A Loving Letter From the Left-Leaning White Trash to the Left-Drowning White Elites.
I guess I feel able to try my hand at this because I’m a bit of both.
Growing up in small-town, all-white rural Indiana within a conservative family (that has allowed me to explore every inch of the world, from actual places to trains of thought) has put me in an odd position: one of attachment to that nostalgic little town that I despised as a kid, and one of attachment to the abstract idea that I’m educated and cultured and, at the very least, not the norm. It’s a privileged and pretentious position to be in, maybe, but at least I’m aware of that.
For a while now, even before the culture wars that have gripped America as of late, I’ve felt that white liberals tend to simplify the racial, political, and socioeconomic they live in far too much. Just like the far-right from the heartland, it’s them against the world. And that’s coming from a self-described independent progressive who wants nothing more than a pragmatically progressive wave to sweep America, from the Bible belt outward. One that could, hypothetically, be founded in the Christianity that many in the middle of the country use as a backdrop for the politics they identify with now.
But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to defend — no, explain — the people I grew up around. The people who are written off as racist, uneducated rednecks by their fellow Americans. And you don’t have to listen, but remember that putting yourself in their shoes is a far better option than the alternative: name-calling, hate, and a deepening division rooted in a complete lack of understanding.
DEAR WHITE LIBERAL,
I encounter y’all daily, whether it’s in person, on social media, or in the New York Times. Let me be clear: the type of liberal you find on the coast is entirely different than the type of liberal you find in, say, the Midwest. Indiana. Ohio. Iowa. We tend to be a little more passively accepting of different opinions, while quite a bit less ready to take up a radical or revolutionary stance on some things. But all the same, we have those awkward conversations with family members who are of differing political opinions quite often and speak our…