Visiting Author Discusses His Book On White, Poor Voters

Jan 25, 2017

Tallahassee residents learned Tuesday night about Midwest voters who voted for President Donald Trump.

A visiting author, Justin Gest’s book is “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality.” He said poor whites they feel discriminated against because they’re white and poor. He said they voted for Trump because he promised to restore their good factory jobs.

Author Justin Gest talks to Village Square event this week.
Credit Sarah Mueller

“He was the only person who wanted to be their voice," he said. "He was the only person that actually sought their vote directly, purposefully, deliberately and meaningfully, from their perspective.”

But retired English teacher Gerri Seay, who is African-American, said they could have reinvented themselves, which black people can't do. She said rich whites used poor whites to keep minorities from gaining equality.

“So, from my perspective, poor whites have always served as the sentries on the color line to keep black folks from coming out of where they’re supposed to be," she said. "That was their job. They lost their job.”

Gest said it’s useless to have discussions about what groups are oppressed more. He says talking to people who we fear or disagree with can promote understanding.