This has been the most bile-inducing election since I’ve been old enough to vote. Through it all, I’ve bitten my tongue and respected the passionate beliefs and stances on both sides. Outside of a couple of funny videos, I didn’t personally post anything on Facebook about the campaign, the election or the candidates.
But in the aftermath of the election, I have finally reached my breaking point. I have to speak out on the usage of the term “uneducated whites.” (Let me be clear – I didn’t support either candidate. Let’s get that out of the way, before I’m accused of being an “uneducated white.”)
Please, my beloved fellow citizens of these United States, do not criticize Trump out of one side of your mouth for being offensive and divisive, and then say he was elected by “uneducated whites.” I find that term highly offensive and here’s why…
I’m an “uneducated white.”
I’ve also, throughout my lifetime, held positions that typically require a degree: Writer, editor, publisher, office manager, marketing director and SCHOOL TEACHER. All without a degree. And I’d be happy to show you a list of references of people who can attest to the fact that I performed these duties as well as any “educated white.” In fact, I have glowing reviews from previous employers anytime I need to list them as references.
I performed the same duties as an “educated white,” but I have always been compensated as an “uneducated white.” This is why I insisted that my kids attend college – not so they’d be more “enlightened” or “intellectually superior,” but so they would be fairly compensated for their efforts.
In my personal experience, when you are an “uneducated white,” you have to work extremely hard and be incredibly creative to prove that you are worthy of the same opportunity as someone with a degree. You have to be clever, diligent and determined – all things that are not taught in college textbooks. Ask Ted Turner, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs (God rest his soul), Mark Zuckerberg and Ralph Lauren — all “uneducated whites” — or “uneducated billionaires,” if you prefer.
I have contributed to three college educations – I paid household bills while my ex went to engineering school, and saved both of my kids thousands of dollars in room and board while they attended college, by letting them continue to live with me for free. So while I’ve assisted three other American citizens in getting a degree, I remain an “uneducated white.”
We’ve been electing solid presidents long before this election, and since our country was founded by immigrants, how many of those early presidents were elected by “uneducated whites”? What if the other candidate had won, and people dared to say that she had been elected by “uneducated minorities”? Can you begin to see how terribly offensive this is? Can you see that it’s not OK to call Trump offensive and divisive and then say he was elected by “uneducated whites”?
My grandfather had an eighth grade education and became a general in the Air Force. My other grandfather served in the Navy during World War II and was offered the G.I. Bill when he got home to attend college for free. He didn’t take it because he already had a wife and a son. He had to go to work. He didn’t have four years to get a degree, even if it was free. He had mouths to feed. My grandfather was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but he would be viewed today – despite his bravery, loyalty and patriotism – as an “uneducated white.”
I think this passage – from an article written by (self-described) liberal elitist Garrison Keillor in the Washington Post – was my tipping point…
The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch.
He closes by saying, “Let the uneducated have their day.”
Maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls??? Geez that sounds a lot like the gross generalizations we hear when ignorant people talk about women, minorities and the LGBT community.
I’m an uneducated white. I live in a rural area (another thing being highly condemned right now). I’ve never grabbed a stranger’s crotch, I don’t own an RV, and I wouldn’t know what a spotted owl looked like if it swooped down and pecked my face. It’s interesting to note that I HAVE been accused of being the “grammar police” and that I have shelves – with books on them. Gasp.
The point is this – a college education doesn’t somehow make you more enlightened or intellectually superior. It doesn’t make you more capable of casting a carefully considered vote. And in the case of Mr. Keillor – who we have to assume is highly educated – it doesn’t safeguard you from being ignorant.
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