Why the White Working Class Is Falling Behind
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by J. D. VANCE August 16, 2016 4:00 AM
‘The rhetoric of hard work conflicts with the reality on the ground.’
Editor’s Note: The following article is adapted from Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper).
“Growing up in Middletown, Ohio, we had no sense that failing to achieve higher education would bring shame or any other consequences. The message wasn’t explicit; teachers didn’t tell us that we were too stupid or poor to make it. Nevertheless, it was all around us, like the air we breathed: No one in our families had gone to college; older friends and siblings were perfectly content to stay in Middletown, regardless of their career prospects; we knew no one at a prestigious out-of-state school; and everyone knew at least one young adult who was underemployed or didn’t have a job at all. . . . ”