Academic research rarely goes viral, but this past year, the work of Princeton professors Anne Case and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton became the center of a national fascination over the woes of white America. It’s also landed the two in the crossfire of a debate about race and the lack of attention given to problems faced by African Americans.
Guo: I wanted to discuss this question about whether we are neglecting African Americans with all of our focus on white mortality.
Deaton: I talked to one journalist the other day, and she said, “Ever since your first paper, people have been really upset at you for ignoring black people.”
We weren’t trying to insult anyone. We found something that we thought people didn’t know about.
Our first paper, in the PNAS, was very much just the facts. People were upset at us for not putting black mortality on one of our charts, but the reason it’s not there — which we explain — is that black mortality is so high it doesn’t fit on the graph.
Victimier-Than-Thou at work. Why either-or? Why not both-and?