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Topher1

"White Trash"

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This is an issue that was being discussed in another (less appropriate) forum, that I felt was relevent of discussion here.

An issue was brought up where one forumer called a section of town "white trash," and another forumer took offense to the term, decrying that it was racist, along the same lines as "n****r" and "s***k" for black and hispanic people. There were some interesting points made of both sides, and I'd like to hear more input on the issue.

What are your thoughts? Is calling someone or someplace "white trash" a racist term?

Note: Please stay civil, no bashing other forumers. This topic could easily get heated if not treated respectfully.

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i think that most white people probably are not offended when someone uses a slang term about their white-ness. but there realy aren't very many slang terms for honkies. i think they are probably more offended by being called "trash" and not so much by "white trash." but, there are crackers out there who get offended by any and everything.

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"White trash" is an offensive term, as is "redneck" and "cracker" and "Honkie." But white people don't tend to get as offended about the use of the terms.

In the case of redneck, for example, they've taken ownership of the term and desensitized it, thanks in no small part to the comedy of Jeff Foxworthy.

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It's not really an issue of it being a racist term because when you define a racist term, that fits the description perfectly.

The issue is how offensive of a racist term is it? As already pointed out, not really by the masses though some will still take great offense to it.

African Americans in poor neighborhoods are well known to call each other 'n****r' with absolute no offense meant. In fact they see it more of a term of bonding and friendship than anything yet there are still other African Americans that do take offense even when spoken in that manner by other AA's.

Personally, I take no offense to racist insults because it proves what level one must stoop in an attempt to insult me.

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True point on the use of the word 'n****r': it's too dangerous to use casually, even if you're black, unless you're on familiar turf.

When someone uses a racist term, you have to try to 'let it roll off your back,' because if you succumb to the anger, then the evil influences that created that derogatory siutation win by clouding your mind.

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The difference between "white trash" and the other racists words is that the other words were made exclusively to degrade entire groups of people in the minority. It was a sign of power and control. "White trash" was made in retaliation to these, and while I myself never use ANY of these words, one is definitely less more offensive (or at least it's intention), than the other. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if to find out that "white trash" actually originated from upper class whites to degrade lower class whites. Actually, this would seem more likely than not.

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I never heard of "white trash" reffered to as racist, I thought it was used almost exclusivly by white people, and is more of a joke than anything else, being that it means virtually the same thing as hick. The only racist words for white people that I've ever heard of are honky and cracker, I am not offended by either, quite frankly I could care less.

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I can see where you guys are going with this. I, as a black person, don't use any of these terms often referring to whites, but I probably use "white trash" the least because it's not as potent.

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"White trash" is no so much a class of people as it is a lifetyle that some people choose. Granted this is more prominent with the lower class. Usually these folks trash up their yard with old cars and other garbage that most normal people would through out- hence the name white "trash." If you have ever met someone who you know to be white trash then you know it. There is a distinction between a redneck and your average lower class working person and white trash. It may be an eliteist word in its nature, but if the shoe fits....

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Just use "trailer trash" and everyone is happy.

The person that did the complaining in that thread was looking to start a fight and we put an end to it.

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It's racist if a person of another race uses it to degrade a white person. It's obviously not racist if a white person says it but it is still derogatory and offensive.

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Being a southerner, I've heard this a lot, and admittedly, have used it according to my own definitions, and only in 3rd person. The "white" aspect seems to be the least of it, the attitudes and disregard for the norms for acceptance into "polite" society, in addition to the lack of courtesy or manners, property upkeep, language, child-raising techniques and so on. Being poor has little to do with it as many of the poor are very good people with good hearts and good intentions. It's a personal observation for all I would imagine, and although not always to be construed as mean-spirited, it doesn't have much positive connotions attached. I can see how it, "trash" can cross racial bounds quite easily.

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I'll agree with others and say it's more classist than racist as it is the upper class who uses it to degrade a lower class, not usually one race using to degrade another. Either way it's not something I'd use in polite company.

Redneck on the other hand, I have no qualms about.

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I think it depends on who is saying it weither its racist. But depite who is saying it, it is derogatory. If an African-American calls a white person honkie, trailer park trash or white trash its racist but not so when another white person call a white person that. Just like when a white person calls a black person a n_ _ _ _ _ or a spade its racist. But many African-Americans call each other the "N" word and its not racist in that context. Usually when African-Americans use the "N" word towards one another they drop the "er" in the word and pronounce the word with an "a" at the end.

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Wow. We're just going to pick this apart! "Well, you can use the term 'white trash' as long as you're white and your income is below $50,000/year and your house is this many square feet and you drive a '78 Ford Pickup.. blah blah blah blah blah"

Yes, and by allowing certain races to call other races this or that... we're doing one thing: Giving lip service to the idea of non-racism while we divide the races even further by telling each other which words we can and cannot refer to eachother in.

People... we weren't put into the world to tip toe around other people's feelings all the time. But we weren't put into the world to plow over them either. Use common sense. If someone has garbage all over their yard and their dog digs a hole to sleep underneath the old broken down truck and they use rope to hold their bumper on the one good car and they bought their wedding rings at Wal-mart... they're white trash. :):):) I can't think of a better term for it... "Light skinned refuse"? Come on people!

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"EuroAmerican unpriviledged people". Would that be better?

This excesive awareness about political correctness might be contradictorial. Now every term marking differrent racial or cultural backgrounds is considered racist or offensive. We are all different, and we need words to describe these differences without getting offended. We cannot say blacks, now we have to say "african americans". It is not about a casual description any more. And curiously enough, this awareness about being correct, is rascist, because we cannot refer to them as naturally as we would refer to a member of the same race. :ph34r:

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There are a lot of racists that cover their views well, according to a recent university study. Those racists will actually project friendlier outside attitudes towards minorities than less-prejudiced people, leading those minorities to think they're sensible people, when their in fact racists in progressives' clothing.

The study even indicated that members of minority groups exposed to these racists actually preferred hanging around with them, becasuse they seemed friendlier towrds minorites. That's pretty chilling and dangerous, if you ask me. Possibly the worst side effect to the political correctness movement I've heard in a long time.

I tried to find a copy of the study online, but had no luck. If you see the article, be sure to read it, because even if you're not being discriminated against, you could be misled by someone who seems more progressive than they actually are.

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Use common sense.  If someone has garbage all over their yard and their dog digs a hole to sleep underneath the old broken down truck and they use rope to hold their bumper on the one good car and they bought their wedding rings at Wal-mart... they're white trash.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

As you've illustrated, and others have mentioned, it's more classist than racist. It's the grown-up equivalent of a child making fun of his classmate for not wearing name-brand sneakers. It's the implication that economic status or personal taste equates to worth as a person.

"My materialism is better than your materialism."

Everybody does it.

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^ That's very true, and besides, nobody sets out to buy their wedding rings at Wal-Mart on purpose; it just happens, and some of their stuff is pretty decent.

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The difference between "white trash" and the other racists words is that the other words were made exclusively to degrade entire groups of people in the minority.  It was a sign of power and control.  "White trash" was made in retaliation to these, and while I myself never use ANY of these words, one is definitely less more offensive (or at least it's intention), than the other.  Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if to find out that "white trash" actually originated from upper class whites to degrade lower class whites.  Actually, this would seem more likely than not.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i agree, white trash is used more by whites than minorities. it wouldnt make sense to say "black trash" or "yellow trash" because minorities have an excuse to be lower class....they were put there by whites...but when white people are low class, its almost like there is no excuse, they have every advantage given to them throughout life and they are still poor and this is what makes them trashy. a poor black person or asian or latino person is usually considered "struggling" not trashy, but white people that are poor have nothing comprable to the struggle of minorities and they still cant make it, so it makes them trachy, almost as if they "choose" to be the way they are, as if they were never taught any better (to work hard etc...). not saying this is the case, but this is how i would think about the difference between the terms and their origins and implications. white trash is not racist. people could just as easily say "trash" without the "white", but like i said before, minorities arent seen as trash, they are seen as surpressed and struggling, whereas whites have pretty much no excuse for being poor......ahhh but what do i know. i hope i havent offended anyone, and if i have, please forgive me.

-Patrick

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I can see where you guys are going with this.  I, as a black person, don't use any of these terms often referring to whites, but I probably use "white trash" the least because it's not as potent.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

well i am white, and i think honky and cracker are the least offensive name you could call anyone. i mean, especially given that whites arent being surpressed like blacks and others have been (maybe then it would bother me)...but i have black buddies who call me honkey and we laugh about it....and cracker, c'mon its the least offensive term known to man, you might as well call someone a saltine. its a totally different ball game when you bring in minority racial slurs because its like adding to the pain that they already have to go through when they experience unofficial racism, like lower paying jobs, being treated unfairly etc...

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"White trash" is no so much a class of people as it is a lifetyle that some people choose. Granted this is more prominent with the lower class. Usually these folks trash up their yard with old cars and other garbage that most normal people would through out- hence the name white "trash." If you have ever met someone who you know to be white trash then you know it. There is a distinction between a redneck and your average lower class working person and white trash. It may be an eliteist word in its nature, but if the shoe fits....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i agree...being poor and being white trash are not the same. white trash is exactly what it sounds like and i think people DO choose it as their lifestyle, whether or not it is a conscious choice is another story....

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It's racist if a person of another race uses it to degrade a white person.  It's obviously not racist if a white person says it but it is still derogatory and offensive.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

no its not. because they wouldnt use it to degrade white people in general (the whole race), not even to degrade a certain section of whites. the term, regardless of who uses it, is simply a description. if you are white and you are trashy then you are white trash and have degraded YOURSELF, and then to complain about someone else calling you names is like to complain when your parents call you by your birth name. if it walks, talks and acts like a duck....

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