At Frontpage Magazine Danusha V. Goska provides us with a moving essay on the numerous ways in which the leftist elites disparage, denigrate and demonize poor white Americans, particularly if those individuals happen to be from the wrong side of the tracks. The left’s hate for the white working class has erupted into full-blown bigotry displayed in all of their favorite media outlets and of course in those institutions that have come under their control such as the modern university. It is not a pretty picture to see such vile hate and condescension but that is the world that we now live in.
Fortunately, there are signs that this kind of loathing for the bedrock Americans who work hard and play by the rules is getting some of the push-back that it deserves. Certainly, the political winds have been changing over the last eight years with the rise of the right and the dwindling of the left’s political power. One could easily argue that the Obama years had a galvanizing effect on Americans such that they have come to explicitly reject the ideas and self-righteous narrative of the left in favor of the populism of a Donald Trump.
Americans have reached this new understanding I think because they have seen the destruction in their own lives caused by the left’s ideas and policies. The Obama years have left a considerable trail of destruction that has done untold damage to the country in ways that go against the leftist narrative. And this damage has reached down to harm many, if not most of her citizens in ways both large and small. It would seem that we have turned a corner on the march to the liberal utopia. Of course, we are just at the beginning of this process, but we are moving in the right direction. We must continue to work towards the goal of reversing the damage that the left has done and put the country on the right path once again.
I attended college decades ago, shortly after the Civil Rights successes of the 1960s, and during the rise of the Polak joke, and the evil redneck Southerner as the most reliable go-to cinematic villain. Deliverance was released in 1972, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974, and The Deer Hunter, about a bunch of working class, rust belt Bohunks who are somehow single-handedly both responsible for and victims of the Vietnam War, was released in 1978.
Like a lot of poor whites, I attended a “non-selective” school. We worked as waitresses, gas station attendants, and landscapers, took a shower, and went to class. Our professors, with Ivy League degrees and attitudes, held us in open contempt. In English classes, we were assigned to read, of course, the canon: Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Hemingway. We were also assigned to read works newly appearing on college syllabi, like The House on Mango Street, about Chicanos and Puerto Ricans, and The Color Purple. Our professors divided the world into elite whites and struggling, noble “people of color.” I was never assigned anything that reflected the life I or my friends lived. There were no struggling white people on our syllabi. No one like my mother who worked two minimum-wage jobs: running a noisy, stinking wick machine in a candle factory during the day and cleaning offices at night. My mother told me that she once saw a police officer kick my downed father in the stomach. This story could not be told at college; in the professors’ world, only black men were ever mistreated by police. There were no white girls like me who worked full time as nurse’s aides, attended school full time, and got straight A grades. No, I enjoyed “white privilege,” the equivalent of a comic book hero superpower, that magically protected me from all harm and delivered into my lap whatsoever my heart desired.
My friends and I survived on contraband wordsmiths we passed around with urgency, as if they were bits of bread in a distant prison. I didn’t learn of Anzia Yezierska, Jean Shepherd, Jack Kerouac, Bruce Springsteen, or Dorothy Allison from teachers; I learned about them from friends, and they kept me going. When I mentioned to my betters how much their work meant to me, I was given little lectures about why their work was not “art.”
If we told our stories, our professors’ stories, about rich, empowered whites and struggling, noble minorities, would crumble. We poor, white college students were not allowed either sympathy for our struggle nor pride in our successes. If we had to work menial, minimum-wage jobs, it was because that was all we deserved. If we got A grades in spite of lives that left us exhausted and tuition bills that left us eating potatoes for a week, we got those A grades because we were privileged.