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What So Many People Don't Get About The Working Class

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This topic contains 319 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by avatar Ron 3 days, 2 hours ago.

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  • #671756 Reply
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    girltuesday

    Hi DWers (Wendy, I’m sorry if you posted this already), I found this article interesting and informative regarding why the working class (and others) voted for Trump. It’s a good read that isn’t condescending and is very well-written. Would love to hear y’all’s thoughts

    https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class

    #671768 Reply
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    Anonymousse

    Wow, that is probably the best article I’ve read about this topic.

    #671782 Reply
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    girltuesday

    @Anonymousse, ditto. I like how objective it was, and it really made me think.

    “Manly dignity is a big deal for working-class men, and they’re not feeling that they have it. Trump promises a world free of political correctness and a return to an earlier era, when men were men and women knew their place. It’s comfort food for high-school-educated guys who could have been my father-in-law if they’d been born 30 years earlier. Today they feel like losers — or did until they met Trump.”

    #671783 Reply
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    Laurel
    Participant

    Agreed; this is good reading. I grew up in the Midwest in one of the places that really went for Trump, and now I live in a big city and am in a really academic crowd. It’s been…interesting over the years to listen to some of the really out of touch things people from both “sides” say about each other! Idk what the answers are but I do think true dialogue is important.

    #671785 Reply
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    Miss MJ

    Okay, so here’s the thing. People who think like this:

    “…a return to an earlier era, when men were men and women knew their place…” kind of ARE losers, and “tough guy Trump” isn’t going to solve their problems. It’s just a way for them to blame someone else for their own life choices that didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Sure, that makes them feel better, but doesn’t solve one goddamned thing in their lives and neither will Trump.

    To me, it actually just proves the point that it’s not the economy that drove Trump voters, it’s the fact that they feel left behind or left out or not special. And what no one seems to be telling these white, working class, able-bodied people is that they got left behind because of their own choices. Instead of adapting to their new environment and learning a skill or a college education (something, by the way, that immigrants and their children would LOVE to get a chance to do), they’d rather just blame someone else. And, I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. I’m from a small economically depressed town. So is by brother. I studied hard and paid my way though college and law school. He went into the Army, took some college courses through the GI Bill and then joined the local police force. We’re both financially secure and stable (and hard core anti-Trump), but no one handed us anything but opportunities that we took. Everyone of those people had the same ones.

    What are we even supposed to do about these people, anyway? The world as turned and left them there. They can either try to catch up or keep on falling behind, but wishing for a world where women are in the kitchen and minorities are in the shadows and American manufacturing is king and no one needs an education is a fools’ errand. And, you know what, maybe they had to go nuts and vote in Trump to see it, I don’t know. But whatever they’re looking for, I don’t think they’re really going to find it. So then what?

    Sorry for the rant below. It’s not directed at anyone. I just needed to get this off of my chest!

    #671788 Reply
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    Anonymousse

    No one said their feelings are right.
    The only way we are going to get over this great division is by communicating. I don’t know how we can educate people to care for others…but that’s what we need to do. People watch the news and feel afraid and hunker down and think only of the people they care about. That’s why this machine keeps working. If you aren’t one of mine, you are an enemy. That’s how they feel. Everyone who isn’t like them is taking something away from them.

    #671789 Reply
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    Miss MJ

    I do get it. They’re scared. The country is godless, their towns are dying, opioids are eating their communities and the jobs they thought they’d have are going fast. But what do we do about it? Stop progress? I mean, I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of people who are in economic hardship. I want to help them. But when they’re at the point where they’d rather elect a Cheeto-flavored Putin Wannabe with a side White Supremacy instead facing reality, I truly don’t get what we’re supposed to compromise on. We actually cannot handwave ourselves back to 1950 even if we wanted to and, frankly, short of that, I’ve not really seen anything about what these folks want. And that’s ah honest question – what are we supposed to do about it? What is the realistic solution?

    #671791 Reply
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    Laurel
    Participant

    Hmm. I get what you’re saying (and I feel you on the getting angry at voters piece of it, cause I feel the same way) but I disagree with a few things. One, “everyone of those people had the same ones” talking about opportunities. Not everyone, even people in the same working class town, has or had the same opportunities. And luck is probably an even bigger part of it. Also, disagree with the implication that 100% of “those people” don’t want to learn new skills or get back into the workforce…can be pretty difficult to do when you are a 50+ year old man (or woman). I think one of the things that’s hard is that with technology and changes in the economy happening so quickly, it’s just hard to keep up. And takes a lot of personal effort/time not everyone is used to or really feels they have time for. I mean, the amount of time and effort I’ve spent working on my own career (networking, professional certification, etc.) is way more than my grandpa who didn’t go to college. Guess what, he totally made more money than I’m making now. Also, lots of recent uncertainty in my field to the point where I’m considering re-training doing something else — unsure if my expensive degree will even be valuable in the future. Mid-century America was a different time.

    #671792 Reply
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    Anon from LA

    I’m with Miss MJ on this. I’m from a small depressed town in the cornfields of Illinois that is 96% white. I know how tough it has been for these people. I know they are scared because they see the world moving toward an ideology that they don’t understand: secularism and humanism instead of religion, factory jobs disappearing only to be replaced by white collar office jobs, women gaining more opportunities in the workplace, an influx of black and brown immigrants, a rising acceptance towards gay marriage, trans people, and the idea of gender fluidity.

    But I don’t know what we can do about that. I’m sure as hell not going to hang women, POC, LGBTQ folks, and non-Christians out to dry just because these people make the white working class uncomfortable.

    And the idea of these men longing for the “manly dignity” that their fathers had, their emphasis on their breadwinner status–that sexism at work. The answer to their problem isn’t to push our culture back to the 1950s–it’s to dismantle the toxic idea that you’re not “man enough” if you don’t have a sizeable paycheck. But they don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to adjust their thinking or their beliefs; they just want to make themselves feel better by pointing at Trump and saying, “he’s going to fix it for us.”

    #671793 Reply
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    RedRoverRedRover

    Here’s the thing. Check out this article for instance:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/upshot/why-men-dont-want-the-jobs-done-mostly-by-women.html

    Yeah, they want their “manly dignity”. But you know what? Tough shit. I get it, I do understand why they’re upset. But they’re upset because they had it easy, and now they don’t. Wow. Sucks for them. But everyone else who has had to work their asses off during the last 65 years to get less than what white men could just walk into, isn’t going to sit here and feel sorry for them. Like MissMJ said, what are we supposed to compromise on? Look at the end of that article I posted. The fucking NY Times suggests that we have to make pink-collar jobs pay more. So that men will take them. Sorry, but seriously, fuck fuck fuck that. This is the world now. We’re all working harder than people used to. All of us are doing it. None of us are special. The jobs that they want are gone. Gonzo. Bye bye. The world they want is gone. There’s no way to compromise back to what they want. So like MissMJ said, what are we actually expected to do for these guys?

    #671801 Reply
    kare
    kare

    What is a “pink collar” job?

    This article didn’t really reflect everything I’ve seen growing up surrounded by the “working class” or whatever is considered below working class. “Manly dignity” my ass….I just can’t even fathom any of my family members resenting a woman in the work force. Every single relative I have that voted for Trump (which is all of them) has consistently expressed how proud they are that I went to college, got a regular job, and have disposable income. No one has ever in my entire life time suggested a woman’s place is anywhere other than where she chooses to be.

    Did I just get lucky to grow up in rural Texas town with Republican Southern Baptist parents that told me to think for myself and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect no matter what religion/race/ethnicity/ability/sex/sexual orientation?

    #671804 Reply
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    RedRoverRedRover

    Pink-collar jobs are the ones that are female-dominated. Men can’t take them because they’re undignified and don’t pay enough, apparently.

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