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Thread: The Myth of White Privilege in Modern America

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Exclamation The Myth of White Privilege in Modern America

    The Nobel Laurette's paper hit the press on election day (Nov 2) and I've been waiting to see how long it takes for the implications to filter into the presidential race . Sanders finally gave a nod to the 'Frustrated Working-Class'.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/he...inds.html?_r=0
    Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.


    That finding was reported Monday by two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton, who last month won the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and Anne Case. Analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from other sources, they concluded that rising annual death rates among this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.


    The analysis by Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case may offer the most rigorous evidence to date of both the causes and implications of a development that has been puzzling demographers in recent years: the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites. In middle age, they are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans, Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case found.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/112/49/15078.full.pdf

    This paper documents a marked increase in the all-cause mortality of
    middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States
    between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in
    mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country
    saw a similar turnaround. The midlife mortality reversal was confined
    to white non-Hispanics
    ; black non-Hispanics and Hispanics at midlife,
    and those aged 65 and above in every racial and ethnic group, continued
    to see mortality rates fall. This increase for whites was largely
    accounted for by increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings,
    suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis. Although all
    education groups saw increases in mortality from suicide and poisonings,
    and an overall increase in external cause mortality, those with less
    education saw the most marked increases. Rising midlife mortality
    rates of white non-Hispanics were paralleled by increases in midlife
    morbidity. Self-reported declines in health, mental health, and ability
    to conduct activities of daily living, and increases in chronic pain and
    inability to work, as well as clinically measured deteriorations in liver
    function, all point to growing distress in this population. We comment
    on potential economic causes and consequences of this deterioration.






    The graph is specific for midlife US non-Hispanic Whites. The entire spike in poisonings can be attributed to Chemical Escapism.

    These are the obvious fingerprints of depression and hopelessness running through an entire demographic of society. Ironically it is the demographic that it is always safe to Demonize, Marginalize, Disenfranchise, and generally despise.

    Too, their attempts to complain about the situation is often met with vile claims of ignorant racism. Because, of course they are White and have a whole fucking backpack full of privilege. Don't they?



    Mortality by poisoning, suicide, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis,
    white non-Hispanics by 5-y age group.

    The graph here would indicate that the issue is & will visit itself on the younger generations of US NH-Whites.



    Census region-level suicide and poisoning mortality rates 1999–2013.
    Census regions are Northeast (blue), Midwest (red), South (black), and West
    (green).

    The more optimistic data from the mid-west can probably be explained by a greater focus on fixing the ills of the Rust-Belt.
    Same for the North, and you can probably add the influence of the Mob in securing the Union Jobs of Generational White workers in that region.


    Shame on the Medical & Social Science Communities for not sounding the alarm about this at least a decade ago.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

  2. #2
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    That was a strikingly bad choice for a thread title, since nothing in your post has anything to do with white privilege.

    Or was your point that if your white privilege was so all-powerful, you could just name a thread any damn thing you wanted and no one would dare call you on it?
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

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    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    ... nothing in your post has anything to do with white privilege.

    ...
    Zactly

    As I said, these maladies are the hallmarks of Hopeless Despair.
    This ONLY Appears in ONE demographic
    This ONLY appears in ONE Wealthy Nation
    This is a phenomenon that is NATION-WIDE but not Geographically Dependent, as it stops at the border of Canada.

    Thus it is INESCAPABLE that there is something specific about the American Social Experience causing this sense of Hopeless Despair, IN DRAMATIC CONTRAST to the global trend.

    I'm listening if you'd like to offer an alternate explanation, but do keep in mind the 'people are people are people' principle. That is to say these other nations and groups have there own versions of Rednecks, Hillbillies, and Trailer Trash. So lets not heap anymore insults upon this victimized group.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    True, the title is a bit off, but you know what, it mirrors how a lot of people think (in terms of groups/identity while committing the ecological fallacy) so I'll give it a pass.

    I've done a bit of work on our own mortality data, so there's the usual "it's actually really complicated", but lets accept that the findings are reasonable.

    But I doubt you're going to like my response: part of the reason it is so hard to write papers/studies on this, apart from the general academic and funding model, is the cultural denial of discussing "class" as an issue at all because of the Marx/communist boogeyman. America has it due to its right wing culture/cold war history. What might strike you as paradoxically is we've got it here too not only because of the capitalism thing, but also because of the Australian egalitarian culture as a kind of reaction against the British class system. What that means is, it's frightfully hard to talk about issues that involve class as a primary explanation, and people will think in just about any other idenity group first and just dismiss the idea out of hand. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the very people you're describing would be some of the most vocal opponents (or could be rallied politically as such) against class based analysis.

  5. #5
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Of course, that identical problem also means that the kinda people who do end up using class in their analysis are usually lefties with an agenda.

    And as the learned-class of these institutions have ideological (race is a "big thing" in american cultural life) and class based blind spots for why they wouldn't want to pay much relative attention to actual class problems (since they are the elite and have very little actual experience of poorer white life and have little to gain by pointing this out), you can see why there's not much genuine relative attention on the issue...

    So it goes...

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACow View Post
    True, the title is a bit off, but you know what, it mirrors how a lot of people think (in terms of groups/identity while committing the ecological fallacy) so I'll give it a pass.

    I've done a bit of work on our own mortality data, so there's the usual "it's actually really complicated", but lets accept that the findings are reasonable.

    But I doubt you're going to like my response: part of the reason it is so hard to write papers/studies on this, apart from the general academic and funding model, is the cultural denial of discussing "class" as an issue at all because of the Marx/communist boogeyman. America has it due to its right wing culture/cold war history. What might strike you as paradoxically is we've got it here too not only because of the capitalism thing, but also because of the Australian egalitarian culture as a kind of reaction against the British class system. What that means is, it's frightfully hard to talk about issues that involve class as a primary explanation, and people will think in just about any other idenity group first and just dismiss the idea out of hand. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the very people you're describing would be some of the most vocal opponents (or could be rallied politically as such) against class based analysis.
    Quote Originally Posted by ACow View Post
    Of course, that identical problem also means that the kinda people who do end up using class in their analysis are usually lefties with an agenda.

    And as the learned-class of these institutions have ideological (race is a "big thing" in american cultural life) and class based blind spots for why they wouldn't want to pay much relative attention to actual class problems (since they are the elite and have very little actual experience of poorer white life and have little to gain by pointing this out), you can see why there's not much genuine relative attention on the issue...

    So it goes...
    Several points here.
    The Data is so straight-forward it really didn't take a Nobel Laurette to point it out.

    Yes I can imagine that the Aussies do have a lot of melting-pot issues. From what I've seen looking in. But I wouldn't presume to tell someone of the target demographic, in such a study, that they are unawares of their own environment.

    Yes, class plays a huge role in this. BUT even well-educated whites show this trend at a much more gentle rate. Read the PDF cited Deaton & Case 2015.

    I think we can get at the root of this very easily.

    US Members,

    You need to hire someone for a role where they will be in the public eye. Let's assume all candidates have equal credentials.

    Think of all the different ethnic, cultural, and social groups you would willing hire from.
    ...Would you hire a guy presenting with the stigmata of redneck?

    If the general membership of this Forum answered this question honestly to themselves, then the problem should be obvious.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrionzRevenge View Post
    I think we can get at the root of this very easily.

    US Members,

    You need to hire someone for a role where they will be in the public eye. Let's assume all candidates have equal credentials.

    Think of all the different ethnic, cultural, and social groups you would willing hire from.
    ...Would you hire a guy presenting with the stigmata of redneck?

    If the general membership of this Forum answered this question honestly to themselves, then the problem should be obvious.
    I'm going to attempt to honestly answer this. I don't know why but here goes.

    For me, a musician, the "public eye" would be a Public Relations professional. They would do press releases and work with blogs and magazines. Their sole function would be to understand me in all my white suburban proto-hipster gen x glory, making pop music that's tinged with whatever the fuck it's tinged with. To be perfectly honest, I would hire the first fucking person who seemed to actually care and understand the job, and no I don't think that a redneck self-identification would have a damn thing to do with my decision. In short, I would want someone who is like myself, as I have been adopted heavily by demographics other than my own for my career (poor and/or rich and/or black and/or gay and/or female and/or religious), which hasn't stopped me from either having my identity or helping the client express theirs. But that's art.

    In fact, if you allow "working class white person" to be put in place of "redneck", I currently know plenty of them. When I lived in the south and the midwest I knew and worked with "rednecks" and "trailer trash" too, both as creatives and civilians.

  8. #8
    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    I'm going to attempt to honestly answer this. I don't know why but here goes.

    ....
    Well, you've always been a special sort. Have you not???
    I haven't ever had to point out that you were being a bigot about such matters. So I'll take you at face value.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Scobblelotcher Sistamatic's Avatar
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    This was originally a tangent of random thought on Maddy's thread, but I think this might tie into the thread better:

    Problems are very intimate. It seems when I was a teenager, people used their problems as social capital, almost like having them was the best way to find people willing to help you solve them. I wonder if it's part of how we evolved to build networks. At my age, ain't nobody got time for other people's problems. You come to someone outside your already established circle with a problem that isn't also their problem, and they just do not even give a single fuck. But people will rally around a shared problem.

    I think everyone past the age of 40 can telepathically communicate the phrase, "God damn, can't you deal with your own shit by now. What are you, five?" to any of the same age who is outside of their own intimate network. They can do it with a look. And it isn't about being an asshole, it's about knowing that the only way you can continue to be there for the people who are already in your network is if you start telling the people outside of it to fuck off. There are only so many hours in a day. (and I don't mean donations to charity, I mean rides to the doctor for your colonoscopy and help moving heavy stuff, people to cry with you when your cat dies, who will come to your housewarming, and shit like that.)

    Someone who has no larger problem to share with others might have more difficulty re-establishing broken networks after divorce, moving, losing a job, etc. White males don't get to rally around their problems as a group because they supposedly don't have any.

    "Please, we need help coping with <insert depressing statistic that applies to a demographic>," is a socially acceptable thing for a lot of people as a group, but less so for white males, and if these statistics are accurate, I think it is safe to say that there is a demographic of white males age 45 - 54 in the US who need some help coping.


    I'm not sure what I'm getting at here...I'm hoping it maybe gets us thinking about what is causing the statistic. I can think of a lot of anecdotes because I'm in the age group in question and I know at least 6 white males my age off the top of my head here in town, either through work or through other people I know that I would totally not be surprised if they killed themselves. Seeing the stat makes me think about them. I don't want to trot them out on the thread, but what they have in common is this:

    Single, either because of divorce, failed relationships, etc.
    Either estranged from their family because of ridiculous familial expectations, distance, or because of religious/philosophical differences.
    No hope of building any new network at this point...barely on the fringes of any network they were ever part of...often because of philosophical differences.
    Starting to feel as if their potential lies behind rather than ahead of them.

    And I can't save them. I just cannot. I barely have time for the people in my network.
    Last edited by Sistamatic; 12-30-2015 at 02:36 AM.
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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    It almost seems like blacks still surpass whites in mortality rates, but whites have begun to catch up by leaps and bounds over the last 17 years or so.

    Considering that this began to happen when the 90s boom ended (crises at the end of the decade), and assuming the study reflects reality, it does seem like a phenomenon among a group that fell tumbling down from a height that others were never settled in to begin with. Like ACow implies, there is an economic and class-related dimension to this, most likely.

    They are an age group that the market drops first and that has more trouble getting employed again.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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