Shortly after the 2016 election, Intellectual Takeout’s Martin Cothran noted that Donald Trump’s victory was achieved largely because the working class whites of America came together and voted as a minority bloc.
The Economist recently affirmed this viewpoint by stating the following:
“DURING Donald Trump’s inauguration speech he declared that America’s ‘forgotten men and women’ will be ‘forgotten no longer’. Then, earlier this month, he vowed to bring back jobs to states that have been ‘hurt so badly’ by globalisation. By ‘forgotten’ people, he means above all white working-class men. They were vital contributors to his election: three-quarters of white men who left education at 18 and voted in November did so for Mr Trump, the highest share of any similarly sized demographic group. And despite the president's tumultuous start in office, they have remained loyal to him. According to YouGov, a pollster, Mr Trump's approval rating is 20 percentage points higher among working-class white men than it is overall.”
In an effort to fact check the President’s claims, The Economist rolled out the chart below, which shows how white men have fared in the workforce in the last several decades. Unfortunately, it ain’t pretty:
When compared to all men, white men are more likely to experience unemployment, be less likely to be a participant in the work force, and receive a lower hourly wage.
The Economist concludes:
“This group had good reason to hanker for change: in recent years its economic performance has lagged behind that of American men as a whole by ever-greater amounts.”
In an age where we are so fixated on the plight of minorities, how have we overlooked the plight of the white male? And furthermore, why have such disparities even happened? A couple of reasons come to mind.
For starters, the American male, regardless of his color or creed, has been conveniently sidelined. This sidelining starts from an early age in the school classroom, which is more conducive to the quiet, orderly nature of females than it is to the boisterous and energetic nature of boys. Boys a century ago were able to function in this schooling environment fairly effectively because they had outlets for their energy, including farming and other hands-on physical labor.
Today, however, physical labor is eliminated from the classroom, not only through the decline of recess, but also through the disappearance of courses such as shop class, which channeled the creative energy of young men into basic skills such as building, car repair, and so on.
Furthermore, every student is encouraged to go to college if they want to be a success. Thus, the boys uninterested in academics, but still able-bodied and strong-minded, are left with few options in which to capitalize on their talents.
In specific regards to the white male, it has been drilled into our cultural sub consciousness that he ruled the west for the last several thousand years, and is therefore responsible for its many sins. He is, in many ways, a scapegoat for today’s problems.
Judging from the chart above, is it time we stop acting like the white male is a privileged species that needs to be taken down a peg or two? If we as a society are all about diversity, fairness, and equality, then is it not a bit hypocritical to deny white males access to those things?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.