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CNN Asks, “What About the Black Working Class?

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  • CNN Asks, “What About the Black Working Class?

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    Talks of “the working class” often obscure the economic plights of the Black labor force.

    In the aftermath of the 2016 election, much attention has been paid to the White working class demographic. Many analysts have argued that their economic angst led to the populist revolt championed by both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

    The failure of more “establishment” politicians to connect with this group had dire consequences.

    In a recent CNN article, Tanzina Vega shows that the term “working class” is often a dog whistle for White workers who are not considered either poor or middle class. The term is nebulous and can account for education level, job sector, income or other factors. This vagueness allows various interests to manipulate the phrase while also obscuring the economic conditions of Black people. Vega points out that in a pre-election CNN/Kaiser poll, 63% of White working class respondents said they were satisfied with their personal financial situation while only 40% of Black working class participants were satisfied.

    Other evidence bears this out as White families on average make 13 times more than Black and Latino families. This is also shown by Donald Trump’s supporters, often considered to be anchored by the White working class, averaged an annual income of $70,000.

    According to William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and the AFL-CIO chief economist, “The notion of the white working class implicitly embodies a view of white privilege.”

    He goes on to say, “It implies that things are supposed to be different for them, that they aren’t the same, that they aren’t going to face the same pressures.”

    And the inability (or refusal) to identify a Black working class makes it difficult to craft policies that will advance this group. For more on the Black working class, click here.

    By Free Radical