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Report From The Rockaways: Working-Class Whites—The Swing Vote Nobody Admits to Wanting
Here on New York City’s Rockaway Peninsula, Ground Zero for Hurricane Sandy, my majority-Irish, overwhelmingly Catholic, white working/middle class community will hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of the biggest in the country, on March 2. It will showcase many of the same pipe-and-drum marching bands that will perform in the even bigger parade down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue 14 days later.
And the Stix Family will be there, as usual.
When Michael Bloomberg, whom some neighbors call “the Mayor of Manhattan,” marches up front, no one will cheer. Some of my neighbors will boo him, and some will give him a one-finger salute. I will engage in my annual ritual of turning my back on him.
A colleague (Steve Sailer?) wrote that in supporting Giuliani, whites were creating an implicit racial community. They did that with Beame, Koch, Giuliani too, but their beneficiaries never repaid them. (Koch clashed publicly with blacks because he refused to suck up to them and they hated him with a passion, but he hired blacks like crazy.)
Conversely, although Bloomberg apparently calculates that the white working class has no place else to go and routinely engages in shameless pandering to blacks and Hispanics, they vote against him—even with a weak black opponent, like former comptroller Bill Thompson in 2009.
Paradoxically, the same qualities of spontaneous self-organization and self-reliance that made my community resilient enough to endure the devastation of Hurricane Sandy invite neglect by politicians. When things don’t go their way, my neighbors don’t riot, loot, or whine. So they get ignored.
Is my neighborhood full of bums, to deserve such lousy treatment? Not exactly.
The Boss saw the overflow service on the way to work, and called to tell me to go, but I was working online, and we only had dial-up then, so she couldn’t get through. Otherwise, I would have carried our toddler there, to commiserate with our Catholic neighbors.
But Bloomberg (and for that matter George W. Bush) repaid the overwhelmingly white New York Fire Department by instituting an aggressive Affirmative Action campaign, hiring incompetent black and Hispanic firemen. (And it wasn’t aggressive enough for some people.)
Another example: Bloomberg’s black schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott. A poverty pimp who previously ran the New York Urban League, Walcott discriminates against the over 95 percent white schoolchildren in the community, and on behalf of black and Spanish kids from other communities. He forbids white and Asian children living literally on the wrong side of the street to attend our elementary/middle school, and unhesitatingly breaks a law mandating yellow buses for kids in my neighborhood, including my son, to attend a magnet school further away, while using forced busing in order to bring in troublemaking black kids from miles outside of our school district.
The city promised the community its own high school, but then betrayed it by flooding the new school with a majority of non-white students from other districts, and discriminating against most local kids, who have to go to school in Brooklyn and northern Queens.
East End blacks took over and destroyed two beautiful, formerly white high schools at both ends of the peninsula. The city sought to “close” and re-brand both schools, but is now re-branding only one.
At a post-Sandy public meeting at local elementary school P.S. 114, Walcott stood in front of hundreds of parents and smugly told them that not only did their school not have a mold problem, but that he would not so much as test for mold.
After Sandy, neighbors asked me to look over their garages. The black marks on the ceilings were unambiguous. As we’re a peninsula less than a half-mile wide, we all have mold—and rust—issues in the best of times, though usually no one will admit to it. (But the summers are beautiful!)
One white father told Walcott: “Nobody has confidence in you.” [Parents: No Confidence in DOE by Howard Schwach, The Wave, December 7, 2012.]
Had Walcott’s arrogance prevailed, he would have ended up costing the city hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits. Then again, who pays for the city’s lawsuits? Us!
But instead, a group of white parents got together and paid for the testing themselves. It was positive, for both mold and asbestos. [PS 114 Parents Prove to be Right by Howard Schwach, The Wave, December 14, 2012.]
In a just world, Bloomberg would constantly praise and support New York’s embattled white working class. (In 1950, New York City was 90 percent white, and communities like mine were the norm. In 2011 New York was only 33.3 percent non-Hispanic white).
Instead, they do not exist for him.
Bloomberg has repeatedly made clear that his priority is education and jobs for blacks and Hispanics. He’s proclaimed “blacks and Latinos are not fully sharing in the promise of American freedom,” and "A job is the best anti-poverty and anti-crime program ever devised anywhere in the world." [NYC program for young men draws praise, questions, August 4, 2011] He’s given millions of dollars of his own money, and more of the taxpayers to an initiative targeted specifically at young blacks and Latinos.
I have never heard Bloomberg say a word about the need to educate and find jobs for whites (or Asians).
He hires virtually no whites to issue traffic tickets, and then dispatches armies of “brownies” (their uniforms used to be that color) in commando raids on the local elementary school at dismissal time, to ticket the parked cars of white parents—who are cooperating with the principal by not driving up to the schoolhouse door in order to pick up their little ones.
When I lived in far more populous black Far Rockaway, I saw no such ticket blitzes.
Likewise, Bloomberg hires virtually no whites to work in the Parks Department. Ironically, he has banned smoking in all city parks—but, pre-Sandy, my son and I saw black, show-no Parks employees openly smoking on the boardwalk, a few feet away from the “no smoking” signs.
Bloomberg is a plutocrat, to be sure, but he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His late father worked as a bookkeeper, and the Mayor’s lovely late mother, who attended his first two swearings-in (and who died in 2011 at the age of 102) was, until her husband died, a stay-at-home mom.
However, Bloomberg burned his bridges behind him, even affecting a fake, “mid-Atlantic” accent.
My neighborhood’s problem is that, for most offices, our voting strength is diluted, combined in electoral districts with other communities. And of course, the city is wearing down our numbers, year after year, by increasingly refusing to hire whites and by its illegal alien sanctuary policy.
In 2011, we did briefly send libertarian retired businessman Bob Turner, 70, to the House of Representatives.
Turner had shot himself in the foot in his 2010 campaign by referring to all civil servants as “parasites.” (I said he’s a libertarian.) The policemen and firemen whose votes he needed either voted against him, or undervoted. But he won the 2011 special election to replace disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner by emphasizing his opposition to abortion and his support for Israel. (Ed Koch endorsed him).
However, Turner became an indirect victim of illegal immigration—because illegal aliens are counted for apportionment purposes, creating numerous “rotten boroughs” in the West, New York State lost two seats. Turner’s West End based was lumped into an African American Brooklyn district. He ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who had been an upstate moderate (e.g., pro-Second Amendment) until Sen. Chuck Schumer took her under his wing. But he was blocked by the state GOP, whose bland candidate was subsequently, of course, trounced.
On October 29, when Sandy hit, Turner saw his house in Breezy Point burn down—along with 110 other Breezy homes.
On Sandy+3, I met a neighbor named Jim (with a Germanic last name), who lost his house to flooding, and who almost drowned when he got locked out, trying to help a driver who it turned out had abandoned his car with the lights on.
Jim promoted a conspiracy theory, whereby Bloomberg and other plutocrats sought to run the working and middle-class whites out of the Rockaways’ West End, and turn it into a preserve for themselves. It sounded paranoid to me. But last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, using “climate change” as a pretext, proposed buying destroyed shoreline homes on prime real estate with taxpayer money, supposedly to use as flood zones.
New York’s ruling elites have gleefully destroyed one white working and middle-class school and neighborhood after another. Vanity and class hatred blind Bloomberg and his class comrades to even their enlightened self-interest.
They need those white working stiffs as a buffer between themselves and the burgeoning, black and brown mob that the plutocrats created.
The outlook for New York’s white working class is bleak. As central as their votes are to citywide elections, they have not found a way to leverage those votes into power.
They can, however, serve as a cautionary tale.
What would it take for a candidate to get my neighbors’ votes? The same thing that VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow recently said, citing classics scholar Enoch Powell’s popularity in Britain, that it would take for a candidate, any candidate, to get the votes of the white working class nationally: Just stand up for their interests.
Nicholas Stix [email him] is a New York City-based journalist and researcher, much of whose work focuses on the nexus of race, crime, and education. He spent much of the 1990s teaching college in New York and New Jersey. His work has appeared in Chronicles, The New York Post, Weekly Standard, Daily News, New York Newsday, American Renaissance, Academic Questions, Ideas on Liberty and many other publications. Stix was the project director and principal author of the NPI report, The State of White America-2007. He blogs at Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.