It would seem white Americans have been checking their privilege perhaps a bit too much in recent times.
As we all know, for decades whites have enjoyed the perks their skin colour brings, such as:
- The benefits of affirmative action – that is, the process of throwing meritocracy out the window and being overlooked for a less qualified candidate because they were the correct race when applying for a position at an educational institution or for a job.
- Being so environmentally conscious and altruistic that they remove the world’s biggest polluters – themselves – at a disproportionately high rate.
- Having university student welfare and diversity officers start inclusive Twitter hashtags such as #KillAllWhiteMen (“student welfare” was always a pretty loose term).
- Knowing that if you’re struggling to come up with any New Year’s resolutions, MTV has your back (if you think this video may be offensive, just remember that reverse racism isn’t real and to take these resolutions as a way to better yourself).
- Greater access to prescription and illegal drug addictions.
- Having more money for your kid because they are an only child.
- Being able to proudly say you voted for the (white) President of the United States and not be publicly ostracised or attacked.
- Increasingly growing up in a 1 parent household – so your Mum or Dad or Attack Helicopter can have you all to themselves. Who needs role models or stability?
- Not knowing ‘what it’s like to be poor’ – Comrade Bernie.
- Being offered a safe space on campus to feel guilty.
- Enjoying larger class sizes as a result of funding cuts because there are too many white people at your school.
I could go on, but I digress…
Not content with just self-loathing and keeping their microaggressions in check, white Americans have upped the ante and are now doing their best to not only make sure they are dying at the same rate as other races, but are in fact dying at far greater rates than other races in America.
White Americans are now enjoying a sharp increase in mortality, which has been rising since the 1990s. In a ground breaking 2015 study, economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton from Princeton University showed that mortality was rising for middle-aged, white Americans with a high school diploma or less after declining for decades prior. I say surprising because that is something you would expect to hear from a third-world country – not a global economic leader.
They released a follow up study in March of this year which has shown the situation for this demographic has not only grown far worse, but now extends to include those aged 25-64.
The studies have shown that whites aged 45-54 with a high school degree or less went from having a mortality rate of 30% less than blacks in 1999 to a mortality rate of 30% higher than blacks by 2015. There are similar crossovers in all age groups from 25-29 to 60-64. The turnaround has been so large that this increased mortality rate has actually been able to offset the mortality gains from children and the elderly leading to a decline in overall life expectancy for all whites.
The increased mortality rate is not due to the big killers like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, but is instead down to an increase in ‘deaths of despair’ – that is, deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide. This is also not a gendered issue – the rise in ‘deaths of despair’ for whites is affecting men and women equally across the country.
Case and Deaton have hypothesised that the sharp increase in ‘deaths of despair’ is due to cumulative disadvantage through a measurable deterioration in economic and social well-being, which is only amplified through each successive generation.
Sounds like spiraling debt levels, a collapse of the middle class, a looming financial crisis, bleak job prospects, and constantly being told by educational institutions, the media, and liberals everywhere to be ashamed of your race and heritage might have something to do with it. But I’m just a f**king white male, what would I know?
So what is the take away from all this? Obviously we should be doing all we can to address a frankly alarming increased rate of mortality among a particular demographic. I’ll have to leave that to someone else though as I’m too busy checking my white privilege.