The illuminating lead in a recent, front page article in The Washington Post, headlined “A New Divide In American Death,” stated the following:
“White women have been dying prematurely at higher rates since the turn of the century, passing away in their 30s, 40s, and 50s in a slow-motion crisis driven by decaying health in small-town America, according to an analysis of national health and mortality statistics by The Washington Post.”
Furthermore, the long article noted that, “White women still outlive White men and African Americans of both sexes. But for the generation of White women who have come of age since the 1960s that health advantage can be evaporating.”
For those White women it is most assuredly a case of the chickens finally coming home to roost. At least since the Ronald Reagan administration, low income, working class and many middle-income White people in this country have strongly supported slick politicians, television and radio bloviators and columnists who whine every day about the absolute horror of government programs around healthcare, housing, welfare and education. They continue to vote politicians into office and increase the ratings of those who want such government programs eliminated or at least significantly downsized. Though most are too clever to say it straightforwardly, the whiners consistently convince low-income, and working class Whites that such programs are mainly designed to help Black folks.
The reality is that the U.S. federal government has never launched any programs whose primary mission was to assist Black folks. Many more Whites have benefited from welfare than Black folks; White women are the chief beneficiaries of affirmative action. Huge numbers of Whites live in government-subsidized housing. Yet a visitor from Mars reading U.S. newspapers or watching television programs or listening to the radio wouldn’t be blamed if he or she concluded that only Black folks receive assistance from government programs.
The most classic example of that today evolves around the question of universal healthcare, the kind currently available in every affluent country in the world. Every middle income, working class, or low-income family in this country is one catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy. Yet they support politicians who oppose something even as mild as the Affordable Care Act. Those politicians and their families, by the way, all have access to full-coverage, government-sponsored health care.
The Washington Post article showed clearly that White women, soon to be followed by White men and White children, are beginning to pay for allowing their racial bias to overshadow their economic and health interests. They have been doing this since the U.S. was set up. As stated previously, the chickens are clucking loudly as they come home to roost.
A. Peter Bailey, whose latest book is Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, the Master Teacher, can be reached at email@example.com.
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