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The origin of ‘white trash,’ and why class is still an issue in the U.S


Whiteness: The Meaning of a Racial, Social and Legal Construct

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election and bestselling books like Hillbilly Elegy and White Trash, there is a growing realization that whiteness is as much a social racial and political identity as being African, Latin, Asian or Native American. In partnership with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, JWJI is pleased to host a panel on the evolution of whiteness in American society. Our esteemed panel brings their interdisciplinary perspective to the panel to explain why race—including whiteness—still matters in America. (November 16, 2017)


Richard Delgado, John J. Sparkman Chair of Law, The University of Alabama School of Law, author of Critical Race Theory

David Ikard, Professor of Africana Studies, Vanderbilt University, author of Blinded by the Whites: Why Race Still Matters in the 21st Century

Nancy Isenberg, T. Harry Williams Professor of History, Louisiana State University, author of White Trash

Jane Junn, Professor of Political Science, University of Southern California, author of The Politics of Belonging: Race, Immigration, and Public Politics

David Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies and History, University of Kansas, author of The Wages of Whiteness

The James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference supports research, teaching, and public dialogue that examine race and intersecting dimensions of human difference including but not limited to class, gender, religion, and sexuality.

Andrew Jackson and Reading White Trash by Nancy Isenberg

Convinced to tackle this brick and working my way through it. Couldn’t not comment on the chapter profiling president Andrew Jackson. White Trash by Nancy Isenberg is proving frighteningly relevant.

White Trash -
Hillbilly Elegy -
Danmartinlikesyou -
ForTheLoveOfRyan -

Litsy: Daejin

White Trash

In her best-selling history of the class system in America, historian Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash. Benjamin Reiss, fellow historian and author will join Isenberg in a conversation on the untold history of class in America.

Growing up “white trash,” I was fearless when it came to art

For Kim Dorland, art comes from challenge — and his upbringing gave him the courage to pursue a career making his boundary-pushing paintings.

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Kim Dorland pushes the boundaries of painted representation through an exploration of memory, material, nostalgia, identity and place. His refusal to remain faithful to one medium or approach plays into the symbiotic nature of his work: the deadness of acrylic, the sheen of spray paint, the density of oil paint and new experimentations with digital painting all convene to create the raw, fleeting quality of his canvases.

But for Dorland, a career in the arts was something he had to fight for. My father died at a really young age for a really stupid reason. I think I was kind of on that path myself, he says. When I first started painting, my class really was important to me — to remember that I sort of came from white trash. Like, I grew up really poor. I lived in a trailer that we rented.

The beautiful thing about growing up white trash is that I was fearless when it came to this because if I failed, it's not like I was going to be disappointing anyone in my family...At the time, I was really just stupid. Who goes into the arts? But I didn't have that fear. I'm not in here making product. I'm trying my best to make art — and art, I think, comes from challenge.

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About: Welcome to CBC Arts, your home for the most surprising, relevant and provocative stories featuring artists from diverse communities across Canada. Our job is to fill your feed with the disruptors and innovators changing how we see the country through movement, images and sound — and to inspire you to join in too.

White Trash and Slang for Drinkin’ Beer

Today you’ll learn what the definition of white trash is, along with some very useful, very American vocabulary related to drinking alcohol.
Visit to learn more honest English!

Hang out until the end today to learn about one of the funniest movies of all time, in my humble opinion, at least.

White trash is the derogatory term for, basically, poor, uneducated white people.

There exist tons of stereotypes for this group, of course. Besides being in a lower-earning income class, and usually possessing no degrees beyond high school, there are other, more specific ones as well.

For instance, they are often assumed to be racists- not liking foreigners, immigrants, or non-white people.

They also, therefore, tend to ‘love America’, or ‘Amerka’, as they say, tend to vote republican, identify as Christians, listen to country music and watch NASCAR. (But, as I said, those are just stereotypes!)

The term ‘white trash’ is actually very old.

The first printed use was in the 1820’s, but, according to an article I read which is linked to on my site, it began with the British colonization of America.

The author interviewed in this article said that the British wanted to ship their poor people to the American colonies, and they thought of these areas as wastelands. Thus, waste being a synonym for trash, the term white trash was born.

Visit my site for this fascinating article-

Now, today, this is an offensive term, for sure.

Another stereotype of white trash people is that they drink a lot of beer.

So, here’s some fun vocabulary related to that!

Tipsy- The feeling after you’ve had a few drinks but are not yet drunk.

Buzzed- Same as tipsy, but also used for the feeling some light drugs cause.

Sh**-faced- This is an extremely native and common term for being very drunk.

Hammered- Same as sh**-faced.

Wasted- Same as hammered.

Beer goggles- When you’re drunk, you may think another person is more attractive than they really are. This is described as having on ‘beer goggles’.

There are so many more! Visit my site for the link to these terms.

On a personal note, I’ve never been a beer fan, but I do certainly enjoy wine, or ‘adult grape juice’, as some call it!

I would love to hear what you love to drink! Comment below the video on your favorite adult beverage, and how you like to enjoy it.

Remember to go to my site,, and sign up for our newsletter for more lessons!

Pop Culture R&R

When thinking of today’s topic, the movie that came immediately to mind is Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, starring one of my favorite comedic actors of all time, Will Ferrell. It came out in 2006.

This is such a quotable movie! After it came out, I remember having entire conversations with my friends in which we just quoted our favorite parts and cracked ourselves up. I’ll link to my favorite scene in the blog post for this video. Visit my site to see it!

The reason I’m recommending this today, besides being one of the funniest freaking movies ever, is because Ricky Bobby is a Nascar driver, and Nascar is also a stereotypical white-trash passion.

Next week I’ll feature some of the scariest words in English, as Halloween is approaching!

Remember to go to my site,, to become a paid member, for weekly audio lessons and transcripts. Sign up before October 31st and you get an extra month free!

Music credit:

"Poor White Trash artist" peddles her skills

Angel Sewell is a gypsy who trades in art. She paints storefront windows and murals in towns across the country, and has been living on the road for three years. Read more at

Video by Reporter/Videographer Jack Dodon

The Key Takeaways from Nancy Isenberg's White Trash

This is a riveting chronicle of class in America as explored through the role and the plight of the white underclass from the days of colonial settlers to the present. Visit ... ... for more!

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation's Divide

2018 John F. Morgan Sr. Distinguished Faculty Lecture
Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies
April 9, 2018

Whiteness in the Time of Trump

The election of Donald Trump incontrovertibly rested on his support among white voters, including white female voters. Many commentators have more specifically argued that the rightward motion of the white working class in and beyond the U.S. holds the key to pushing the far right to electoral majorities and to swagger in committing racist attacks. David Roediger's longstanding work on the critical study of whiteness in U.S. history positions him to address the extent to which Trump represents a new departure or a logical result of long processes. Conversely, what new questions about the past of whiteness do the rise of a Trump regime enable us to pose? Brown Professor Tricia Rose interviews Roediger and facilitates the conversation.

David Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas.

For more info:

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Brown University

White Trash Mom

White Trash Mom

Anthropology in 10 or Less Episode 111: Race Part 4: Whiteness and White Trash

If you like this show support us at

In this 4 part on our series on Race, we explore the concept of Whiteness and White Trash from an anthropological perspective.

Some References and Further Reading:

An Ill-Advised Lawsuit against BLM Protesters

Update: Results of the Lawsuit against the BLM movement

School Segregation

BLM against violence

White Privilege Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Birth of a White Nation

White Trash

Race in the 21st Century: Ethnographic Approaches

Odd Tribes: Towards A Cultural Analysis of White People



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