DYING OF WHITENESS
HOW THE POLITICS OF RACIAL RESENTMENT IS KILLING AMERICA'S HEARTLAND
Physician Jonathan Metzl reveals
how right-wing backlash policies have mortal consequences–even for the
white populations they promise to help.
With the rise of the Tea Party and the election of Donald Trump, many middle- and lower-income white Americans threw their support behind conservative politicians who pledged to make life great again for people like them. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the right-wing policies that resulted from this white backlash put these voters’ very health at risk—and in the end, threaten everyone’s well-being.
Physician and sociologist Jonathan M. Metzl travels across America’s heartland seeking to better understand the politics of racial resentment and its impact on public health. Interviewing a range of Americans, he uncovers how racial anxieties led to the repeal of gun control laws in Missouri, stymied the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and fueled massive cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. Although such measures promised to restore greatness to white America, Metzl’s systematic analysis of health data dramatically reveals they did just the opposite: these policies made life sicker, harder, and shorter in the very populations they purported to aid. Thus, white gun suicides soared, life expectancies fell, and school dropout rates rose.
Powerful, searing, and sobering, Dying of Whiteness ultimately demonstrates just how much white America would benefit by emphasizing cooperation, rather than by chasing false promises of supremacy.
JONATHAN METZL ON DYING OF WHITENESS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan M. Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and director of its Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. He is the author of several books and a prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness. He hails from Kansas City, Missouri, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
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DYING OF WHITENESS
"Here is the diagnosis, America, and it’s not reassuring: Failing health, falling graduation rates, guns everywhere. Our fantasies are driving us to an early grave, and Jonathan Metzl is lucid and careful and mercifully clinical in telling us exactly how this public health disaster came to be. Read it today: there’s still time before the autopsy."
–Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America