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Thread: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

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    Post Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    Let me start out by saying that I'm not one for bigotry, but like everyone else who is honest enough to admit it, I fight my own prejudices daily. However, I am interested in American social culture, and what I am curious about is this: Which White (European) ethnic group in America would most Americans consider to be at the bottom of the ethnic social hierarchy? Would this dubious honour go to Sicilians, Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Slovaks, Portuguese, Croatians, Serbians, Ukranians, Czechs, French-Canadians, W.A.S.P. Appalachians, Albanians, or who?

    I mean, which White etnic group is still mopping the floors, washing the buses, digging the ditches, and putting petrol in the cars while for the most part, White Americans have moved upward into the middle-class and it is usually now racial minorities who handle the dead-end jobs. You'll notice I didn't put Jews in the list above because for one, some would argue they are not really of European origin, and two, let's face it, most Jews have advanced past the middle-class, and the vast majority would probably be considdered members of the Professional Class. (aka. Upper-Middle Class. eg., Doctors, Lawyers, University Professors, Managers, Business Owners, etc., etc.)

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    It depends on where one lives, ethnic minorities are not evenly distributed. Jobs are more seperated by age, younger people and housewives supplementing their husband's income do these jobs you mention. I don't notice any kind of lower class of whites belonging to one ethnic group.

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    I read recently that Italians (including Sicilians) and Poles were the last White ethnic groups to come to America in great numbers. The peak years for this immigration was 1907 for the Southern Italians and Sicilians, and 1912 for Polish Catholic peasants. Both groups went to America, largely illiterate, with nothing to their names but the clothes on their backs. However, I read while Italians were the poorer off of the two ethnic groups, they managed to progress a little further each generation. For instance, the Italian immigrant may have been a construction labourer, but his son became a bricklayer, and his son became a policeman, and his son became a university professor; whereas, the Poles apparently still live in the same dirty old industrial neighbourhoods, and still do the same unskilled and semi-skilled factory jobs that their fathers and grandfathers did before them. Is this true? I realise this is a gross generalisation, but are their elements of truth to this thesis? Thanks!

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    This is such a "hot button" question, with all the views this thread hs had, I'm surprised more people haven't voiced their opinions.

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    Ted,

    Of the groups you mentioned the most poor, without a doubt, would have to be those from Appalachia.

    Ted-
    I read recently that Italians (including Sicilians) and Poles were the last White ethnic groups to come to America in great numbers. The peak years for this immigration was 1907 for the Southern Italians and Sicilians, and 1912 for Polish Catholic peasants. Both groups went to America, largely illiterate, with nothing to their names but the clothes on their backs. However, I read while Italians were the poorer off of the two ethnic groups, they managed to progress a little further each generation. For instance, the Italian immigrant may have been a construction labourer, but his son became a bricklayer, and his son became a policeman, and his son became a university professor; whereas, the Poles apparently still live in the same dirty old industrial neighbourhoods, and still do the same unskilled and semi-skilled factory jobs that their fathers and grandfathers did before them. Is this true? I realise this is a gross generalisation, but are their elements of truth to this thesis? Thanks!
    I agree that's a gross generalization, but with some small element of truth. Italian-Americans might be a bit more socially mobile, I think this has more to do with their culture and it's emphasis on social interaction or networking skills vs. those of the Polish-Americans. Usually what gets a person a decent position in a company, as the saying goes, is not what they know, but who they know. Also, I tend to see Italian-Americans as being more into finance or business than technical occupations, Polish-Americans I associate with technical/engineering work or skilled trades(what's left of them). Again this is a generalization. As far as Polish-Americans having the same factory job their father's had that I can assure you is complete nonsense. It's rare for people in the US to have had the same job past five years let alone a lifetime.

    Having lived in the Chicago area I've known people from both groups and even mixes of the two, a generation ago they hated each other now they generally get along to a degree and both being Catholics they are intermarrying more often.

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    I tend to agree with you to some degree, but I understand Italian-Americans suffer more prejudice as compared to Poles and other ethnic whites. And maybe the reason so many Poles still tend to live in the dirty old industrial neighbourhoods is because they generally settled more in the industrial heartland of America, the Great Lakes region; whereas, Italians tended to migrate more toward the big East Coast cities like New York and Philly where their economies are based largely on commerce than on industry.

    One can also make the racist argument about skin colour. While Poles like many Slavs tend to have almost as dark a skin complexion as the swarthy Mediteranian phenotype, inversely, they are largely a light haired people making them seem more "white" in an Anglo-Saxon's eyes. Therefore, this perspective along with all the stupid stereotypes of Italians being similar to African-Americans would make me think the average American sees Italians as being further down the social ladder than Poles. However, one cannot argue with statistics, and the US Census I recently found out has a category now for ethnicity. The figures show Italian-Americans to be ahead of Polish-Americans in median household income, but as can also be argued, median household income is reflective of where one resides within the United States. People living in metro New York/New Jersey would have a higher income and more expensive living conditions than people living in Detroit or Buffalo. The old East Coast vs. Rust Belt rivalry.

    What are yopur thoughts?

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    the Poles apparently still live in the same dirty old industrial neighbourhoods, and still do the same unskilled and semi-skilled factory jobs that their fathers and grandfathers did before them. Is this true?
    http://www.childrenofmillennium.org/eugenics.htm

    Both Poles and Italians are comparatively more successful than other White Americans.

    In his book Ethnic America, Dr. Thomas Sowell set up a point-scale index that graphed economic success in terms comparable to IQ by norming the national income average as 100 points.

    Sowell’s economic list reads very similarly to the IQ list given above. This shows what a powerful correlation exists between IQ and economic success.


    Ethnicity Points
    Jewish 172
    Japanese 132
    Polish 115
    Chinese & Italian 112
    Anglo Saxon & German 107
    Irish 103
    U.S. Avg. 100
    Filipino 99
    West Indian 94
    Mexican 76
    Puerto Rican 63
    Black 62
    Native American 61

    While Poles like many Slavs tend to have almost as dark a skin complexion as the swarthy Mediteranian phenotype,
    Source?

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    I can't remember where I picked up that information on Slavs being darker complected than other light haired peoples but it makes sense when you think of it. The further east one travels in Europe, the more continental the climate becomes, which means the four seasons take on more pronounced dimensions. This in term would mean a thickening of the skin to protect against not only the scorching sun of summer, but the blistering winds of winter. In a place like here in England where we have a much more maritime climate with little sunlight and only slight variations in temperature, the skin colour is as light as it can get because it needs to soak up as much vitamin D from the sun as possible.

    I also note this from personal experience because I lived for a few years in Buffalo, New York USA, which has a rather large Polish-American population. The majority of these people I came across would get very, very tan in the summer, while I and most of my WASP American friends would burn to a crisp. So you see I did not just pull this information out of my hat. I not only read it somewhere, but I also witnessed it first hand from my own observations. Again I'm not saying all Poles are swarthy complected, and I'm not trying to imply their as dark as Italians, but I am asserting that Slavs are generaly sallower skinned then your average pastey Anglo-Saxon.

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    California is a little different because it was populated as a result of secondary migration from "back east". There are no groups of ethnic-related people living together in vast tracks as in NYC or Chicago. Still, an Anglo-Saxon or British name is always socially acceptable. Some German or Dutch names blend-in, especially if they have meaning in English. But even if not, they usually only rate a question as to what the name means in English since the people look the same as the Anglo-Saxons. Italian names do occur with frequency here since San Francisco was settled by Italians but these are not the same as the ethnic-thinking people of Italian ancestry from New Jersey or New York---ours just blend in. People of Polish and other Slavic ancestry present no clear stereotypes in California and just blend in. People of Irish ancestry are numerous and neither their physical type nor their last names rise to the level of notice---unless they make a big identity deal about it as do Irish Catholics from the East Coast where "Irish-Catholic" is an ethnic idenity to itself.

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    Post Re: Bottom of the USA White Social Ladder?

    Poles don't all work crappy jobs while living in 'dirty industrial neighborhoods.' These stereotypes you keep repeating are from 100 years ago.

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