I’ve seen graffiti like this where I live — source

Gentrification and Ghost Towns

Two types of losers in the white liberal world order

Emma Lindsay
6 min readDec 13, 2016


I keep reading all these liberal think pieces on how the rise of ethnically based populist leaders in the US and Europe is due to white people trying to hold onto their white privilege. And it’s like… obviously. People want as much power as they can get, and will use whatever means at their disposal to get it.

The fact that many liberals expect white people not to use their white privilege betrays a misunderstanding of white liberalism. White people will only surrender the power white privilege gives them when doing so would grant them access to a more powerful type of power — in this case, education privilege. In the modern economy, being college educated (and, being perceived to be college educated) is a necessity to access jobs and fit in culturally in the most powerful sections of society.

Colleges, early hot spots for civil rights and gender equality movements, have developed a language of equality (or political correctness.) People who have graduated college understand how to use this language; people who haven’t often do not. To appear well educated nowadays, you have to believe in the importance of equality of all people, and you need to use language that broadcasts this belief to the world. And, you know, equality is like a good thing or whatever, so it’s not bad that educated people push for equality. However, in this current climate, the language of equality/political correctness has taken on a secondary function of being a class indicator.

I have long been curious about the strong condemnation of racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. people. Like, sure, all these things are bad, but such condemnation seems highly unlikely to change anyone’s mind. Who wants to take on the viewpoint of someone yelling at them? I wondered, what is the purpose of all these liberals “checking” each other’s privilege if it’s not actually to change someone’s underlying belief system?

I think it’s because the act of checking someone broadcasts your education privilege to the world. I have never once seen someone get their privilege checked, then say “wow, I never considered how my comment would sound to a closeted gay man.” I only see people silently fall into line, to conform to the liberal norm. Oh, that’s how we talk about these things now? I will add this to my list of arbitrary rules.

And, I think a lot of it has gotten arbitrary. We’ve had a rise of “it’s not my job to educate you” and, yeah ok, I get that it’s emotionally shredding to justify your humanhood over and over. But the deeper implication of this is fairly bleak; at an extreme it comes down to not wanting to share your worldview with people. If you think your worldview is right, why on earth wouldn’t you want to convince more people of it?

So like, ok, if you’re actively on the receiving end of discrimination, it needs to be your job to protect yourself before anything else takes consideration. However, if you’re not and you really care about equality, shouldn’t you be willing to sit down and patiently explain your viewpoint to everyone and anyone who is curious? I can only conclude many people have ulterior motivations, perhaps even (secretly) the diametrically opposite motive. They don’t actually want more people to share their views or use the language of equality because these views and this language grants them class privilege.

I think this every time I see someone rip into how deplorable Trump voters are. Even this person, who prides herself on her empathy, refuses to dig deep to see what’s going on.

Overwhelmingly, white Americans–at least the ones who voted for Trump–think that people of color are the cause of their economic problems, and they feel afraid of them. They think that LGBTQ people are sinful and a threat to the proper order of things, and they feel disgusted by them. They think that women are asking for more than they deserve and that women are inherently deceitful and untrustworthy, and they feel threatened by them.

Yes, We Did Fail to Empathize with Conservatives

How does the author know what Trump voters think?

“I know this because I listen to right-wingers and read what they write.”

Sweet — want to cite any sources of this in your writing? No? Well ok then.

The rest of the piece basically goes “if I was a terrible person with terrible beliefs, I would do just what they did!” Yeah, ok, but why do they have their beliefs? Why have liberal views of people of color, LGBT people, women, etc. changed over the past 50 years, but conservative views (supposedly) haven’t?

The answer liberal whites usually gravitate to is “we are good people!” That’s the underlying message of so much white activism — we are good people, and we must destroy the bad people!!!!! However, I think people are people, and no one’s innately “better” than anyone else. I think liberal views changed because they were rewarded for changing their views. Educated people who were functioning, primarily, in the world economy were the beneficiaries of globalism. They were the winners of the internationalization of trade. Believing in equality is part of appearing educated; white liberals benefit more from education privilege now than white privilege (or, than overt white privilege — structural white privilege still in tact) but non college grads were the ones who absorbed the downsides of globalism.

America is filled with ghost towns of the working class communities whose manufacturing/mining/etc. jobs all evaporated. People’s communities got destroyed, and if they’re white, they have no power left except the power of white privilege. If they had something better, I’m sure they’d take it, because the privileges granted through racism are fucking ugly, but they don’t.

And, rural white people aren’t the only people losing their community and resenting people from “other cultures.” The historically latino population of the mission in SF is kind of super not down with the white gentrifiers. I see all sorts of “anti-colonial” and “anti-white” graffiti in the mission. Talk about awkward! Racial tensions due to gentrification are cropping up all over the US. However, unlike the rural white, these people don’t have any sort of existing racial privilege to leverage in an effort to save their communities.

But, white liberals are fucking killing it! We get to look “not racist” by memorizing the right group-speak, but still get to destroy all these nice communities with impunity! Yes, yessssss — keep hating the racist Trump voters. THEY’re the ones you have to worry about.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Everyone always talks about how the “white working class” votes against their best interests, but I often wonder, don’t people of color do this too? The democrats, have overseen a massive concentration of wealth into privileged hands, and are the driving force behind global community destruction via gentrification. This… doesn’t really seem good for POC who generally not in existing positions of privilege. However, the democrats can secure their vote by being overtly not racist (yet, it benefits them to provoke or exaggerate racism in republicans — so they’re likely to create conditions that increase racism in conservative arenas if they can’t be caught doing it, or disproportionately highlight it when it does occur.)

The thing is, city gentrification and rural ghost towns are part of the same problem; more people are leaving the towns they grew up in to live in the city. So, the original towns suffer without enough people to keep them running, and the people already living in the city suffer as they are displaced with the recent migrants. Any effort to halt this drain would benefit both groups of people, yet people getting gentrified and people in ghost towns tend to be politically split. This ensures they don’t gang up against the ruling classes and cause real change.

Who was the ruling class again? Oh, right — all those educated liberals who think they’re better than racist Trump voters. When you destroy people, they will fight back with whatever tools they have at their disposal. If latino privilege existed, I’m sure the residents of the mission would be using it to preserve their community just like white people are trying to do now.

I’m not saying it’s not dangerous; I’m saying it’s human nature. White people don’t act “nice” out of the goodness of their heart, they act “nice” when it benefits them personally —just like every not white person on the planet. Any attempt to pretend otherwise is not just patronizing, it’s how the ruling class is preserving it’s power. By splitting people with shared interests among racial lines, powerful liberals can protect their own interests.

In 20 years, it’s won’t be the Trump voters you’ll need to worry about (they’ll all be dead.) It’ll be the powerful liberals of today.