The old joke Washington Post headline, “Meteor to Obliterate Earth, Women and Minorities Hardest Hit” works because it’s a fair description of a well worn media template, getting more worn by the day in our Current Year of Salon-Vox-Slate thumb-suckers: “social effect x occurs, protected class(es) disproportionately affected”.
There’s always been an unacknowledged concomitant to this model–a once implicit now explicit stricture: there are no particular white concerns or needs, there is only “privilege”. Indeed, whites faring better than the norm on any given metric is always evidence of privilege, not agency or virtue. The joke could just as well have been “Meteor to Obliterate Earth, Whites Least Affected”.
When researchers first started reporting evidence of rising mortality in white America they were pilloried for concerning themselves with white health. One common response to its mention (see Salon-Vox-Slate) is to note whites are still ahead of blacks and browns in wealth and health. If you buy into blank-slate notions you see this as a straight measure of “privilege”; if you buy into common sense you see this as the measure of ruin left in the nation.
Whites have lost the ability to see the crime in this because we’ve been stripped of the concept of “us” by the reigning cultural order. The dying off of white Americans is a direct result of the same culture that suppresses its notice, much less analysis or address as such. Like rising mortality in a wealthy society, this is without historical precedent, a people unable to see themselves as such–at least one not physically conquered.
Life expectancy for Americans fell again last year, despite growing recognition of the problems driving the decline and federal and local funds invested in stemming them.
Data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday show life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, to 78.6 years, pushed down by the sharpest annual increase in suicides in nearly a decade and a continued rise in deaths from powerful opioid drugs like fentanyl. Influenza, pneumonia and diabetes also factored into last year’s increase.
Economists and public-health experts consider life expectancy to be an important measure of a nation’s prosperity. The 2017 data paint a dark picture of health and well-being in the U.S., reflecting the effects of addiction and despair, particularly among young and middle-aged adults, as well as diseases plaguing an aging population and people with lower access to health care.
“The continuation of this trend is a warning for all of us that our country has not found a way of addressing the profound needs of the people who are dying,” said Eric Caine, professor of psychiatry and director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “While the economy may be recovering at the macro level, it’s very uncertain whether it’s affecting the lives of these people.”
The U.S. has lost three-tenths of a year in life expectancy since 2014, a stunning reversal for a developed nation, and lags far behind other wealthy nations…
White men and women fared the worst, along with black men, all of whom experienced increases in death rates. Death rates rose in particular for adults ages 25 to 44, and suicide rates are highest among people in the nation’s most rural areas. On the other hand, deaths declined for black and Hispanic women, and remained the same for Hispanic men.
Black men continue to lead in mortality (suffered and dealt), ironically enough (and this is just my racist opinion) by living it up, via a thriving hip hop culture–which is part and parcel of the broader culture in which whites are not thriving.
Elite whites would do well to drop their hostility to white identity–just as declining morals infect a population by welling from the bottom up, so will their consequences.