There’s another front-page article today in The New York Times about how the American working class is made up of a bunch of racist assholes. As usual, the evidence for such a thesis is sketchy, but that doesn’t stop it from being advanced with great conviction.
The story is about out-of-state workers, both legal and illegal, who are cleaning up post-Katrina New Orleans. After a brief lead–which in true Times style is more somnolent than snappy–the writer finds her theme:
And they are stirring up resentment. Louisianians, from high-level public officials to low-wage workers, have begun to complain about the influx of outsiders they perceive as having come to profit off their pain.
These pain-profiteers of course are not Halliburton et al. but guys like Jose Garcia, a migrant worker from North Carolina who makes $10 for every refrigerator he discards. Nonetheless, the Times asserts, workers in Louisiana are pissed about this. One union manager seems interested in talking about how his members would like the jobs but don’t have housing close enough to take them, but the Times, determined to portray workers (especially in the South) as it sees them, appends his remarks with an unfortunate statement about the racial character of one of the migrant-worker camps. One other worker, an electrician who believes he was fired so his job could go to “lower-paid, illegal workers,” is cited.
That’s it, that’s the extent of the “resentment” and “ill will” felt by the working class. On the jump page for this article there are two other pieces, about how Katrina evacuees are in the process of being evicted not only from their permanent homes in New Orleans but also their temporary places in Texas. The racism of workers, even though it’s elusive and hard to illustrate, deserves front-page coverage, but the racism of landlords and state officials, which is unconcealed and obvious, gets shunted to the back pages.