It’s hard to make out where the idea of white privilege came from. But as long as their is the perception of white privilege, there is the opposite end of the spectrum - for liberals anyway. If there are white elites, then there must be white underprivileged, or white trash, as one professor calls them.
Meanwhile, there are millions of blacks who are under privileged. Why are they not called black trash? Because that would be racist. If you are a white professor, how can't call someone of another race trash. You can't call blacks trash, or a trashy people. But if you are white, like Nancy Isenberg, then you can call a member of your race trash, or in her case, white trash.
For a liberal like Isenberg, calling someone of your own race trash helps alleviate the guilt they feel because blacks have not been able to enter elite areas of society. In this liberal hierarchy, blacks are not equal. They have not been equal for a while, although there are hundreds of black athletes who have become overnight millionaires because of their athletic talent.
All this causes liberal whites, like Isenberg, to want to find a scapegoat. So she wrote a book that blames guess who? Poor whites. It’s their fault. They are the ones who brought the slaves over; they are the ones who killed all of them after they arrived here, and subjugated them for more than a century. All of that doesn't have a lot to do with the current suffering of blacks in inner cities. Most of that has to do with, or is the fault of people like Isenberg. But that's another story. This is an attempt to bring balance to erroneous statements about the poor.
According to Isenberg, the poor in the U.S., in America, ushered in a new breed of poor who were mean, degenerate, ruthless, cruel, unusually cruel. Of course, that is fiction. We've always had the poor among us, and probably always will. Even during the elite society of England, something that is told in the fictional Downton Abbey, the Irish migrated to England, and brought their poverty with them. Likewise, in Les Miserables, the story is told of the poor in France. Look at (or read) Oliver, a novel by Charles Dickens. It tells the story of a young hapless street boy in England. The same story could be told on any continent; indeed, it could still be told.
The idea that any one race that is poor acts more generously than any other race, whether white, blacks, yellow, red, etc., is also fiction. But it makes liberals feel better about themselves, since they, as professors, are often teachers were tenure, and are wealthy enough, and enlightened enough to blame others of their own race.
This book attempts to bring some semblance of sanity, or balance to this whole mix of blaming one race or another, whatever their color may be.
Here is an outline that attempts to do just that.
Notice many of the loaded words that Eisenberg uses to explain here treatise: wretched
And then there is brutal inequality. It’s as though there has never been inequality before the Pilgrims landed in New England and were confronted by Indians.
But the fact that Isenberg uses the world trash, or white trash doesn’t make life any different than anywhere else in the world where there has been inequality. It’s just that if a liberal like Isenberg wants to feel bad about a certain people group, whether they are rich or poor, is it even worth stopping to ask her where the rational is for her thinking.
For liberals like Isenberg, self-loathing is a glorious thing, because they don’t have anywhere else to go with their guilt. It has to go somewhere. They want to feel bad about something. Liberals are not going to stop them. Christians have somewhere else to go with their guilt. Even black Christians are by and large able to come to terms with what happened to their race after they landed in America.
It’s liberal who need a safe place to go to, of someone to blame. Why not blame poor whites? They probably won’t read the book, or don’t care. Thy are too busy working on cars and racing them or attending their favorite WWF or NASCAR event. Those kind of events are still legal in the U.S., as is the purchase of guns.
It is slightly ironic that Isenberg wrote a book about Aaron Burr, when he somewhat meanly made sure that Alexander Hamilton got a bullet lodged in his body that killed him within 24 hours, and Isenberg is surely against the right to buy a gun or bear arms as part of the Second Amendment to the constitution.
But there is another motive behind Isenberg; it’s to silence a large majority of voters who are white, workers who are conservative and white, and whites that she doesn’t agree with in general.
Duck Dynasty is a good example of this: all are Christian gun-owners, making duck calls, making an honest living. For Isenberg, even the fact that white people have shot guns in the South, Louisiana in this case, means they must be racist. There aren’t any blacks in the series; that must mean they discriminate against blacks. That must mean they are white trash. This is how liberals like Isenberg think behind closed doors. They have for decades; they think like elites. They are better than people who buy shot guns and go hunting, or make something as simply as a duck call.
Isenberg taught To Kill a Mockingbird for decades before she realized that the Ewells were a different breed of people. That’s obvious to most people who watch the movie, which was done in 1962. To most white people, the Ewells are a family that is quite unfortunate, because there is an obvious abuse in the family. Probably incest. The father is abusing the daughter; that’s clear from the demeanor of Meyella Ewell.
Notice that Harper Lee does not describe the Ewell family as white trash. Isenberg does or human waste. And despite the fact that Atticus Finch probably knows all of the motives of someone like Robert E. Lee Ewell, he does not treat them like that. One must ask how Isenberg would have treated the Ewells: like they are unredeemable white trash, or with the same compassion that Atticus Finch does.
They lived behind the town dump, which they combed every day. Their run down shack was “once a Negro cabin.”
The Ewells are unmistakably what southerners (and a lot of other people) called white trash. But as for combing through the trash, that’s a phenomena that is even common in entire cities today. And if it’s discrimination, that too is prevalent in India, areas of Africa, Brazil, where the poor are a major segment in their societies. What’s different about the Ewells?
Further, discrimination was common - almost the rule in the South. So was meanness, the same meanness of spirit that we find in the Ewells.
To be sure, there was a lot of hate by groups in the South who were afraid of the assimilation of blacks into society. There was a lot of anger in 1957 when the federal government attempted to integrate schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. But even in the ‘60s, blacks and whites were segregated in entrances in restaurants in the North.
As for Paula Deen, she still has a following. She is not the only food critic of recipe author who produces high calorie food during here show. There are dozens who do that; in fact, on Food Network, it’s hard to find a calorie conscious food critic or food author.
When whites who are part of the underclass get angry, it’s generally because of ignorance; they don’t have the enlightened status of someone like Isenberg.
The poor have already been among us. There were poor in England, poor in Ireland. The majority of people in the world were unable to read. Even the demand for reading something like the Bible was unknown, since it was never printed or translated until Martin Luther insisted on translating it into German.
Futher, if whites were considered trash, blacks were considered expendable as much or more so. Since it was thought by Darwinic, eugenic whites that blacks were inferior, the idea to sterilize blacks were just as prevalent. If whites were considered a burden, and they were, blacks were much more of a burden on the economy and other areas of life. In fact, the thinking by eugenics proponents like Margaret Sanger actually encouraged whites in the South to stop the integration of the schools, etc.
Part of Isenberg’s premise is that there is a class system. But class systems and the ability to move between classes is without a doubt more permeable in the U.S. than probably any other country. Not only that, blacks, as a race, have more trouble moving into the upper reaches of class than do whites.
During colonial settlement and the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, it was learned scholars like Thomas Jefferson who wanted to gain an advantage by not giving blacks a vote, but counting them by three fifths in representation. These were wealthy whites in all of the Southern States, people who were not exactly white trash. They were the elite representatives in Congress, wealthy people.
If Southern Poor whites figured into Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party, they figured even more so into the Confederacy during the Civil War. It was progressive thinking that caused whites, poor or rich, to want Emancipation and the end of slavery in all states. More than that, it was Christian thinking.
As much as anything, Country Western music classifies what Isenberg deems to be white trash. It’s easy to listen to; it’s simple; it not intellectually deep. There is a long history of how this kind of music evolved. Are all of these people, these artists, really white trash in disguise, attempting to keep whites down on the farm, barefoot and pregnant? For her, the answer is probably a resounding yes.
But as well as Isenberg, this label is probably true of most of the liberal bloggers at the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Salon, Slates, etc. There are a few others. Hillary Clinton, while speaking during a campaign in New York City, with lots of liberals present, categories Trump followers as essentially the Isenberg class of white trash - a basket of deplorable, the unredeemable.
Isenberg includes a list of people she deems to be part of the lowly breed. Here they are: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Davy Crockett, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jefferson Davis, Andrew Johnson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Theodore Roosevelt, James Dickey, Billy Carter, William Jefferson Clinton, and Sarah Palin.
It’s certainly an interesting collection of people. One could plumb the depths of how liberals like Isenberg think about Americans. But I’m sure that it would be pretty ugly, perhaps uglier than "White Trash."
© 2016 Larry Ingram