Trash, not class

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“ ‘White Trash.’ For many, the name evokes images of trailer parks, home­grown meth labs, and beat-up Ca­maros, rural poor whites with too many kids and not enough gov­ern­ment cheese. It’s a put­down for the down and out and white. White trash is the name given to those whites who don’t make it, ei­ther be­cause they’re too lazy or too stupid. Or maybe be­cause some­thing’s wrong with their in­bred genes. What­ever the rea­son, it’s their own [. . .] fault they live like that. They’ve got no­body to blame but them­selves.

“It’s some­times used to name the rich and fa­mous when they act badly or mis­be­have. So, de­spite her mil­lions, Paris Hil­ton can be called white trash for her porno­graphic lifestyle. [. . .]

“All of which makes the re­al­ity that white trash names pretty com­pli­cated and con­fus­ing. Is it, as John Wa­ters once said, ‘the last racist thing you can say and get away with’? Or has it trans­formed into a sym­bol of some­thing like eth­nic pride?”

Matt Wray, writ­ing on “That Ain’t White,” in Amer­i­can Sex­u­al­ity at nsrc.sfsu.edu

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