Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland

Jonathan M. Metzl. Basic, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5416-4498-4
In this groundbreaking work, Metzl, physician and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, demonstrates the “mortal trade-offs” white Americans make when they vote with the goal of restoring their racial privilege and end up endorsing “political positions that directly harm their own health and well-being.” Metzl methodically and adeptly marshals statistical evidence that policies promising to bolster white Americans’ status have instead made life “sicker, harder, and shorter” for all Americans. He finds that, in Missouri, under the lax gun laws white voters favored, white men became 2.38 times more likely than men of other races to die by firearm suicide. In Tennessee, opposition to the Affordable Care Act “cost every single white resident of the state 14.1 days of life”; many white Tennesseans, Metzl writes, “voiced a willingness to die, literally, rather than embrace a law that gave minority or immigrant persons more access to care.” A “Tea Party-fueled” gutting of school funding in Kansas greatly increased the number of people dropping out of high school, which “correlates with nine years of lost life expectancy.” This tightly constructed analysis of the unexpected consequences of American political behavior exemplifies excellence in argumentative writing, on a topic of cultural significance. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2019
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-5416-4497-7
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