Psychological Wage

W.E.B. Du Bois introduced the concept of ‘psychological wages’ to describe the ‘white-skin privilege’ that allowed poor whites to feel more valuable and superior to poor blacks. The poor whites had a feeling that they ranked higher than the poor blacks. For example, they could access public parks and schools at least. Du Bois was explaining that privilege is state of being rather than just tied to money. At the time, white laborers were benefitting from additional but unearned psychological wages that effectively reduced poor laborers’ standing in the society and promoted white supremacy. The labor movement was effectively divided between the ‘superior’ low-wage white laborers and the rest – low-wage blacks. Therefore, although the white group received low wages, there was some sort of psychological wage that compensated them that included accessing public parks and quality schools since they were white. The Southern elites used ‘psychological wage’ to control Whites and Blacks, helping the poorer Whites to continue being “blinded by their belief in their own happiness” (Buck 65). Therefore, the term ‘psychological wage’ means white supremacy and privilege associated with being white. The ‘psychological wage’ is evident in the essay – Peter Redneck – in the manner that the ‘white’ government treats the poor public. For example, President Trump is focused on maintaining power and position at the expense of the poor as long as it serves the interests of elite groups (mostly white). In Worked to the Bone, the concept of ‘wages’ is seen in the way race, class and power are used to entrap the……

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