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May 22, 1964  Lyndon B. Johnson launches the Great Society.
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The loss of "white male privilege" is at the root of the opioid crisis. Narcan won't replace it.

Here's the reality. All social isolation is crippling. Social isolation is the consequence of discrimination, segregation and now...the loss white male privilege. In any socially isolated community household instability is an outcome.

City Lab notes: "Men were once the primary breadwinners in areas like Ross County, where they worked good manufacturing jobs and came home at the end of the day to wives like Kemper-Hermann, who sometimes worked, but sometimes stayed home. But today in Ross County, manufacturing jobs have been outsourced or automated, and men have more time on their hands and less income to support their families. Some have turned to alcohol or drugs to fill their time—Ross County is one of the areas of Ohio hit hardest by the opioid epidemic—and are dying early of drug overdoses or other health problems. Others are just spending more and more time watching TV and playing video games. Women...are left to raise children, work full-time jobs, and generally pick up the pieces of a region ravaged by the opioid epidemic and the decline of manufacturing."

Instead of making common cause with other socially isolated groups (African Americans, Hispanics, and women), white working class men are mourning the loss of white male privilege. And the elite play them like a violin through the media myths of their victimization: guns, feminism, and immigration. At the same time white working class males have given up on institutions that once met their needs. "Thirty-six percent said they never participated in secular organizations such as book clubs, sports teams, neighborhood associations or parent-teacher associations." Advocates can take control of grassroots channels to begin to address white working class instability. Social service providers know how to promote "grief work" and couples' counseling. Community activists know how to promote social engagement and diversity. The time to start is now.
posted May 15, 2017
Read more on civic engagement
Update May 17, 2017
     We know that social isolation can be a physiological killer. A new study of African Americans in segregated communities how higher rates of hypertension (a killer) than African Americans in integrated settings. 
    The idea that white working class males are socially isolated is a relatively new discovery, but the phenomenon goes back to Archie Bunker.
     For decades, working class whites, regardless of wealth or education, have been "promised" that they get to climb the ladder towards success two or three rungs above everyone else. More likely to graduate from high school, avoid arrest for "pranks," and get a job with a career pathway (apprenticeships, family connections, unionized workplaces). It's only natural that white male workers would support "the system" that provides them with these benefits.But "the system has changed. The social evolution of increasing rights for non-whites and females, coupled with the increasing structural inequality in the economy, means that today's white male workers face a profound contradiction. They (we) are no longer starting several rungs up the ladder and, as they(we) perceive it, other "demographics" like women and African Americans are getting "benefits." The result for the white, male working  class is resentment and despair.   
     Researcher Carol Graham says: "One of the things we find is that there is really low optimism for the future among poor whites, and desperation and suicide. Even though Hispanics and blacks are equally poor and probably more disadvantaged on many fronts, they maintain much higher levels of optimism about the future, and they’re not suffering from the same levels of suicide and depression." 
     Given the choice between continuing to support "the system" or joining the resistance, white male workers by and large choose the devil they know and, in the process. As so, white male workers become increasingly reactionary, blaming non-whites for stealing their opportunities. The upshot of this blaming could include police violence, domestic violence, punitive immigration policies, and "Making America Great Again."<br>What the opioid crisis teaches progressives is that "Trumpism" is not just sociological, but psychological as well. Treating the psychological symptoms of despair without creating a new sociological context seems half-doing the job. Not treating the psychological symptoms means perpetual despair and dysfunction among individuals and communities.
     The message to advocates is the same: rebuild a community of hope.

What do you want to do? 
Mary Clark responds to CityScape story on Slumlords in Cincinnati.
"As an agent with a background in rental housing, especially multifamilies, I have always wondered what we can do to bring standards to investment and how to mandate some kind of education for any entity or person planning on purchasing rental housing in Ohio. This is a complicated situation but the lack of education for prospective investors seems to be an important aspect which is overlooked." Read more here.

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