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The size and stability of the American middle class were once the envy of the world. But changes unleashed in the 1960s pitted Americans against one another politically in new and destructive ways. These battles continued to rage from that day to now, while everyone has fallen behind economically except the wealthy. Right-wing culture warriors blamed the decline on the moral shortcomings of "other" Americansblack people, feminists, gays, immigrants, union membersto court a fearful white working- and middle-class base with ever more bitter "us vs. them" politics. Liberals tried, but mostly failed, to make the case that we're all in this together.
In What's the Matter with White People?, popular Salon columnist Joan Walsh argues that the biggest divide in America today is not about party or ideology, but about two competing narratives for why everything has fallen apart since the 1970s. One side sees an America that has spent the last forty years bankrupting the country providing benefits and advantages to the underachieving, the immoral, and the undeserving, no matter the cost to Middle America. The other sees an America that has spent the last forty years bankrupting the country providing benefits and advantages to the very rich, while allowing a measure of cultural progress for the different and the downtrodden. It matters which side is right, and how the other side got things so wrong.
Walsh connects the dots of American decline through trends that began in the 1970s and continue todayincluding the demise of unions, the stagnation of middle-class wages, the extension of the right's "Southern Strategy" throughout the country, the victory of Reagan Republicanism, the increase in income inequality, and the drop in economic mobility.
Citing her extended family as a case in point, Walsh shows how liberals unwittingly collaborated in the "us vs. them" narrative, rather than developing an inspiring, persuasive vision of a more fair, united America. She also explores how the GOP's renewed culture war now scapegoats even segments of its white base, as it blames the troubles of working-class whites on their own moral failings rather than on an unfair economy.
What's the Matter with White People? is essential reading as the country struggles through political polarization and racial change to invent the next America in the years to come.
Joan Walsh is totally INSANE!!!!!! SCARY that there are nut cases out there like this!!!!Published 3 days ago by Babs
As a Black man, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I used to question why so many of my White brothers and sisters vote against their own self-interest, but now I know. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Novelist J.A. Faulkerson
I love this book and I love Joan's way of telling the truth....her truth, her way about race relations, her family, her socializations and her own processing of what was/is right... Read morePublished 24 days ago by IDR, Inc.
I am always impressed when I read a book and learn something I had not heard before. This happened with this book over and over again. It was thoughtful without pandering.Published 26 days ago by Eric T. Washington
I still am in the dark as to why people, especially poor white people, vote against their own self interest. Read morePublished 1 month ago by California Skipper
Really an insight to the author and history of our nation. Very interesting read.Published 1 month ago by Carol Risch
When the hardcover was released the subtitle was, "Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was." It changed with the issue of the paperback edition to read, "Finding Our Way in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by albarino