White Working Class Studies Could Reverse Death Trend

White Working Class Studies Could Reverse Death Trend; “Deaths of Despair” Concentrated in Often Misunderstood Population

White Working Class Studies

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 28, 2019) –  America’s startling life expectancy rates – which, contrary to most of the world, are declining rather than improving – might be reversed by providing better and more targeted governmental assistance to the population where the decline has been most severe and pervasive, and that might best be accomplished by having white working class [WWC] studies, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

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Much of the excess mortality which is dragging down life expectancy occurs primarily in the 25-to-64 age group, and from so-called deaths of despair including drug overdoses, alcoholism (including liver disease) and suicide, according to a major new study in Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA] which confirmed the tread over a three-year period.

It concluded that there is no single culprit, while noting that smoking and obesity - two problems more prevalent in the lower classes - also play a significant role.

While the new report suggests that the problem is no longer largely confined to the WWC (Caucasians without a four-year college degrees working in blue-, white-, and pink-collar jobs), that's still where far too much of it is concentrated.

One reason why government programs designed to help WWC 25-64 year-old people, and possibly ameliorate the despair in this lives which is shortening them, is that most in government - including those who administer the programs, as well as legislators who design them - don't really understand the views and customs of the people they are trying to help, and this reduces the effectiveness of the programs they design and administer.

How to help the white working class

This misunderstanding became all too evident when what appeared to be a large majority of government workers, politicians, and political analysts were so surprised that Donald Trump won the election and Hillary Clinton did not; it appeared that they simply did not understand which motivates and drives the huge number of white workers without a four-year college degree.

For example, a large number in the WWC resent many government programs designed to help the poor; the undeserving poor as some of them put it.

So simply trying to extend and expand such programs to include White Working Class who are working, but suffering despair because they are barely getting by, often doesn't help their mental or physical health because they are reluctant to join and accept what they may think of a "handout."

Similarly, trying to encourage - by providing financial aide, retraining, etc. - men who once had high paying factory or other jobs dominated by males into available and perhaps well paying positions where they have to work with if not under women may fail because of issues related to male dignity; an attitude often shared by their wives or girlfriends.

For these and many other reasons, says Banzhaf, and also for the same reason that colleges provide and professors research black studies, gay studies, etc., universities should also establish white working class studies and programs to more effectively help those who are now literally killing themselves with diseases born of despair.



About the Author

JOHN F. BANZHAF
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D. Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School, FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor, Fellow, World Technology Network, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418 http://banzhaf.net/ jbanzhaf@law.gwu.edu