Thursday, December 03, 2015

Rising Death Rates Among Low-Status Whites is Due to Despair at Their Declining Privilege

Josh Marshall, of Talking Points Memo, has a good take on the important Cole-Deaton study on why death rates among less educated white people have been going up - while every other group is living longer.

The causes of death are self-inflicted:  suicide, booze, drugs, and sheer reckless living.

Marshall's educated guess is that the relative value of white privilege is declining, which leads some white people to despair that they are losing their place in society.  The anti-government Tea Party politics was rooted in this demographic group.  Today's even more aggressive white nativist populism  is almost entirely a movement of angry, low-status white people.  Marshall cites a re-study of Cole-Deaton which finds that this increasing death rate is most pronounced in the South, which makes sense as the place where low-status whites have lost the most relative privilege.


Mac said...

An interesting take on the situation. I'm not sure that the anger is a sole result of a loss of "white privilege," a pejorative in my opinion. Certainly, you would be the first to denounce someone who referred to "black entitlement." I do think that many people have lost faith in our institutions--e.g., a President who openly claims the right to rewrite the laws and constitution when they do not suit his agenda, rather than working with the elected legislature. (You will recall that Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi ran the Congress as a one Party institution until the voters peaceably rebelled.) I do think that the low value many people place on education does condemn many citizens of all colors to a bleak future. Our ancestors did very well in one-room schools; they could read, write and had mastered arithmetic when they graduated--something that our modern schools cannot get done. That is something we need to address in our society if we do not want bleakness to descend into despair. I will expand on that thought on my own blog in the near future. I've got to go to choir practice.

Gruntled said...

What would "black entitlement" mean?

Mac said...

Everything from "I am entitled to public welfare" to "I want reparations for slavery (even though my ancestors did not come to this country until after the Civil War)" to the general dependency society that arose from FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society.

Anonymous said...

Declining relative privilege -- probably. But it still hurts.