Dying of Whiteness
A physician reveals how right-wing backlash policies have mortal consequences -- even for the white voters they promise to helpNamed one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Esquire and the Boston GlobeIn the era of Donald Trump, many lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the policies that result actually place white Americans at ever-greater risk of sickness and death.Physician Jonathan M. Metzl's quest to understand the health implications of "backlash governance" leads him across America's heartland. Interviewing a range of everyday Americans, he examines how racial resentment has fueled progun laws in Missouri, resistance to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. And he shows these policies' costs: increasing deaths by gun suicide, falling life expectancies, and rising dropout rates. White Americans, Metzl argues, must reject the racial hierarchies that promise to aid them but in fact lead our nation to demise.

Dying of Whiteness Details

TitleDying of Whiteness
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 5th, 2019
PublisherBasic Books
ISBN-139781541644984
Rating
GenrePolitics, Nonfiction, Race, Sociology, History, Social Movements, Social Justice

Dying of Whiteness Review

  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    Midway through this bleak book, I wanted to just laugh. I believe every word of his research (which he backs up quite well)--some people would rather collect the wages of whiteness even at the cost of their own life. This is the research answer to Dubois' observation years ago about the wages of whiteness.
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  • Morgan Schulman
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve read over and over about how socialism is not popular in the US because working class Americans identify more with the idea of obtainable wealth than the idea of living in poverty, which they see is embodied by a degenerate “other”. This book really drives it home, when we example after example of poor white men dying young due to lack of access to healthcare who still decry the ACA as they identify more with rich white Republicans who tell them its liberals stealing from them to give to PO I’ve read over and over about how socialism is not popular in the US because working class Americans identify more with the idea of obtainable wealth than the idea of living in poverty, which they see is embodied by a degenerate “other”. This book really drives it home, when we example after example of poor white men dying young due to lack of access to healthcare who still decry the ACA as they identify more with rich white Republicans who tell them its liberals stealing from them to give to POC, than with their actually reality of being poor and in need of state-funded medicine. The concept of belonging to a master race is more vital than taking life-saving care that they identify with the underclass. Chilling. Makes me really worry about 2020.
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  • Karin
    January 1, 1970
    This is a must read. Metzl examines the implications of loose gun control laws, delaying expansion of federal medical programs, and reducing public school funding and how it hurts those white people who support it. Lots of interesting research, and he walks you through his methodology. Books on race and the far right are very popular now, but this one seems to stand out on a unique, and well executed, premise.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    The title caught my eye and I was curious to read after finding out the premise: a doctors travels across several states (and was born and raised in one he revisits) to learn more about how and what and why people (in this case, white people) to support and vote for policies that often have mortal and permanently lasting damage to themselves. Specifically looking at three US states (Missouri, Tennessee and Kansas) and particular policies (gun laws, the Affordable Care Act or ACA and education cu The title caught my eye and I was curious to read after finding out the premise: a doctors travels across several states (and was born and raised in one he revisits) to learn more about how and what and why people (in this case, white people) to support and vote for policies that often have mortal and permanently lasting damage to themselves. Specifically looking at three US states (Missouri, Tennessee and Kansas) and particular policies (gun laws, the Affordable Care Act or ACA and education cuts), author Metzl examines how and why holding on to racial hierarchies is literally killing all of us.Conceptually this probably isn't too much of a stretch for some: "Why do people vote against their own interests?!?!?" is probably the most simplistic and familiar argument to some. But Metzl looks at this from history, interviews, statistics, etc. and shows that the resentment Donald Trump tapped into really isn't anything new or recent, but rather part of a long line of government policies, inflammatory rhetoric and plainly a feature of the country's history when it comes to issues such as race, class, gender, etc.I'm not going to lie: this was a tough read. I thought his opening chapter where he outlines what he was going to do was useful, but after getting into the actual text I found the book overall too wordy, too academic and just not for me. I'm also a bit skeptical about some of his approach: he acknowledges he's a white man and has advantages and privileges that others don't. And this book might not have happened in this way since he could probably get different responses than say a black or brown person writing about the same thing. But in both the book and interviews he's also keen to say he doesn't know if these people are racists, but that racism shapes these policies. There is a distinction here it just felt like he might have been discounting personal, individual racism a bit when it can also serve as a a reason WHY we have these policies: the electorate can reflect the leaders and policies it votes for.Overall, though, I do think it's a good book and it discusses something that maybe doesn't get enough attention when examined in this particular way instead of getting rather shallow articles in the newspaper. And unfortunately there will be many people who won't bother because they're turned off by the topic or the title. *eyeroll*Borrowed from the library and would recommend that's the way to go but it could be a good reference for purchase for certain people looking for information.
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  • Jerry Wall
    January 1, 1970
    This is about political groups that spreads guns, blocks health care, and defunds schools and convinces the poor populace that this is good for them. Author uses the states of Missouri (guns),Tennessee (health), and Kansas as examples of how racial resentment is killing the heartland. . . . people'sdeep defense mechanisms and projected insecurities can lead them to act in ways that seem at odds with their own longevity. p. 5When white backlash policies became laws, as in cutting away health care This is about political groups that spreads guns, blocks health care, and defunds schools and convinces the poor populace that this is good for them. Author uses the states of Missouri (guns),Tennessee (health), and Kansas as examples of how racial resentment is killing the heartland. . . . people'sdeep defense mechanisms and projected insecurities can lead them to act in ways that seem at odds with their own longevity. p. 5When white backlash policies became laws, as in cutting away health care programs and infrastructure spending, blocking expansion of health care delivery systems, defunding opiate-addiction centers, spewing toxins into the air, or enabling guns in public spaces, the result was -- and I say this with the support of statistics detailed in the chapters that follow -- increasing rates of death. p. 8. . . our nation needs to recognize how the systems of inequality we build and sustain aren't benefiting anyone. p. 19relaxing gun laws in Missouri brought more gun deaths than car deaths for the first time in 2014 as well as others increases. p. 25gunfire is leading method of lethal suicide in US and kills more Americans than all other intentional means combined including hanging, poisoning, overdosing, jumping, suffocating or cutting and the method that kills more Americans than all of the murderers, robbers, terrorists, and attackers put together as well. p 38our leaders silenced studies on gun caused deaths, JAMA , as if someone placed a silencer on knowledge. p. 40. . . drug overdose, the most common method in suicide attempts in the US is fatal in less than 3 percent of cases. p. 43White men die by their own guns two and a half times more often than do their nearest demographic, and exponentially more often than they do at the hands of dogs, bears, ladders, carjackers, intruders, terrorists, or other predators combined. p. 109We define us by what we have, these groups implied, and we define them by the fact that they want what is ours. p. 162from Invisible Man I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. p. 187Kansas How did politicians convince citizens to go along with a financial plan that benefited so few people and caused so much pain? p. 20
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  • Paul Womack
    January 1, 1970
    A provocative case study of gun violence, diminished health care and devolution in educational attainment by analysing data from Missouri, Tennessee, and Kansas. His conclusions are challenging in that efforts to maintain a social system based on whiteness, as a political and economic system designed to maintain the illusion of privilege as a non-compromising social good, can work in ways that subvert the very “ideal” being protected. In all three cases studied, the policies of whiteness served A provocative case study of gun violence, diminished health care and devolution in educational attainment by analysing data from Missouri, Tennessee, and Kansas. His conclusions are challenging in that efforts to maintain a social system based on whiteness, as a political and economic system designed to maintain the illusion of privilege as a non-compromising social good, can work in ways that subvert the very “ideal” being protected. In all three cases studied, the policies of whiteness served to kill, make less healthy, or diminish the potential capabilities of those who supported those policies. If the notion a rising tide lifts all the boats, and ebbing tide brings all boats closer to the sea bed. This volume has lots of data and I expect to use it as a resource in days to come.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was very helpful in attempting to understand why lower income whites vote for people like Trump who create policies that hurt these very voters. Using the lenses of gun laws in Missouri, education funding in Kansas, and health care policies in Tennessee, Metzl shares interviews with voters who explain their reasoning along with statistics about how policy changes affected health outcomes. It's sobering to realize "working-class white Americans (will) put their own bodies on the li I thought this was very helpful in attempting to understand why lower income whites vote for people like Trump who create policies that hurt these very voters. Using the lenses of gun laws in Missouri, education funding in Kansas, and health care policies in Tennessee, Metzl shares interviews with voters who explain their reasoning along with statistics about how policy changes affected health outcomes. It's sobering to realize "working-class white Americans (will) put their own bodies on the line in order to 'defend' conservative ideologies."
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting study of three states where conservative doctrine was implemented and the results of these policies. The author examines the changes that took place in Missouri after guns purchases were deregulated and open carry was legalized, the effect of Tennessee's rejection of Medicaid expansion allowed by the ACA, and the effects of Sam Brownback's tax cuts in Kansas. At the end of each section he summarizes research he and his team performed, complete with graphs. Nothing surprising to me, b Interesting study of three states where conservative doctrine was implemented and the results of these policies. The author examines the changes that took place in Missouri after guns purchases were deregulated and open carry was legalized, the effect of Tennessee's rejection of Medicaid expansion allowed by the ACA, and the effects of Sam Brownback's tax cuts in Kansas. At the end of each section he summarizes research he and his team performed, complete with graphs. Nothing surprising to me, but I enjoyed Metzl's take on the problems he found in these three states.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    It did not change my opinion of the South, that's for sure! It's nice to know that their attempts to oppress people of color are also hurting them. And to hate Sam Brownback so much only to get Kobach is hilarious. They do it to themselves and the rest of us get to enjoy the show
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Outstanding. Well-documented, compassionate, yet INFURIATING. I still don’t understand how to communicate with people who, as Metzl writes, would literally rather die than participate in/support a system that benefits everyone—including them!
  • Steve Nolan
    January 1, 1970
    Shit got my shook that socialism will not win.(But it will.)
  • Lafayette LLoyd
    January 1, 1970
    Adding it
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