Monday, January 05, 2009

White Working Class - Victims or Not?

Check out this interesting article in today's Independent by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:

She makes an interesting point, namely that the apologists who believe that the white working class are a) all important and b) should be indulged in their racism should quit.

She's right that not only white working class should be considered working class.

My own opinion is this - shouldn't the label 'working class' be dispensed with? Those of us who don't come under what this label really means do work and many who come under the label don't and don't want to.

In the past there was a clear divide between people who had to work for a living and those who didn't and there was animosity on both sides. This is not the case now. Sadly, working class now means, white, uneducated, base, lazy and criminal both here and in the States.

As this type of person is who is referred to when using the term I agree with the writer. From my observations, reading and the observations of others who are in the position to know, people of this ilk generally have themselves to call to account for their perceived lowly position. They often apparently fail to see that behaving in the extremely anti-social way they often do is what keeps them on the fringe - not the sweat, brain power and effort of someone who strives to support themselves and improve their family's lot.

Funny thing is, there are many poor uneducated people in Jamaica who don't behave like white working class. Poverty and lack of education should not mean baseness and an unwillingness to better yourself. You know what I think the defining difference here is? In the white western word of the UK and the US there is easily available (at least in the UK's case) free money - often with few or no strings attached. It is acceptable to live indoors and to eat without earning the right to by working. In Jamaica if you don't earn money to support yourself you're on your own mate.

A lesson to be learned here I think. Many have cried down the government's and Iain Duncan Smith's proposals to drastically cut back on benefits and only provide them for people who really need them and not to provide them indefinitely and without conditions but they shouldn't. We are all better off when people have pride in themselves and can see the fruits of their efforts.

There's so much help available for those who won't work while those who do can get no assistance (practically all government economic assistance in these harsh times is for those on benefits).

If working class means what I outlined above no-one should be proud of being so. We should all aspire to at least wanting and actively seeking to support ourselves and out families.