Yes, I hear this loud and clear throughout your essay. It is the fundamental theory behind Hochschild's attempt to classify this behavior. I agree with you that one set of collective responses will provoke another: this is part of collective human behavior and should be assumed.
It is the fact that this point continues to be made, over and over again, that is the problem. The fact that you focus your attention on whether or not one group of people gets pushed to extremes is the problem to begin with: it centralizes the motives of the dominant group. That, in and of itself, is the privilege we are trying to eliminate: this elevating of one group's 'desperation' at the expense--AGAIN--of putting the spotlight where it is needed. Attention is a resource: if we focus on the rage or embattlement of a group of people focused on losing power they should never have had to begin with, we're taking this precious resource of attention--which has always and still MOSTLY goes to white people--and state that we should put even MORE attention to their feelings. Collectively, white pp's feelings are the only ones that have ever mattered, so CHANGES require that we consider everyone else's feelings now.
I have no question that one group of people has rage in response to their loss of material, cultural, and every sort of advantage: this is the sort of tension expected when POCs, who are essentially subordinated all the time push back. The word for this is 'backlash,' or 'whitelash.' Psychologists call this white behavior 'relative deprivation;' that is, as white people, they are used to ALL benefit conferring in their direction so that even when a tiny piece of anything goes ANYWHERE else--to any person of color--it seems as if this group is losing something, in their own minds. THIS DOESN'T REFLECT REALITY: erosion of high-grade privilege which is perceived as loss is STILL an attempt at equality, even if a few individuals feel--subjectively--that they're losing something. In other words, these people have shown me clearly that they believe their dominance over me is more important than anything else.
We already know that white people, as a collective, are angry about POCs receiving tiny bits of opportunity, and we know that their rage causes them to go farther into extremes. Why is this an issue for anybody else? Why is the response to coddle these people and state to everybody else 'let's just understand them'? Why not say that their rage is inappropriate, and the result of a clear-cut desire to distort reality in order to perceive oneself as better than one's behavior would indicate? Our attention belongs with truly embattled people--in this country, this is Black and First Nations/Indigenous as collective groups--not white people as a collective group.
Hochschild wrote a book about the way in which she believes that this demographic believes that they're left behind. I think the corollary should be underlined: why would you ASSUME, in a country of alleged merit, that there is any line at all? Merit assumes that the highest performers--even if they just stepped over the border--will get the reward. When I've talked to these people, here is what I hear: 'when we win, we call it 'merit,' but when we lose, we call it POC favoritism and how we're left behind.' Moving the goalposts to constantly favor oneself cannot possibly work, and empathizing with that distortion of reality can only increase the likelihood of psychosis.
I've perceived your stance this way:
1. We should prioritize the rage--that is, the feelings--of our oppressors, which has already been prioritized for centuries--to make sure that our first consideration is their rage.
My response: I assume they will be angry about having to give back stolen assets because I know they choose to distort reality. They believe--MISTAKENLY--that those assets are theirs. The answer is to perceive accurately, NOT to sympathize with kicking and screaming white people: history indicates white people, as a collective, have the assets of a wide range of others. If these white people perceived this accurately, they wouldn't be angry, because they would see that they have been INAPPROPRIATELY placed at the 'front of the line.' They never belonged there to begin with! The response to this is to address their departure from reality, NOT to tell the rest of us to cater to that distortion!
The answer to this is NOT to cater to the rage of this ACTUAL immaturity and to push forward regardless of this rage. Is it really 'lefty immaturity' to point out that one's anger is due to one's deformed perception of reality? Stop to think about whether or not anybody has a right to feel angry when, in a country of alleged equality, they OVERTLY state that they are 'left behind' BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY ARE ALWAYS FIRST IN LINE, IN FRONT OF ALL POCS, AND REGARDLESS OF HOW DISMAL IS THEIR PERFORMANCE.
I believe we should focus on their distorted perception of 'first in linism.' If you read Koritha Mitchell's essay on White Mediocrity, you can see that white people's intrinsic belief that they are first in line--even when they are the lowest contributors of value--is the real problem.
In other words, they are responsible for their own rage, which results from their own distorted view of reality: everyone is inferior to them; so, ANY achievement by a POC is considered 'butting in line.' They haven't asked themselves why, in a country of merit, when they are showing the least merit and value--the least stamina and willingness to try--they STILL think they are first in line.
You share Hochschild's stance, in my opinion, and it requests that people constantly being told to 'get in the back of the line' should sympathize with those who have a foot on our necks on a collective basis. I disagree: white rage isn't our responsibility. The real immaturity is a form of internalized superiority: it asks people in the collective group of victim to sympathize with the people in the collective group of dominance.
That request is inappropriate.
If you are talking to white people, I would assume that ALL people have limited capacity for attention. So, white people--rather than being asked to sympathize with other white people--should focus on their own internalized superiority: why am I calling my privilege 'merit' when I have so much extrinsic advantage? Why am I sympathizing with people who are angry because ALL people of color don't know their place and because they can't keep their heavy feet on our necks anymore? Why focus on any white group when there are so many POCs with much worse problems? We've been angry for a lot longer and for much better reasons. Black people have a right to be angry after the s***show of the last 500 years, worldwide.
You claim that this stance isn't working. It will work as soon as the demographic changes; our focus does NOT need to be on coddling white people for yet another generation by focusing on their rage. Let them be angry: as a country, we have more important things to do than fall into the same rock-a-bye-baby for White people for yet another generation.
White dominance reflects a kind of mob rule, and once that larger group is relatively smaller, the same bullying--in the form of this whiny statement 'I'm left behind,' which is the same thing as saying 'I always belong in the front, under all circumstances'--will start to fade. The reason white people don't like immigrants is because they know, deep down inside, that they cannot afford competition on an even playing field.
The important focus, Ms. Morgan, is on the internal mechanism that allows a group of people to claim they care about merit but then operate like a monarchy: move the goalpost in whatever way helps them. You don't focus on this internalized superiority--why anybody has a right to think they are first in line to begin with--- instead, you focus attention on their feelings. The important question is this:
Why, in a country of alleged merit, do we cater and try to empathize with people who continue to state, on no uncertain terms, that they should always be first in line, that any deviation from this is deterioration ('make America great again'), and that they like having a heavy (often lazy, too) foot on our heads?
Why would getting 'left behind' be the primary focus of any conversation, Ms. Morgan, in a country that claims 'merit'? Getting in line is about monarchies, not democracies, so the real problem is a problem of white perception and apparent psychosis.
In other words, your article asks people to sympathize with a group that has already, for centuries, garnered maximum sympathy and which, as a collective group, has shown no evidence of ever showing that sort of sympathy for others AND still doesn't.
Attention is a resource, and it is limited. It should be distributed to the places of greatest need, not in the direction in which white supremacy has always claimed it should go: again, white people.
They often claim individuality is more important than collective behavior. So, I recommend this to them as individuals: "You're adults. Like all adults, control your rage." We should be holding the white collective group to the same adult standards we hold everybody else.