The ‘White Working Class’ Can Kiss My Brown Ass

by Priya Jain

To all of those who posted cute little think pieces about how liberals better start listening to the white working class yesterday, let me say this:

No. Fuck the white working class.

Know that even though Trump won the electoral college, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so when you tell us to stop being terrified about the very sanctity of our bodies and listen to the plaintive whines of the white working class, you are telling the disenfranchised to pay more attention to the over-franchised. You are asking us to consider that our very safety is less important than getting some coal mining jobs back. You are asking us to stop and reason with a screaming toddler. You are urging us to negotiate with terrorists.

I have read dozens of longform pieces this election season about the plight of the white working class. I’ve skipped over many more because I’m fucking done with it. The white working class was not under-covered. The problem is not that we don’t understand the white working class. The problem is that they’re not the only people here.

I am sick of being told, as I have my whole life, that middle America is the “real” America, and we “urban” elites just don’t get it because we don’t live there. As if that were our choice. As if we could just live our brown lives, our black lives, our queer lives, in the middle of Trump country. As if that were a safe thing to do.

As if they would welcome us.

I am done being told that I can’t make the occasional snide comment about rednecks but that every time I travel to a red state I have to politely endure being degraded as a woman and as a child of immigrants, listen to jokes about mincing gays and ching-chong Chinamen — and if I complain about this, if I say, you’re being fucking offensive, I am told that I’m too PC and am forcing my libertard vagenda on salt-of-the-earth red-blooded Muricans and in this way Trump is once again my fault, a monster I brought on myself.

No, I’m not going to read your shitty piece on the white working class because I have to figure out right now whether my family is safe, whether we’re still considered the good kind of brown and if so, how long that will last before they start coming for us, too. I have to figure out whether my child is safe at his Jewish preschool now that the anti-Semites have been emboldened, and whether my parents and sister will be okay. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones, because I live in a very blue state and have relative economic privilege, and so I hope that I can stay and help those who will need it most: the brown and black working class, the poor folk who’ll really be ground to dust by the Republican economic agenda, the women in red states who won’t be able to get the health care they need once Mike Pence gets his hands on their vaginas. They are the ones who need us now; this is the America in peril.

And for you Bernie bros who gave us three minutes to mourn the loss of our champion, an accomplished, intelligent woman who many of us were genuinely inspired by, before you started in with your “Bernie would have won if the DNC hadn’t rigged the election!” bullshit, know that what you’re telling us is that black and brown votes — the votes that actually won Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination — don’t matter, that an election can’t be legitimate unless white people say so. You are not better than the Trump people, and I am done with you, too.

This post was originally published on November 10, 2016

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