By Kevin Palmer
Latent guilt, not diminished economic or social well-being, is more likely the cause of rising White mortality. A March 2017 Brookings article by Ann Case and Sir Angus Deaton, Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st century, suggested the shocking increase in mid-life mortality among White non-Hispanic Americans is primarily caused by “deaths of despair” from drugs, alcohol, and suicide.
According to the article, “The authors suggest that the in-creases in deaths of despair are accompanied by a measurable deterioration in economic and social well-being, and an ac-cumulation of pain, distress, and social dysfunction in the lives of working-class Whites.” This is more of an excuse, not a plausible explanation since mortality among Blacks is lower than Whites. Whites in America have no reason to be hopeless. In every economic and social category Whites are enjoying a higher standard of living than Blacks.
Therefore, the increase in White mortality cannot be from deteriorating economic or social conditions. For centuries Blacks have lived under the worst economic and social conditions during slavery and Jim Crow. Even today they are a marginalized subgroup. Nevertheless, Blacks did not succumb to hopelessness. Guilt traumatized oppressors can learn from the oppressed.
Therefore, instead of analyzing what is emotionally wrong with Whites, analyze what is emotionally right with Blacks.