Racism: White Entitlement


An aspect of the increasing racism in America that does not get enough attention is the role white entitlement plays. Conservatives are very fond of complaining about entitlement – from berating millennials for being “spoiled and entitled” to attacking Mr. Rodgers for making an “entitled” generation by telling kids they are all special, to attacking the urban poor as “lazy and entitled”. That’s bullshit, but more importantly, the most entitled group in America may be disgruntled whites.

I understand that financial woes, disconnectedness and disenfranchisement, feeling ignored by Washington and liberals, and fear have combined to make some people susceptible to the hate. Hate and divisiveness have then been used to manipulate people in conservative and social media. But that is a reason, not an excuse. The German people in the thirties had their woes as well, and it led them to support tyranny, war, and genocide. There is never an excuse for solving your problems with racism and hate.

Immigrants, liberals, and minorities did not create the problems of poor and rural whites. Global change and profiteering by the super-rich are the largest causes. There are solutions, such as investment in technology, education, increased minimum wages, investing in clean energy, and bringing more automated manufacturing back to the U.S. None of these things are policies that conservatives support.

So, disenfranchised whites are buying into hatred and xenophobia to support politicians that don’t help them. Why? White entitlement.

There is this idea among huge groups of white people that we ought to have it good just because we always have. They shout about their patriotism, but do not want to pay taxes or work to make the country better. They demand some asshole like Donald Trump to “make the country great again”, but don’t pause to ask what America needs to do to be great, or what they need to do to improve their own lives, or what they need to do to help make the country great.

Instead, they pick groups to hate -- ranging from liberals to Jews to Muslims to gays to immigrants to African Americans. They support despicable groups like white supremacists and the neo-Nazi alt-right.

In truth, most immigrants are better Americans than the angry whites. They come to America believing in the things that make America great, work their butts off, and do whatever they need to do to make it. Even post Trump, if you talk to most immigrants, they will express a faith in America and Americans than the disenfranchised whites lack.

The world is changing and the country is changing. We can’t stop that, nor should we. White people don’t get to just have it the way it used to be. But we are still a great country and a great people. We can grow our economy and build new opportunities for rural and urban poor. To do that, we need disenfranchised whites to support politicians who want to help the country and more than they want to help billionaires. They need to support groups that want to work together to make a better country instead of tear it apart.

The problem is, how do we communicate this over the drumbeat of hatred and the steady stream of lies out of conservative media? I don’t have an answer besides standing against racism and discrimination and hoping that people start waking up before it gets too bad. I do know it is not a time to be quiet about the hatred, the racism, or the lies.