Mother‚Äôs Little Helper
I wrote here about some worrying trends among whites in America. I noted:
The out-of-wedlock birth rate for whites is higher now than the black rate was in the 1960s when illegitimate births among blacks so alarmed Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
We also know that drug abuse plagues white communities as well as black ones. And whites reportedly are contributing more than blacks to the epidemic of disability claims which is taking an inordinate number of Americans out of the work force.
I should also have mentioned the high rate of alcohol abuse among white women in America. The Washington Post, as part of its series on the rising death rates among whites in midlife, particularly women, describes the problem:
Women in America are drinking far more, and far more frequently, than their mothers or grandmothers did, and alcohol consumption is killing them in record numbers. . . .
White women are particularly likely to drink dangerously, with more than a quarter drinking multiple times a week and the share of binge drinking up 40 percent since 1997, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal health data. In 2013, more than a million women of all races wound up in emergency rooms as a result of heavy drinking, with women in middle age most likely to suffer severe intoxication.
This behavior has contributed to a startling increase in early mortality. The rate of alcohol-related¬≠ deaths for white women ages 35 to 54 has more than doubled since 1999, according to The Post analysis, accounting for 8 percent of deaths in this age group in 2015.
Post reporters Kimberly Kindy and Dan Keating want to blame increased alcohol consumption by women on advertising. Using the left‚Äôs favorite new word, the Post argues that clever advertisers have used social media to ‚Äúnormalize‚ÄĚ heavy drinking by women. This is hardly an unexpected line for a liberal newspaper to take.
An alternative view would connect the rise in alcohol abuse with the phenomena I pointed to at the beginning of this post ‚ÄĒ the increase in single-parent families, the rise in drug abuse, and a declining work ethic. The Post implicitly makes some of these connection by including its article on alcohol abuse in a series that also encompasses drug abuse. As noted, though, when it comes to drinking the Post elects to focus on advertising.
The interesting question, it seems to me, is the one I posed in my earlier post: Are the social ills mentioned above taking hold in white America because a considerable segment of the white population has been left behind economically; or is a considerable segment of the white population being left behind economically because these social ills have taken hold?
The Rolling Stones, in possibly their worst song ever, offered their take 50 years ago: