Visible and Invisible Minorities

Yesterday I was arguing that Hillary Clinton had run a campaign that had attempted to build a rainbow coalition of oppressed minorities – blacks, gays, women, etc – to support her bid for the US presidency. But I argued that this was a collection of old oppressed minorities, that had been around for a very long time, and who had actually seen many improvements, and weren’t really quite as oppressed as they used once to be, and had become quite powerful – and even oppressive. I suggested that as old oppressed minorities saw their lives improving, and rose nearer the top of the social heap, new oppressed minorities began to appear at the bottom of the heap. The new oppressed minorities – aka “the deplorables” – included smokers, drinkers, fat people, Christians, and (in England) fox hunters.  To this might be added the working classes, and (H/T Walt) “Old white guys”. And what Donald Trump did was put together a new rainbow coalition of these new vilified, ignored, and oppressed minorities.

I had the further thought this morning that the old oppressed minorities were highly visible – or at least easily identifiable. Black people are visibly different from white people. And women are visibly different from men. And arguably gays are visibly different from straights – if they’re being visibly transgender by wearing lipstick and high heels.

The accents with which people speak are also as recognisable as colour or sex. Even in a little country like Britain, there are a wide variety of accents. I can easily recognise a Northern or Southern Irish or Scottish or Welsh or Liverpudlian (Beatles) . But more or less every single town in England has its own characteristic accent. It’s probably possible to identify which town somebody comes from – and therefore to which oppressed minority they belong. For the Irish and the Scottish and the Welsh are oppressed minorities of  a kind. As are Liverpudlians. There aren’t many of them, after all. This old Heineken ad (which I’ve probably shown before) played around with a few English accents:

We all have these identifying characteristics: colour, sex, age, accent. I’m a smoking, drinking, cheeseburger-eating, Old White Guy with a southern English accent of a kind that doesn’t pinpoint exactly where I came from. I belong to several reviled and oppressed minorities.

But the new oppressed minorities mostly aren’t so readily identifiable. And that’s probably the main reason they are ignored. People can’t see them. They don’t stand out like sore thumbs. It’s not immediately obvious whether someone smokes or drinks or eats cheeseburgers and pizzas. Nor is it immediately obvious whether they’re Christians (unless they’re wearing crosses) or fox-hunters (unless they’re wearing spurs, and sitting on a horse). Nor is it particularly obvious that old white guys might belong to an oppressed minority, except if you remember that these days young people (chiiildren) have precedence over old people, blacks over whites, and women over men, so that old white guys default to the bottom of the heap.

Some oppressed minorities might not be recognised as oppressed at all. But I think that there’s a case to be made that the old aristocracies of Europe have become oppressed minorities. Many in the French aristocracy were executed during the French revolution, and the Russian tsar and his family were murdered by the communists in the Soviet Union. So our Queen Elizabeth II is a member of a highly endangered species.

The same might be said about bankers (“banksters”) and billionaires, both of whom are reviled.

Which brings me back to Donald Trump. He’s a reviled billionaire, and member of the equally reviled 1%. He also comes from Queens or Brooklyn (I forget which) – as also does talk radio host Michael Savage – , and they both have the accents of that part of New York (as did physicist Richard Feynman).  Both come from minorities on the wrong side of town (and I’m betting that there are just as many wrong sides of town in America as there are in England). And Donald Trump has spent his whole life climbing to the top (Manhattan) from relatively humble origins, much like both the other two. Donald Trump has spent his life making Donald Trump great again. And so, as a member of (at least) two different invisible oppressed minorities, he instinctively knew how to appeal to all the other invisible oppressed minorities – while Hillary Clinton was appealing to all the visible ones.

The British left has also been appealing to visible minorities just as much as the American left. And in the process the UK Labour party seems to have forgotten all about the original oppressed minority – the British working class – that the Labour party used to represent. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party wants the votes of blacks, gays, women, and any number of other visible minorities, some of whom don’t even live in England (e.g. Palestinians). So it can’t be too much of a surprise that:

Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to turn around Labour’s fortunes in face of ‘devastating’ new polls

Just 14 per cent of people say the Labour leader would make the best Prime Minister, according to YouGov

I don’t doubt that he’s a tree-hugging Greenie as well, and worried about Climate Change. He is of course an antismoker who voted for the UK smoking ban. He’s the MP for a north London constituency – Islington North – which is probably full of people like him.

So now nobody seems to represent the British working class at all. And they are all just as “deplorable” as any Americans.

Perhaps this is how political parties die. They lose contact with their roots, as they go hunting after new minorities to vote for them, and new causes to champion.

But the main point that I wish to make is that not all oppressed minorities are as visible as the old, traditional, oppressed minorities. And oppressed minorities are always shifting around. And astute politicians – like Donald Trump or his new friend Nigel Farage – are people who keep a finger on the pulse of the ever-changing body politic.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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12 Responses to Visible and Invisible Minorities

  1. prog says:

    Still making my way through this, but this guy is AWESOME!

    Selected highlights

    The opening to the latter could be describing TC.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Same guy that Rhys mentioned a day or so back.

    • Rhys says:

      I first saw Professor Peterson on TV Ontario, protesting Canada’s new thought-crime laws (which have since passed, sadly). Some twat who currently lectures at U of Toronto, and who has a brilliant career awaiting him in public health said that the scientific consensus over the past fifty years shows that there are no biological differences between males and females; we laymen are just mistaken in thinking that there is. This, apparently, is good reason for having fifty genders or so. All of which must be properly pronouned and addressed.

      The long and the short of it is that if I call you ‘sir’ and you feel like a ‘ma’am’ at the moment (you can change gender at will in Canada), and it hurts your feelings, I can be dragged before a social justice tribunal, be forced to publicly apologise, be responsible for hundreds of thousands in fines, probably lose my job and/or professional licence, and even go to gaol if I’m found in contempt of court.

      The illogic and the sanctions are both just – stunning.

      Watching that very first debate, where Professor Peterson argued nothing save that it was very badly written legislation – and it is – I sat there wondering what’s going to happen when these freaks meet the ‘purity of the body’ freaks – the anti-smoking, anti-sugar, anti-salt, anti-drinking, anti-fat – and so on types. Because they will. Frank, I instantly picked up on the reference to Robert Proctor, too, and I don’t believe it’s coincidence.

      They are such a hateful, hateful bunch. That’s the only way they can be described. And they’ll stop at nothing to make sure that theirs is the only view heard.

      I’d never before been really glad that I’m old and won’t live to see most of it. It’s becoming downright terrifying.

      Sorry for the ramble, I’m usually more coherent, but this whole thing has had me spun.

  2. petesquiz says:

    Another interesting piece – all of the new oppressed minorities that you’ve identified (apart from Old White Guys) are oppressed by their own choices (e.g. smoking , drinking, eating). The powers-that-be have taken the stance that you are free to pursue these activities, but we disapprove of them and you will have to take the consequences as we make it more and more difficult for you. That’s why they are ‘hidden’ minorities because, in theory, you could change your behaviour.

    However, these people (and I class myself as one of them – eat too much, drink too much!) have finally stood up and said, “We’ve had enough of this nonsense! We are free to do what we want to and are not going to be bullied anymore!” Just like Peter Finch in “Network” all those years ago!

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s why they are ‘hidden’ minorities because, in theory, you could change your behaviour.

      That’s true. But I actually meant “invisible” quite literally. You can see the difference between black people and white people, men and women, and all sorts of other people. It’s obvious. But it’s not obvious who smokes, who drinks, and so on, because there’s nothing that proclaims it. And they’re oppressed minorities because they are ignored, excluded, vilified, over-taxed. They’ve been pushed to the bottom of the heap in one way or other. And at the bottom of the heap they’re also less visible. They’re less visible because the old excluded minorities keep hogging the limelight and saying “Me, me, me, me.” They never get a word in edgeways.

      And yes, they’re saying “We’ve had enough.” That’s what both Brexit and Trump were.

      • beobrigitte says:

        And yes, they’re saying “We’ve had enough.” That’s what both Brexit and Trump were.
        Indeed. And in both cases people knew that a “protest vote” may well bring other problems.
        It was time for change.

  3. prog says:

    I wouldn’t say that drinkers and foodies are minorities. Indeed, PH makes out that most people do at least one thing that warrants it’s disapproval. Yes, they’re trying to follow the TC template but completely fail to understand that legislation, rather than advice, will really start to piss off the general public, including of course the smokerphobes.

    That said (and I hope the real rebellion will start to take off), very few stood up for smokers 10 or more years ago. Or since, if truth be told. I know I shouldn’t, but I quite enjoy the hand wringing re demands for ‘this, that and the other’; I’ve suffered greatly (financially and socially) at the hands of the freaks and hardly anyone gives a flying fuck about smokers (perfect scapegoats). There’s only limited mileage to be gained out of the ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude.

  4. beobrigitte says:

    Yesterday I was arguing that Hillary Clinton had run a campaign that had attempted to build a rainbow coalition of oppressed minorities – blacks, gays, women, etc – to support her bid for the US presidency.
    As Hilary should know best, women are NOT an oppressed minority.
    1. the ratio male/female in any population (except a few for political reasons) is roughly 50/50.
    2. I doubt that Hilary did not know how to deal with a husband who stated: ” I did not have sex with that (Monica Lewinsky) woman”.

    Undoubtedly Hilary’s campaign was bullshit.

    The British left has also been appealing to visible minorities just as much as the American left. And in the process the UK Labour party seems to have forgotten all about the original oppressed minority – the British working class – that the Labour party used to represent.
    With Bliar the labour party discovered that short term money making by switching off brain leads to long term money making.

    Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to turn around Labour’s fortunes in face of ‘devastating’ new polls

    Just 14 per cent of people say the Labour leader would make the best Prime Minister, according to YouGov
    WHO wants the Bliar years back? The smokers surely don’t!!! Smokers are voters. And there is still (officially) 20% (the figure actually is higher when the secret smokers out themselves) of us.

    I had the further thought this morning that the old oppressed minorities were highly visible – or at least easily identifiable. Black people are visibly different from white people. And women are visibly different from men. And arguably gays are visibly different from straights – if they’re being visibly transgender by wearing lipstick and high heels.
    Most of the gays aren’t visible – why should they? But a lot of them are SMOKERS. And, like me, a lot of them HATE being classed as “helpless”.
    But then, there is another group I had never thought of until I went to see the giants with a bunch of gay lads. We had a great time, drunk a lot and ended up in places I never knew existed. I was asked if I was gay/bi. The latter threw me a bit as it never entered my head. The man was flabbergasted when I said that I was straight but “with that lot” and having a great day out!

    Our society is breaking into more and more defined minority groups that don’t fit the BBC’s view of people. Why is this harping on about black people? For me the name Jean-Marc is the best example of the melanin content of skin not being lasting in memory. He was a boyfriend of a friend of mine and from Martinique. And since he spoke French we often crossed the border. We had many laughs and missed out on his horse betting (we’d have won a lot if we had had the cash to bet). However, I remember him as a friend. In my mind we (the group of friends we were at the time) looked all the same. I only see him as a black person when I dig out the old pictures…
    I don’t need a BBC to grab some black people with issues to highlight “problems” that don’t exist in a well functioning society nowadays. Oh, ….. well functioning society NOWADAYS?????

  5. beobrigitte says:

    We all have these identifying characteristics: colour, sex, age, accent. I’m a smoking, drinking, cheeseburger-eating, Old White Guy with a southern English accent of a kind that doesn’t pinpoint exactly where I came from. I belong to several reviled and oppressed minorities.
    Old white woman with an accent that gave me the name “aar german scouser”. I belong to several reviled and oppressed minorities across the borders. Avoiding scaremongering me into following up medical tests by receiving a lab request form stating the psychic diagnosis CVD (cardiovascular disease) without ever having had any tests done for it. Apart from that it is getting f*cking hard to get and keep my heart beat into the 120/min that burn calories when exercising. And a blood pressure of 120/80 at my age (probably dropped since I’ve started training) says that my arteries are just fine. Despite nearly 48 years of smoking.

    I can try and surgically alter my face but I get into trouble if I try and do the same with my birth certificate. Big pharma spots another oldie ready for tablets that require other tablets to combat the side effects for the first…

    The latest I got from my health center was a letter begging for support of the stop smoking lark. I put my cigarette lighter to it and lit my ciggie with it. One does what one can.

  6. Pingback: Frank Davis – Minorías visibles e invisibles | Contra la ley "antitabaco"

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