This year, the term ‘angry white men’ can be found in the media quite often, especially in connection with the voters of the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The men who have lost their jobs, their reputation or their status, or who have otherwise gotten trampled under the foot of globalization – they are mad: at the policy (which doesn’t provide jobs) at foreign countries (which are costing the US a lot of money), and other groups that also count among the losers in the decades since the neoliberal revolution of Ronald Reagan: the blacks.
Looking at the statistics, African-Americans, more than anybody, have every reason to be angry. In virtually all relevant categories they are the tail light: They have the worst education, leading to the least job opportunities, the highest risk to end up in jail or to be victims of a fatal encounter with gangs or state power.
Leaving aside the widespread racial argument in the southern states, that blacks are good for nothing, one finds it difficult to locate plausible reasons for this development, which could not have been politically corrected long ago. Since Black often have to live in areas with higher crime rate, where no policeman dares to venture, for financial reasons, the chance is much greater for them, to be robbed or attacked or to come into contact with drugs and gangs early in life, than for white youth. Coupled with a mostly poor prospect of an acceptable education and thereby depressing outlook on the future life, they rarely become a successful member of society. And even if the education is successfully completed (here positive discrimination at universities is helpful), many blacks have lower chances of finding a job, even if the white competitor has a lower education, as a study shows.
Due to the poor job situation, wealth statistics look bleak as well: For the majority of Blacks, the situation has even worsened in recent years as far as income, assets and real estate. Poverty is widespread, breaking free of it is difficult particularly for African-Americans, despite the odd rags-to-riches story.
The prison system in the US relies on a constant influx of offenders: Since many prisons were privatized (without significant cost benefits for the public sector) and now whole villages live by them, the demand for prisoners and the related pressures of lobbies to tighten laws, is not particularly surprising. In the US – in contrast to many European countries – resocialisation is hardly emphasized: The Revenge thought of having served a sentence for oftentimes very minor offences, are at the forefront – eye for an eye, tooth for tooth. Therefore, the treatment of inmates to one another and by the officers on duty, is much cruder than in Europe. Blacks are known to be greatly over-represented in American prisons – a development that is driven in addition to the above-outlined social situation of many Blacks, also by lax gun laws (decided largely by the individual states).
In the US, small arms are widespread (an estimated forty percent of households own at least one gun, overall there are approximately 310 million guns in circulation). You can buy them on countless private exchanges, often without verification by the state – an “achievement” of the NRA, which has repeatedly prevented even the slightest control extensions for gun owners with its strong political influence. The concept of a spiral of violence seems to be unheard of for the heads of this unspeakable association, which benefits greatly from the business with fear, (because ultimately, more weapons in the hands of criminals mean even more sales to people who want to sescure their home): After a massacre at a school with twenty dead children aged six to eight years, the NRA chief actually said, that more weapons would bring more security and we must finally establish security services before the schools. Since through the anonymous exchanges, weapons reach the hands of criminals, both the police and the private collection of weapons must be upgraded. For the poorly trained police – in the US, the training lasts less than six months and war veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan are often hired – this means that they must reckon with an armed opposite at each encounter on the street. Probably for this reason, violent attacks in both directions are on the rise, for the number of police officers who lose their lives in service, is also increasing. The way of diversifying the police, which other countries have chosen, has so far been followed insufficiently by the United States.
The citizens’ initiative black lives matter, which has formed due to rising deadly police violence on blacks in recent years, is trying to draw attention to abuses in a peaceful way. Especially after the fatal shooting of five white police officers in Dallas, efforts on part of the media to discredit the movement as a whole as violent, have been growing, especially from Fox News and the likes. Here you can see how propaganda works and always has worked: Already in the 60s, a good part of the media attention was directed towards the violence of some black demonstrators and rarely at the question of the causes why these people rebel at all. And then as now, little time is given to a real analysis of the events that led to the present conditions of both the black and the losers of globalisation: the extremely inequitable distribution of wealth, the tax evasion of large corporations and the rampant tax havens are discussed in academic circles at best. Instead, kicking down is what’s being done.
Personal responsibility is a popular term used especially in the US. There is hardly anyone objected to requesting more of it from people, than is often the case today. But this requires certain conditions such as debt-free education and equal starting conditions. If a person is born into a hopeless life, and it is constantly drummed in – not only (all too often) by their parents (who transfer their experiences to the children), but also by the rest of society and its formal and informal rules – that they can and will never amount to anything in life, then only a very small percentage will be pushing through.
The barrage of short messages works like the proverbial forest, for which you can not see the trees. This is yet another reason for the widepread opinion among some in the US, that blacks are being accomodated way too much as it is. However looking at the statistics, the average black citizen has at least as many reasons to be angry, as the average Trump voter.
Translation from German: Serena Nebo