them either. Liberals and progressives need to toss out their unfortunate class biases and do the same.