White Working Class

White Working Class

Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America

Book - 2017
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"Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, the professional elite--journalists, managers, and establishment politicians--is on the outside looking in, and left to argue over the reasons why. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as "something approaching rock star status" in her field by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite's analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in assumptions by what she has controversially coined "class cluelessness." Williams explains how most analysts, and the corresponding media coverage, have conflated "working class" with "poor." All too often, white working class motivations have been dismissed as simply racism or xenophobia. Williams explains how the term "working class" has been misapplied--it is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. This demographic often resents both the poor and the professionals. They don't, however, tend to resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality. Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities--just with more money. White Working Class is a blunt, bracing narrative that sketches a nuanced portrait of millions of people throughout the world who have proven to be a potent political force. For anyone stunned by the rise in populist, nationalist movements, wondering why so many would seemingly vote against their own economic interests or simply feeling like a stranger in their own country, White Working Class will be a convincing primer on how to connect with a crucial set of workers--and voters"--book jacket.
Publisher: Boston, Massachusetts : Harvard Business Review Press, [2017]
ISBN: 9781633693784
1633693783
Characteristics: x, 180 pages ; 22 cm

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GeneralAmerica
Mar 10, 2018

Most minorities in the United States are working middle class citizens. I guess they are not important enough to write about. Just because somebody has a college degree does not make them "elite". Elite persons would be the people in Trump's cabinet and his son in-law. Why would a working class citizen think that Trump can relate to them in any way? Did they like the fact that he has actually destroyed multiple small businesses by not paying them for their products/services? If you remember Hillary came from a middle class family and worked as a lawyer representing woman and children for many years. I am not sure why people fell for obvious propaganda and attacks against Hillary. I think people need to stay away from cable news and books like this which are obviously written just to push their agenda.

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hoerle
Mar 08, 2018

This book uses a few statistics and anecdotal comments to attempt to convince the reader that professional managerial elitism and arrogance and cluelessness caused working class to direct their resentment toward elites and the poor and therefore elect Trump, who is above it all because he is rich. It's an absurd premise. The author lost all credibility in Chapter 4 when she wrote:

"The professional class seeks social honor by embracing the edgy; the white working class seeks honor by embracing the traditional. The focus on character, morality, and family values is a key expression of class disadvantage; we all choose baskets we can fill. This attachment to tradition is part of what the white working class shared for so long with Burkean conservatives."

Wow just wow. The white working class voted overwhelmingly for the least family values individual running for president in 2016 and voted for Trump because they resented Obama's and Hillary's perceived elitism. Which means, logically, 1) that "elites" can't have strong family values or 2) working class doesn't vote according to their family values because they don't really value traditional family values or they don't have them. The author tries to convince us #1 is the cause of Trump's win when the actual cause is #2.

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IanS_Librarian
Aug 04, 2017

This is a really important book. As many people, it took me a while to cope with the results of the 2016 election. To help, I am getting more involving in my local party and supporting candidates I believe in at a municipal level this year. This book explains a lot about why the election broke for Trump. It made me examine my own privileged place in the world and how I am out of touch with my blue collar roots.

Williams does a great job of explaining why things between classes are complicated. Being a stay at home mom is a status upgrade for a working class mom because it allows he more quality time with her children and spouse. A professional elite may look down about this choice because they don't understand it.

Basically, there is a lot about the white working class that professional elites don't understand or don't try to understand but this book helps a lot. I recommend this book for any Democrats out there that want to plan for a future where they start winning again.

My only disappointment with this book is that while we hear plenty about Trump, I don't recall reading anything about the other candidate that connected with the white working class, Bernie Sanders. The book made me wonder what would have happened if Sanders would have been the nominee.

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