Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Trump And One Dimensional Stereotypes Of The Working Classes

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage writes about:

Trump and why one dimensional stereotypes of the working classes fester where journalism fails to tread.



Whenever something politically unsavory is happening the mainstream media line up to put the blame on the working classes in an attempt to take the heat off their own. It happened in the 1980s with racism when we were often accused of being racist due to our lack of education. In reality it was those nice middle and upper middle class people, often public school and Oxbridge educated, who institutionalised racism within institutions like the British military and police. Something which continues to exist to this day.

If you relied on the mainstream media for you information after the Brexit win, you would have been told it was the working classes which voted for it in massive numbers. Again never mind the Brexit campaign was led by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and Michael Gove, all of whom were upper middle class and public school educated. No one bothered to check the actual facts on the ground, while some working class people undoubtedly voted for Brexit, it was not the mass stampede portrayed in the media, with many of the cities with working class majorities, London, Glasgow, and Belfast included, voted remain and even Birmingham only voted leave by a whisker.

Much the same class prejudiced nonsense is happening today when it comes to US presidential candidate Donald Trump. We are told his supporters are mainly working class. Indeed at the drop of a hat to turn this lie into reality the media sends its intrepid reporters to some god forsaken town to search out Trump's working class supporters. They almost always end up in a downtown flying bottle ~ as every town has one ~ and interview the local barflies who are happy to confirm the journos' own prejudices for the price of a round of drinks...

Sarah Smarsh, a US journalist who reports on socio-economic, class, political and public policy, writing in the Guardian points out one dimensional stereotypes of the working classes fester where journalism fails to tread:

No one loathes Trump – who suggested women should be punished for having abortions, who said hateful things about groups of people she has loved and worked alongside since childhood, whose pomp and indecency offends her modest, midwestern sensibility – more than my Aunt Betty. Yet, it is white working-class people like Betty who have become a particular fixation among the chattering class during this election: what is this angry beast, and why does it support Trump?

The answer is in the main they don't support Trump, the numbers just do not add up as Sarah writes, it's the not so poor who overwhelmingly support Trump:

Hard numbers complicate, if not roundly dismiss, the oft-regurgitated theory that income or education levels predict Trump support, or that working-class whites support him disproportionately. Last month, results of 87,000 interviews conducted by Gallup showed that those who liked Trump were under no more economic distress or immigration-related anxiety than those who opposed him. According to the study, his supporters didn’t have lower incomes or higher unemployment levels than other Americans. Income data misses a lot; those with healthy earnings might also have negative wealth or downward mobility. But respondents overall weren’t clinging to jobs perceived to be endangered. “Surprisingly”, a Gallup researcher wrote, “there appears to be no link whatsoever between exposure to trade competition and support for nationalist policies in America, as embodied by the Trump campaign. Earlier this year, primary exit polls revealed that Trump voters were, in fact, more affluent than most Americans, with a median household income of $72,000 – higher than that of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters. Forty-four percent of them had college degrees, well above the national average of 33% among whites or 29% overall. In January, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams reported findings that a penchant for authoritarianism – not income, education, gender, age or race –predicted Trump support.

Smarsh continues with something which is equally true of the British mainstream media and it explains why it's so prejudiced against, and has such a warped view of working class people, believing we're an homogeneous lump of ignorance and want:

These facts haven’t stopped pundits and journalists from pushing story after story about the white working class’s giddy embrace of a bloviating demagogue. But, for national media outlets comprised largely of middle and upper-class people not to do this would mean looking their own class in the face.

The UK's mainstream media is also a working class free zone. Britain is one of the most unequal nations within the G20 group, yet how often do we see working class people, who often struggle against great odds in their daily lives, being portrayed in a positive light let alone given a place at the editorial table?

As Sarah writes:

Such derision [of the working classes] is so pervasive that it’s often imperceptible to the economically privileged. Those who write, discuss, and publish newspapers, books, and magazines with best intentions sometimes offend with obliviousness. The other problem is when people want to blame poor whites for being the only racist in the room, … as if they’re more racist than everyone else. That problem is rooted in the notion that higher class means higher integrity. As journalist Lorraine Berry wrote last month, “The story remains that only the ignorant would be racist. Racism disappears with education we’re told. As the first from my family to hold degrees, I assure you that none of us had to go to college to learn basic human decency. Berry points out that Ivy-League-minted Republicans shepherded the rise of the alt-right. Indeed, it was not poor whites – not even white Republicans – who passed legislation bent on preserving segregation, or who watched the Confederate flag raised outside state capitals for decades to come. It wasn’t poor whites who criminalized blackness by way of marijuana laws and the “war on drugs”. Nor was it poor whites who conjured the specter of the black “welfare queen.”

Nor was it British working class people who institutionalised racism in many UK institutions, nor did we set up and administer the British Empire which robbed, and plundered some of the poorest countries in the world. Nor did will allow a part of the UK, northern Ireland, to become a sectarian gerrymandered Statelet which discriminated against its minority population for over seven decades.


Sarah Smarsh's article can be read in full here:

Dangerous idiots: how the liberal media elite failed working-class Americans

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