"the people who are experiencing these adverse economic trends express themselves differently, using a moral language that is often rooted in attitudes about work and race.
This was first noted by the sociologist Michèle Lamont in her book “The Dignity of Working Men.” She found that white working-class men often define their self-worth through their ability to lead disciplined, responsible lives. They take pride in going to work every day to support their families. Many of them view African-Americans as not wanting to work hard. They rarely consider that their own advantages rest on the privileged position of whites in the labor market.
In this way, they construct a positive sense of self despite the limits of their economic class. Perched precariously above the poor, they talk not about their modest incomes but rather about their superior work discipline. In prosperous times, they can take pride in their success compared with minorities.
But when that prosperity is threatened, they complain about blacks or immigrants who are, in their minds, usurping their place in the economy."Andrew J. Cherlin, "You Can’t Separate Money From Culture", New York Times 6 maj 2018.