Sunday, April 3, 2011

John Boehner, Resentment, White Power

Young people and Unions are destroying America with their Xboxes and Facebooks and 40-hour work weeks and a living wage. It’s the typical old guy rant, right? Wrong. This is repressed resentment bubbling to the surface from a guy who believes he’s in a safe position of power from which to speak about his real beliefs.

Can any of you tell me what a typical white conservative man’s rant about youth culture and privilege has to do with our President?  Because John Boehner’s rant to Matt Taibbi begins about those lazy good for nothing kids and ends with a shot at our President.

John Boehner would be funny if he wasn’t such a typical representation of smug white power.  Reading the selections Matt Taibbi has released ahead of his upcoming story, you’re likely to feel Leader Boehner feels pretty secure in his job and his status in his community.  That is, until you read what he says about President Obama: “Don’t get me started on health care- doctors study their entire lives and they barely make enough to live and yet Obama, who had his entire life handed to him on a silver plate wants to cut their pay.”  You might well wonder what about Obama’s life Boehner is talking about?

Boehner is a once-poor white guy who is not ever going to be secure in his wealth and status.  He has, like many successful white conservatives, tied his success to his whiteness, what many of these guys refer to as “the way I was raised,” and guys like Obama, who are more successful and more progressive than he is, and importantly, not white like he is, have had life handed to them because they cannot possibly have worked as hard as his folks did and he has to find success in life.

And I’m going to be frank here. Boehner is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and was born in Reading. He is from blue collar roots in southwestern Ohio. I can tell you from experience, that part of the country is rife with white resentment of progressive culture and with  black Americans in particular. It’s a very racist place to this day. For some reason, even liberal whites from that region have a weird desire to stand up for the white culture there, often claiming they’re misunderstood. (See, Mississippi and South Carolina.)

I’m not calling Boehner a racist—just that his rant is typical white-people-talk in that part of the country.

In addition, we should be wary of Boehner’s poor personal opinion of places like Community Colleges.  As we all know, community colleges are where many non-traditional higher ed. students find access to mainstream success.  Community colleges have helped more than I can express in a blog post.  For Boehner to choose the community colleges to slight shows just how invested he is in the white power line.  He sees them as places that basically reward lazy poor people and illiterates with degrees so they can make more money than they deserve, so they can work above their station.
It’s vile stuff this white resentment. It serves nobody to ignore it.

Writing to our leaders works.  If what Boehner says pisses you off, you should let him and other politicians know about it.  Send him a note.  Send your Rep a note.  Encourage them to speak out on behalf of students and unions.

1 comment:

Blackchild said...

Interesting article. Glad I found it I might write about white privilege in the future.