The cruel double standard that could save Obamacare
If you want to know why support for Obamacare is at an all-time high, here’s one explanation:
A change in complexion leads to a change in perception.
That’s how some explain the surging popularity of the embattled health care law. A recent poll from the Pew Research Center showed that 54% of Americans now approve of it, the highest number ever recorded by Pew. Some attribute this change to the fact that millions of Americans are now receiving help from the law just as Republicans are poised to dismantle it.
But others cite another factor: The face of Obamacare is now white.
More Americans now realize Obamacare helps millions of working class whites and that it’s not — as once portrayed by conservatives — a form of welfare pushed by the first black president to help people of color, historians and scholars say. The media landscape is filled with images of the furrowed brows of anxious white residents at congressional town halls who fear they will suffer if they lose Obamacare, says Judy Lubin, a sociologist and adjunct professor at Howard University in Washington.
“When you see white working-class Americans saying that I’m benefiting and my family is getting help from the Affordable Care Act, you start to hear ‘repair’ not ‘repeal,'” Lubin says. “Whites standing up in support of a policy changes the dynamics of the conversation.”
The latest wrinkle in the Obamacare debate is revealing the existence of what the late comedian George Carlin called the ”American double standard.” It’s a brutal calculus that works this way: A crisis hits a marginalized group of Americans and no one cares; it hits white people — particularly white men — and it becomes a national emergency, activists and historians say.
“The country is founded on the double standard,” Carlin said. “We were founded on a very basic double standard. This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free … in order to continue owning their black African people … so they can wipe out the rest of the red Indian people … and move West and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people.”
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