Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.
Oct 11, 2010
But racist skinheads did not create the phenomenon of alienated poor white youths. Society did, by sweeping white poverty under the rug, blaming poor whites for their poverty and demeaning them with classist slurs like "white trash" and "trailer trash." People read about racist groups in the newspapers, shake their heads and say, "Tsk, tsk. What a shame. Something should be done about this," without realizing they are a big part of the problem. We can try to curb racist recruitment by making public service announcements until we're all blue in the face. If racist groups are the only ones offering them acceptance, brotherhood and a sense of pride, then that's where alienated poor white youths are going to gravitate. In his interview with New York Times reporter Wayne King, John Metzger of the Aryan Youth Movement stated, 'So someone who is not sure about his beliefs, you instill that pride in them, it's easy to convert to racism. Pride for yourself, it can become white pride.''
Every human being needs to have pride in himself to a certain extent. If you keep beating someone down, eventually they acquire a low self-esteem, stop trying to live up to impossible expectations and maybe turn to alcohol or drugs in order to cope. Alienate them and they seek acceptance from anywhere they can find it. The Aryan Youth Movement is able to recruit these young people because no one else will reach out to them.
Poor whites deserve to have a healthy sense of pride that has nothing to do with hatred. Our society needs to stop sending them negative messages that damage their self-esteem and fuel their anger. People should be told that words like, "white trash" are not okay to use. They are as dehumanizing as any racial slur. Where are the public service announcements about that? Shame on us and our society for deeming it acceptable.
Ordinary Americans are unknowingly pushing these young people into the arms of the white racist skinhead movement and are not innocent bystanders. They are a big part of what is causing this to happen. Being kind to poor white youths instead of hurling classist slurs in their path will make it that much harder for these skinhead groups to do their dirty work.