Democrats can’t have both
I am watching white people lie. Over and over. Again and again. The Democratic Party does not have a class problem. White people have a race problem. As it has always been.
It is the inability for white liberals to call a spade a spade that got us here. It is your constant centering of white feelings that prioritizes silence and forced smiles of the marginalized over justice and equity. The white working class is unable to hear the truth about themselves because they have never had to. And now, we will all suffer for it.
They do not want to know that the “good jobs” of today require technological skills they may not have because of their education. That the manufacturing jobs of yesteryear will not return because of automation, not the other. That this is a service economy and thus, service jobs require better pay if we are to rebuild any semblance of a middle class for everyone.
For centuries, white people have wanted their success at the expense of “the other” both here and abroad. From colonization, slavery and attempted genocide of Natives (they are still here FYI) to Jim Crow and school segregation. It is simply dishonest and ahistorical to pretend the majority of white working class people “just want jobs.” We were not allowed to use the programs created by the New Deal, like Social Security, and Black veterans were barred from the loans and education that came with the GI Bill. The white working class wants economic success that does not feel on par with the other groups that make up this country. That has always been evident.
Democrats defend equal pay, living wages and unions. But the white working class has a vested interest in white supremacy. Republicans have been tapping into that since the Southern strategy. Though it is undeniable that Democrats have used it to their advantage as well, you simply haven’t been as good at it. So it seems Democrats failure is not in “reaching” the white working class but that it has been doing so while seemingly embracing people of color.
Now, the party is at a crossroads. Democrats must actively and openly choose between white supremacy we can all see and the Obama coalition. You can’t have both. You cannot have both. There is no “jobs” message that does not recognize how much higher Black unemployment always is. There is no “1%” message that does not discuss how Black and Brown people have been prevented from wealth building measures and targeted by predatory lending. Not anymore. And there is no Democratic Party without us. Choose up.