Friday, March 24, 2006

Alternet restores my faith in alternative media. Here's a provacative portion of an interview which makes an interesting point about how lower class whites are fucking themselves over. Beth Roy did interviews with white graduates of Central High 30 years later [for her book "Bitters in the Honey"] and determined that many of them still blame blacks for the failure of themselves and their children to gain a secure toehold in a middle-class lifestyle. They think that the American Dream owed them individual opportunity through its promise that if you work hard and play by the rules you will succeed.

The problem with the American Dream is that it offers no explanation for failure other than that you deserve your lot in life, and that if you fail there must be something wrong with you. Many people are perfectly willing to believe that success is individual but don't want to think about failure as individual, and no one wants to believe that they deserve to fail. So they find a scapegoat, and blacks were an easy scapegoat in this case.

Even 30 years later, the white graduates of Central High claimed that blacks stole the American Dream. While the integration of Central was hypervisible, the building of Hall High was kept under wraps -- most people still don't know about it. Wealthier whites were able to get away with building Hall High because blacks were used as a scapegoat.

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