This book by physician and sociologist Jonathan M. Metzl travels across America, where he finds that racial resentment has impacted not only the health of people of color, but also the health white people. Particularly impacted are working class whites, the type who voted for and support president Donald J. Trump and other Tea Party politicians. Those people who want to “Make America Great Again,” but only for whites. This trend did not begin with Trump running for office and it certainly didn’t end there. According to Metzl, many southern and midwestern states have been electing politicians who enact laws that disadvantage working class people of all races for decades.
Over the course of eight interviews and much analysis, Metzl shows that the repeal of gun control laws, the cutback of school and social service funding, and the partial dismantling of Obamacare have directly caused white life expectancies to fall, gun suicides to rise, and school dropout rates to increase. He relates many stories over the course of the book and ends with the tragic story of Becca Campbell, a lower-middle-class white woman. In the wake of the Ferguson riots, she accidently shot herself in the head while waving her gun around in a moving car. The car struck the vehicle in front of her just at the moment she joked that she was getting “ready for Ferguson.”
Dying of Whiteness:
How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland
by Jonathan Metzl
New Arrivals, 2nd Floor
RA563.M56 M48 2019