The ‘white working class’

Sorry this is short, when more detail would be useful… I was in a rush, and will rewrite over the weekend!

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At last I’m returning to the subject of my PhD, courtesy of an announcement by John Denham that they are going to start giving money to ‘connect with resentful white working-class communities in 130 wards across England and undercut rightwing extremism’ (Guardian). As usual the white working class are stereotyped as racist (and voting BNP because they are racist, as opposed to being concerned with immigration or seeing Labour as being too in bed with the rich).

I’m more inclined to believe this analysis, and I actually have government data to back it up. On the government’s own ‘social cohesion’ measures the more deprived people are more likely to socialise with people who are of a ‘different ethnic or religious group’.

Of all white people, 4.6% of the least deprived ‘mix with different ethnic and religious groups’ at home or their home on a daily basis, compared to 9.7% of the most deprived (from the citizenship survey). My own experience is of places where people may use language that the middle-classes wouldn’t use, and might vote BNP on immigration issues, yet have no problem sitting in the pub with their black mates. And then there are middle-class people who are really careful about their langauage, but wouldn’t be happy if their daughter married someone who wasn’t like them.

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