Despite being a once revered medical journal, the Lancet appears to have taken a sharp turn to the left. The journal published a book review stating that “white Americans continue to mobilise to maintain or extend the exclusive advantages whiteness offers those who can become white.”
So, just by being white, a person has “exclusive advantages” over those who are not white. Yeah, that makes perfect sense…NOT!
The Lancet selected Rhea W. Boyd, a Minority Health Policy Fellow at Harvard’s School of Public Health, to review a 2019 book called Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan Metzl, whose thesis is that “right-wing backlash policies have mortal consequences — even for the white voters they promise to help.”
In his book, Metzl argues that white mortality is up in the United States ever since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, since in order to “maintain an imagined place atop a racial hierarchy,” white Americans who harbor “racial resentment” support policies that seem to limit the freedoms or resources available to non-whites, even though such decisions threaten their own wellbeing as well.
“From expansive gun legislation to broad divestment in government programmes, Metzl characterises white liberties that endanger white lives or imperil white futures as ‘dying of whiteness,’” Boyd said.
She agreed with Metzl’s contentions in her review, but added that she thinks he is too easy on white people by attributing their political actions to “racial resentment” that “erases white agency through emotional euphemism.”
“At times, Metzl artfully articulates and historicises the racist origins of white interest in firearm fanaticism and ‘small government’ politics,” Boyd continued. “At others, he turns to ‘racial anxieties,’ racially charged ‘fears,’ or ‘racial resentment’ to describe white people’s political investment in white racial dominance.”
Boyd decries the “common practice” of mis-attributing “white self-destruction and violence to psychological states” or obscuring “the impacts of defending whiteness through emotional euphemisms.”
Drivers of white mortality such as suicide, chronic liver disease, and drug and alcohol poisoning have been described as “diseases of despair,” Boyd notes, while they should be classified as “diseases of disproportionate opportunity (to wield firearms) and access (to prescription opiates).”
It is a mistake — she asserts — to “assert that resentment, despair, or any emotion that arises from being ‘left behind’ accounts for white Americans’ self-destructive actions, violent politics, or declining population health.”
The real population that has been left behind are blacks, she argues, but the difference is that blacks have consistently supported policies that benefit everyone while whites only support policies that benefit themselves.
She added that “despite suffering at every turn of every decade of every century in this nation, generations of Black Americans have sought political reforms that expand electoral participation, increase government protections, and extend public resources beyond their individual or group benefit.”
“For humans to use whiteness to manufacture access and privilege,” Boyd said, “they must engineer scarcity and loss. This entanglement between access and scarcity, privilege and loss, means white people’s unearned advantages have always been tethered to a legacy of untold deaths.”
She concludes that the only way to get rid of racism “is to eliminate whiteness all together.”