After Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama’s speech on race on Tuesday, while acknowledging its historic nature, the pundits made much of its possible political implications wondering aloud how the speech will play among working class white voters.
“What about the blue collar white voters? What about the Reagan Democrats? How will they react? Will they vote for Senator Hillary Clinton in the remaining democratic primaries and/or, in the event that Obama wins the nomination, vote for Republican candidate Senator McCain in the general election?”
My response: So what about them? At the risk of overgeneralization, it seems that so many people, white and black Americans alike, love to blame each other or “the other” for their woes, often using perceived racial inequalities as justification.
We have heard “tough love” sermons preached to blacks ad nauseum. Just as I believe my black brethren often need a reality check, I strongly believe that their white counterparts need the same hard, yet loving, slap upside the head.
So in the spirit of telling the truth and shaming the devil, working class “white” folks, this one is for you.
Hey people, there is no Santa Claus and your jobs aren’t coming back…ever. As long as corporations, which by the way are headed by your fellow “white” people, can pay foreign workers pennies on a dollar or Southern non-union labor a fraction of your salary, they will not be building factories in the Rust Belt, or any Midwestern industrial city, anytime soon. It’s not about “white” or “black” but “green”. Time to go to Plan B.
Take a page from your immigrant brethren many of whom I teach on a daily basis. (And no, I am not talking about illegal immigrants or “aliens” as you love to call them.) Educate yourself formally. Go back to school. Get that GED if you need it. Get that associates degree, bachelors degree. It will not guarantee you a job but it will give you a leg up when looking for another.
And move. Yes, move. Get the hell up outta there. Go someplace else. I know you love your city, state, county, but you have to go where they jobs are, where the opportunities are. I have spoken with many of my foreign born students and all express love for their native countries. But they or their parents realized that opportunities in their homeland were limited; so they packed up their belongings and left — going to a country where they knew neither person nor language. At least you know how to speak English and are familiar with and have access to resources only afforded to American citizens.
The bottom line is that you have to stop using your precious energy — your greatest resource — to blame others, feel sorry for yourself or to try turn back the hands of time. The world is never going to be what it used to be but you can find your place it if you honestly take stock of your assets as well as your liabilities and take action.