Friday, September 23, 2011

Yes, It Is

Clarissa asks, "Is the expression white trash racist?"

I would say yes. Just like any other racial slur you can think of white trash is a term meant to insult, disrespect, or otherwise harm a people of a specific race. That's it. You don't call Latino people white trash do you? You don't call Japanese people white trash do you? No white trash is reserved for white people just like the racial slurs against Latino and Japanese people are reserved for Latino and Japanese people.

It doesn't matter how long the American Slave trade lasted or how many innocent people were killed.

It doesn't matter how long the Britain tried to colonize various other locations around the world through violent and underhanded means.

It doesn't matter how many people have donned the hood and cape of the KKK.

It doesn't matter how many people are in the Tea Party Movement or how wrong their views are.

And there is not enough white privilege on this plane of existence to justify using it.

Yes calling someone white trash is racist and it needs to be removed from our language just as much as any other racist slur you can think of.

4 comments:

LorMarie said...

No offense to the lady that asked the question but why do we even need to ask that question? I know, it might be ok to insult white people. Many people believe that unfortunately.

Danny said...

LorMarie I think its worth talking about because I have crossed paths with people who seriously try to argue that the fact that some white people have institutional power means that the term white trash is not racist. Very similar to the offensive and silly line of thinking that there is no such thing as sexism against men.

Its going to be a tough go trying to get white people to recognize how racism hurts black people if we then turn around and claim that the racist slurs we hurl at them really aren't racist.

JutGory said...

Danny,
I think this is a race/class mix.
I think you are usually the one to point out that the high incarceration rates of black males is as much a gender thing as a race thing (as males make up the vast majority of the prison population).
With "white trash," the person has to be white, but they also have to be low class (poor, uneducated, etc.). People may not think of it as racist, because they focus on it being classist. And, yes, it can only be applied to white people in that sense, but there are probably some comparable ones for different races. Of the top of my head, I would think that "ghetto" might be a close one for black people. It may only be applied to black people, but it really denotes a class aspect.
-Jut

Danny said...

Oh yeah I'll agree that class is a part of it. Its certainly possible to have multiple -isms in a single remark.

But what I think happens is not only that people only consider the class aspect of the remark but people also actively deny the racism of the remark. Not just over look it by only talking about class but straight up saying that there is no such thing as racism against white people. Kinda like how people try to say there is no such thing as sexism against men.

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