"Tim Noble and Sue Webster
Dirty White Trash [With Gulls] 1998
Six months' worth of the artists' rubbish
This might be old news to some of you, but I had never seen anything like this.

Interestingly, this popped up in my RSS feeder at the same time as Chas Bowie's investigation of the term "white trash" -
I’ve always found the term “white trash” to be particularly offensive, both when it’s applied perjoratively to people on the low end of the economic food chain, and when people use it boastfully to refer to their own heritage, as if it were a badge of authenticity that has suddenly become ironically chic. But until this article, I had no idea that it was such an old phrase, nor where it came from:
Is it, as John Waters once said, “the last racist thing you can say and get away with?” Or has it transformed into a symbol of something like ethnic pride? Or is it just a comical phrase used to condemn—or sometimes excuse—bad behavior, like too much drinking, cussing, fighting, and general screwing around?

And why should we care, anyway? What makes any of this white trash talk anything more than mere pop culture trivia? To answer these questions it helps to look back to the past, to see when and how the term arose, to think about the uses to which it has been put, by whom, and why. Surprisingly, the answers have a lot to do with our changing ideas about sex, class, and gender.

Whether they use the term white trash or not, most Americans are unaware of its long and ugly history. If you had to guess, you’d probably say that the term arose in the Deep South, sometime in the middle of last century, as a term that whites coined to demean other whites less fortunate than themselves. Yet most of what we presuppose about the term is wrong.

[via Cynical-C and Your Daily Awesome]


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