WHITENESS

The other day I was randomly scrolling through Facebook when I stumbled across a post from my homegirl. Ordinarily I would have just acknowledged her posts mentally and then continue scrolling, not that day! “PSA: referring to raggedy white folks as “white trash” directly supports white supremacy by distancing unfavorable behavior from the trope of whiteness.” This was hilarious to me because it made soo much sense. White folks have an artificial aura that surrounds them and frames them as both immensely superior and yet ridiculously fragile. This duality leads to the false notion that white folks can somehow be categorized with subdivisions: regular white folks and white trash. This notion is similar to what comedian Chris Rock said in a standup routine, “there’s regular Black folks and then there’s niggas.” The only differences is that white folks can operate outside of the binary of regular white folks and white trash, where Black people (regular Black folks and niggas) cannot!

I think white folks created the notion of “white trash.” You cannot separate unfavorable socioeconomic or socially unacceptable characteristics from the idea or trope of whiteness. White people are prone to ALL the things that are favorable and unfavorable that has befallen all the races: crime, poverty, success, and wealth. Why is it that we can make demarcations as to the type of white person we may encounter when to most white folks there is no distinction between Black folks because we are ALL NIGGERS!!! A white person can be white trash and still enjoy a majority of the benefits of regular whiteness even if it is superficial. There is no mainstream acceptance of “niggas” as “regular Black folks.” No matter how much you are in a socioeconomically favorable position as a Black person, society will let you know that you are a NIGGER!!! But with white folks, they can stratify the poles of whiteness from “trash” to “class,” which in effect ushers them into full whiteness without having to be forever damned by the shameful “trash” label.

Since white folks can operate outside of the binary: regular white folks and white trash, it begs to question can white folks waste their whiteness? If being a white person is the epitome of human existence where you are given a fair start in life simply because you are white, can somebody who is white, but doesn’t take advantage of their privilege waste their whiteness? It certainly seems to be the case. It seems as though if you are considered “white trash” you are white enough to not be a “nigger,” but economically disenfranchised enough to be of no significant use to the “regular white folks.” Imagine how “white trash” must feel knowing that they won’t be fully initiated into the social construct of “whiteness” until they demonstrate that they can function amongst “regular white folks” without reminding them too much of the niggers (Black folks) they so despise? Imagine how confusing it must be to live in limbo being white enough to not be gunned down during a “routine” traffic stop without getting their heads blown off, but not white enough to not have to rely on public assistance for your families subsistence?

 

At least as an UNAPOLOGETICALLY Black man I am FOREVER clear where I stand with and within MY people, and with the society I live in!!!

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