But to white Americans who have been struggling with other disadvantages, or who worked hard for the success that they’ve had, the term can sound unfair because it seemingly minimizes their own hardships.
“I firmly believe that nothing was handed to me,” says Joe Fitzgerald, a 72-year-old former trucker from Jacksonville. “I can see how you might see disadvantages if you’re coming from west Baltimore or the south side of Chicago or Detroit. But I gotta believe there are people in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky and west Texas who feel the same way, and they’re white.”
“A huge portion of that population are underclass and poor and resent being labeled as having more … You need to get out of DC and NY to see what is going on,” one Axios reader from Illinois, an epicenter of disappearing jobs, wrote to us.
Between the lines: What gets lost in this view is that millions of people of color are facing the same hardships as struggling, lower-income white Americans on top of a system that is rigged against them.