Thinking ‘Conservative’ in Tennessee a Major Health Risk, Vanderbilt University Professor Says in New Book

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White Tennessee residents endanger their own health by rejecting government health care programs and by embracing pro-gun and anti-tax policies, according to a new book a Vanderbilt University professor just released.

The book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, even says “explicit racism” can motivate certain white people to cling to these conservative points of view.

This, according to a press release Vanderbilt officials put out this week.

Vanderbilt Professor Jonathan Metzl wrote the book.

Metzl, according to Vanderbilt’s press release, is a professor of sociology and medicine and a professor of health and society.

Metzl did not return The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment this week.

Metzl said in the press release that he set out to “understand how white Americans reconciled support for anti-tax, pro-gun policies in regions struggling with the impact of poor health care and education and high rates of gun death.”

He said he focused on three specific areas — Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, school funding in Kansas, and gun laws in Missouri. Metzl said in the press release that he has lived in all three of those states.

“In his book, Metzl explains that today’s skepticism toward gun control and government programs has a long history in the segregated South and Midwest, where gun ownership, affordable health care and quality education were considered privileges that only whites deserved,” according to the press release.

“Likewise, those attitudes reflected a view of whiteness that emphasized extreme self-reliance—the idea that individuals can and should be solely responsible for the health, safety and well-being of themselves and their loved ones.”

Quoting Metzl, the Vanderbilt press release said this view is linked to backlash following the U.S. Civil War and federal interventions to end segregation. Metzl also said these attitudes resurged following the election of former Democratic President Barack Obama.

Metzl said he interviewed working and middle-class whites about why they were pro-gun, anti-tax, and rejected government-sponsored health care.

“Support wasn’t necessarily motivated by explicit racism, he said, though he did encounter that, too—all it took was an investment in this particular brand of ‘whiteness,’” according to the press release.

“Furthermore, through statistical analyses of population and life expectancy, he found these attitudes carried significant health consequences not only for minorities and immigrants, but whites as well.”

In other words, according to the press release, quoting Metzl, “whiteness itself has become a negative health indicator.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Jonathan Meltz” by Vanderbilt University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Thoughts to “Thinking ‘Conservative’ in Tennessee a Major Health Risk, Vanderbilt University Professor Says in New Book”

  1. […] Star reported in March, Metzl’s book focused on three specific areas — Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, school funding […]

  2. […] Star reported in March, Metzl’s book focused on three specific areas — Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, school funding […]

  3. […] The Star reported in March, Metzl’s book focused on three specific areas — Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, school funding […]

  4. […] The Tennessee Star reported, Jonathan Metzl, professor of sociology and medicine recently wrote a book called Dying of […]

  5. denny hastings

    IT IS GREAT TO HEAR FROM A INDUVIDUAL WITH SUCH EXPERIENCE AS THIS PREFESSOR. WONDERFUL STATMENTS COMMING FOR INDIVDDUAL WHO HAS HAD GREAT EXPERIENCE IN CREATING JOBS, MAKING A PAYROLL, LEARNING HOW TO INTERPET IRS LAWS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, HOW TO DEAL WITH EMPLOYEES ON A DAILY BASES, BRINGING THERE PERSONAL ISSUES TO WORK. KEEPING CLIANTS HAPPY, FOLLOWING ALL LOCAL CORES, UNDERSTANDING CASH FLOW TO KEEP DOORS OPEN WHERE ALL CAN BE PAID, UNDERSTANDING ALL STATE LAWS THAT APPLY AND ARE CONSTANTLY BEING CHANGED, WORRYING ABOUT EVERY TRIAL LAWER LOOKING FOR SOME LEGAL WAY TO TAKE AWAY WHAT YOU HAVE WORKED SO HARD FOR, TAKING ALL THESE PROBLEMS HOME WITH YOU EACH NIGHT AND THEN HAVING TIME FOR FAMILY. I FORGOTT THIS IS A “PROFESSOR” WHO PROBABLY ONLY HAS NINE TO TWELVE HOURS OF CLASS ROOM WORK PER WEEK. WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHAT A DAY’S HARDWORK WOULD BE UNTIL HE WAS FORCED TO DO IT, WHICH MOST LIKELY HE COULDNOT FINISH..” PROFESSOR”, THOSE WHO TEACH BECAUSE THEY CAN PRACTICE IN REAL LIFE WHAT THEY PREACH. NOT ALL BUT MOST, FEW EXCEPTIONS, THOSE THAT ARE NOT CRAZY LIBERALS THAT WOULD STARVE TO DEATH IF NOT FOR OTHERS. MY MISTAKE I DIDN’T SEE THE WORD” PROFESSOR”. WHAT A JOKE.

  6. Not2day

    After reading this article about the b.s. Metzl is claiming……..I’m speechless.
    How do you respond to such insane garbage? And to think he is pushing this crap on impressionable young people. Good Grief!

  7. lb

    Here is why Conservatives just laugh when they see “Poll from Vanderbilt” creaming headlines in the Tennessean or elsewhere..

  8. Ron W

    I suppose he supports a “monopoly of violence” by the government whereby government agents are armed, but not citizens. An elemmentary knowledge of history demonstrates that citizen disarmament was always facilitated tyranny, slavery and mass murder by guns in the hands of government agents. The professor would probably assure us that “would never happen here”. Hey Prof, how about liberty and allowing the People to exercise “pro choice” on these matters. The government should never mandate gun ownership nor what or how we decide to manage our own healthcare.

  9. Wolf Woman

    “Likewise, those attitudes reflected a view of whiteness that emphasized extreme self-reliance—the idea that individuals can and should be solely responsible for the health, safety and well-being of themselves and their loved ones.”

    Quoting Metzl, the Vanderbilt press release said this view is linked to backlash following the U.S. Civil War and federal interventions to end segregation.”

    As an 8th generation Tennessean, I will tell you Metzl is so wrong about his view of self-reliance being a backlash from the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Did he ever read any American history besides Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States? Self-reliance was a characteristic of all the pioneers and settlers of this nation. This nanny-state socialist makes self-reliance sound like a dirty word and offends my redneck, cracker soul.

  10. Steve Allen

    What is it with Vanderbilt, isn’t that the same school that the young law breaker Jones attends? Identity politics at its best. I can tell you that being a conservative in the Socialist Republic of Vermont was far more damaging to my health than living in Tennessee. After the presidential election in 2016 people stopped talking to us because we voted for President Trump. We were treated by many people as if we no longer belonged to the community. How do you think that makes a person feel mentally?

    Firearms ownership. Only a fool would believe that law enforcement is going to arrive in time to save your life from a violent assault. I bet Professor Metzl doesn’t live in the inner city with the high crime. Health care. The government is the last entity that I want in control of my health care. Taxes. I want my hard earned money being spent on programs that make my life better, not that feed some bloated, wasteful, socialist government.

    I have an idea, why don’t you and all the other liberal/socialists move up to New England (one benefit is that you would be countering the outflow of people who are fed up with the high taxes) and stop trying to run our lives. But then you wouldn’t be able to slake your insatiable thirst to make decisions for us, as obviously we’re not smart enough to make them ourselves. There seem to be two lines of thought these days….those of us who choose to make our own decision on how we will live our lives, and those who want to be taken care of, have all their decisions made for them, and blindly do whatever the government says is best. I know which camp I’m in.

    1. Horatio Bunce

      Yes, the 1%ers at Vanderbilt, where the tuition at $60k is greater than the average annual household income of Tennesseans. I guess he stepped across the tracks to interview the little people of the middle class.

      Maybe he wasn’t here when Tennessee was the pilot project for Hillarycare known as TennCare that was bankrupting the state, with the average Tenncare recipient on 18 prescription meds (from Bredesen’s state of the state speech) – but we just can’t figure out why all the prescription pain meds are being abused…

  11. 83ragtop50

    Just what I would expect coming out of Vanderbilt. A den of idiocy.

  12. Mark Sparks

    Maybe this book professor may have lived in all three states he studied or “lived in” , it certainly doesn’t make him an expert. I have lived in house all my life, that doesn’t mean I’m a contractor.

  13. Brian Heise

    What a pile of Bogus BS. This man has no grip on reality.

  14. rick

    What a bunch of nonsense!

  15. Ram Muchewicz

    Socialism is much like HIV, in that the carrier oftentimes knows he is spreading
    the disease. Arrogance empowers his desire to destroy. This professor is
    quite toxic.

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