I Want To Read This Book

Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
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Heartland by Sarah Smarsh. So, I put it on "hold" at my library. It's about growing up poor . . . and white.

This is the excerpt from the NYT review that prompted my decision:

"From the farm, the book circumambulates several major themes: body, land, shame. Smarsh describes the toll of labor on those who have no choice but to do it — a work force priced out of health insurance by its privatization. Neighbors are maimed by combines and the author’s father nearly dies from chemical poisoning a week into a job transporting used cleaning solvent. Women absorb their husbands’ frustrations, blow by blow. Meanwhile, big agribusinesses strangle the region’s family farms, leaving behind a brackish residue of shame — the shame of being poor and white.

“Poor whiteness,” Smarsh writes, “is a peculiar offense in that society imbues whiteness with power — not just by making it the racial norm next to which the rest are ‘others’ but by using it as a shorthand for economic stability.”

Smarsh is an invaluable guide to flyover country, worth 20 abstract-noun-espousing op-ed columnists. She was raised by those who voted against their own interests. “People on welfare were presumed ‘lazy,’ and for us there was no more hurtful word,” she writes. “Within that framework, financially comfortable liberals may rest assured that their fortunes result from personal merit while generously insisting they be taxed to help the ‘needy.’ Impoverished people, then, must do one of two things: Concede personal failure and vote for the party more inclined to assist them, or vote for the other party, whose rhetoric conveys hope that the labor of their lives is what will compensate them.”

^^^ For parts of the 1980s I worked as a full time political activist for the Pennsylvania Public Interest Coalition, or PennPIC (not to be confused with PennPIRG.) We worked on "non-controversial", "non-partisan" issues like reducing usurious interest rates on credit cards. These were the Reagan years, and it was always frustrating to us how many lower economic status white folks would steadfastly vote against their own best interests.

Above, in just a few lines, Sarah Smarsh eloquently explains why. :(

 
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Chromagnus

Senior member
Feb 28, 2017
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Sounds a bit like the Midwest version of Hillbilly Elegy. An excellent book if you've never read it.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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“Poor whiteness,” Smarsh writes, “is a peculiar offense in that society imbues whiteness with power — not just by making it the racial norm next to which the rest are ‘others’ but by using it as a shorthand for economic stability.”

Dems should remember this when they pick another Presidential candidate. Poor white trash deplorables may have reasons beyond being racists to look elsewhere and make bad choices when they hear how lucky they are for being white. People are what they are and perhaps a larger discussion besides race needs to be part of serious politics, that is class.

Don't tell people who are trying to put food on their table just how good they have it. That there are racial disparities isn't up for debate, there are, nevertheless a hungry belly doesn't know the color of its owner's skin.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
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Dems should remember this when they pick another Presidential candidate. Poor white trash deplorables may have reasons beyond being racists to look elsewhere and make bad choices when they hear how lucky they are for being white. People are what they are and perhaps a larger discussion besides race needs to be part of serious politics, that is class.

Don't tell people who are trying to put food on their table just how good they have it. That there are racial disparities isn't up for debate, there are, nevertheless a hungry belly doesn't know the color of its owner's skin.
Remember all the times Hillary told white people how good they have it?

Me either. Anyway, if stupid fucks that can't afford to put food on the table want to vote Republican because some filthy liberal on the internet told them they have white privilege, good. Keep fucking those chickens.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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Remember all the times Hillary told white people how good they have it?

Me either. Anyway, if stupid fucks that can't afford to put food on the table want to vote Republican because some filthy liberal on the internet told them they have white privilege, good. Keep fucking those chickens.

Well that's as intelligent as I would expect from you, as in not at all, as you are stomping for republicans again. Maybe you could get a job in the WH.