The ‘Struggles’ Caucasian Voters Have In America

You have to read this news story if you too have been trying to grasp, since November 2016, what made so many Caucasians lose touch with reality.  I constantly read and talk with many who cross my way, and though I hear the Caucasian resentments I never can make it sound rational.  I can not get my head around how people–as in the story in the newspaper– truly process the happenings in their local communities with such a high degree of fear and loathing.  To make that so would mean those Caucasians are bereft of religious training, morals, or any historical background about the nation in which they live.  They would have to be totally lacking of any sociological understanding of the present times.  I can not fathom how people can be so adrift from the rest of the nation.

“I swear to God, if they don’t say anything in English, I’m going to freak out.”
Heaven Engle

In a country where whites will lose majority status in about a quarter-century, and where research suggests that demographic anxiety is contributing to many of the social fissures polarizing the United States, including immigration policy, welfare retooling and the election of Donald Trump, the story of the coming decades will be, to some degree, the story of how white people adapt to a changing country.

It will be the story of people such as Heaven Engle and Venson Heim, both of whom were beginning careers on the bottom rung of an industry remade by Latinos, whose population growth is fueling that of the United States, and who were now, in unusually intense circumstances, coming to understand what it means to be outnumbered.

There were days when Venson imagined what might await America. This would be a nation where whites weren’t only a minority, but disadvantaged, punished for their collective crimes, because, as he put it, “we haven’t been the nicest race.” Speaking Spanish wouldn’t just be beneficial, but essential, and people like him would never be able to recover from what they didn’t know. “Screwed for life,” he said.

These were relatively new thoughts for him. Until now, his entire life had been lived in one America, the America of Jonestown, Pa., where he shared a drab two-story rental with his mother in a neighborhood of neat yards, basketball hoops and trucks parked in the driveways. He graduated from Northern Lebanon High School, whose demographics the principal, Jennifer Hassler, struggled to describe as “Diversity isn’t necessarily — we don’t have a lot of diversity, we just don’t.” On weekends, his family took day trips to nearby Hershey’s Chocolate World.

But since he’d started at Bell & Evans, and been plunged into another America, this one less familiar, race had been on his mind all of the time. He thought about it when Heaven said she wanted to quit. He thought about it when his mother vented about finding jobs for the immigrants at her temp agency, and when he watched the news on his big-screen television in his room, amid his sports posters, work boots and video games.

He didn’t understand why people said the United States should allow in more immigrants. If a Syrian needed asylum from a murderous regime, then yes, the country should help. But anyone crossing the border seeking jobs, even government assistance — that didn’t seem fair. What about the people already here? What about the homeless? What about him? He was the one, after all, whose career had been shaped by Washington policymakers, who he believed didn’t know what it was like to be an outsider in your own community — a feeling that had become as ordinary to him as the wrench in his back pocket, which he now took out to tinker with a malfunctioning batter machine.

“The motors are burning because they’re constantly running,” Venson shouted over the clamor, but only got confused looks in return.

Three white mechanics in blue smocks were huddled around the machine. Ten Latino workers in white smocks were huddled around them, watching as Venson unscrewed a clogged pipe to drain the excess batter, then screwed it back on. The white men stood up and, with another job done, returned to the mechanics’ break room, finding a mess of junk food and drinks and a giant American flag hanging in the back from ceiling to floor. They took off their smocks and hairnets. Venson sat at the picnic table. He took in a slow breath and let it out.

The truth was that he loved this job. He didn’t have a vocational degree, like some of the mechanics, or any experience, like others. But in just one year, he’d gotten so good at it that his bosses had bumped his hourly pay from $13.50 to $17. When the Pacmac or the DSI Portioning System acted up, he was the one who knew what to do, not because he was a savant, but because he’d worked at it, day after day, which was why he became so frustrated when workers in that department didn’t ask him for assistance. They wanted help only from Juan Leon, the shift’s lone Latino mechanic, a Puerto Rican transplant whom Venson genuinely liked and appreciated, but who didn’t know those machines. Venson did. So why didn’t they ask him for help? Why did they want solely another Latino? How did it get to be this way?