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Scholar Jonathan Metzl: White supremacy is literally killing white people.

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Working-class whites are suffering but still willing to defend racism, says author of "Dying of Whiteness."

Chauncey DeVega, Salon

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April 11,
2019 | In 1935, W.E.B. Du Bois, one of America's greatest thinkers and historians, wrote about the distinctive situation of poor white people in his landmark book "Black Reconstruction in America":

It must be remembered that the white group of laborers, while they received a low wage, were compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage. They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white. They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and the best schools. The police were drawn from their ranks, and the courts, dependent on their votes, treated them with such leniency as to encourage lawlessness. Their vote selected public officials, and while this had small effect upon the economic situation, it had great effect upon their personal treatment and the deference shown them. White schoolhouses were the best in the community, and conspicuously placed, and they cost anywhere from twice to ten times as much per capita as the colored schools. The newspapers specialized on news that flattered the poor whites and almost utterly ignored the Negro except in crime and ridicule.

Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon.

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