There are so many points of conflict to touch upon in the book White Trash. I have struggled to condense them. I have to resist the urge to grab a pencil and scrawl angry remarks on the edges of the pages.

The preface and first chapter (into the second) is simply a running commentary and history of colonization of the North American continent.

Most of it is not news to me.

I have already read various accounts regarding the colonies, Bacon’s uprising/rebellion, and Anne Hutchinsname’s excommunication/hanging offenses… to name a few…

Nathanial Hawthorne was the fictional author who took the Puritanical code and concepts, laying them bare before the world for scrutiny and judgment. He is how I understand the events from a societal perspective.

Hawthorne was one of the few writers of the time who managed to walk a fine line between telling and teaching. The reader is left to reach their own conclusions, and determine the villain or the hero. Both can always be equally argued. Or exonerated.

The real villain, ultimately, inarguably, to either point-of-view or opinion… is society.

I am struggling to think of one, particular point I find fault with in White Trash

When I am reading, I must be conscious of each, individual word. Paying close attention to every adjective, adverb, or quotation mark.

Eventually, I will check the numerous footnotes… to make sure they are direct quotes, and not simply a biased retelling of some questionable second-hand source.

Judging by the educational pedigree of the writer (Isenberg), I should trust the sources are valid. And for the most part, I do…

I mean, the oldest Puritan college in the country? Established as a learning institution before the USA was an institution? Pretty significant. There was a time in my life where I would have LOVED to visit their archives… probably comparable to the Vatican’s archives in regards to evidences of foul play in origin stories.

However, I still find fault, within most likely valid sources.

Mostly, I question the intent and purpose.

Even the valid points regarding class structure aren’t enough to sway me.

The writer explains quite well why and how slavery was so successful in North America.

Why, the North American colonies avoided common problems like ‘slave rebellions’…

It was a brilliantly simple fix… The lower classes and slaves were joined together as ONE CLASS DISTINCTION.

Color of skin eventually, in the post-war years, became a convenient way of marking a person as lower class.

The real villain, ultimately, inarguably, to either point-of-view or opinion… is society.

We were taught to believe overall skin color was the ONLY way to tell, but… Speaking from experience, I can state, for the record: I scrub and scrub, but it seems the back of my neck always shows my TRUE pedigree and lineage.

Upper class people can smell me a mile away. And me? I can smell their high-end perfume and cologne and freshly soaked and scrubbed pores… We maintain a respectable, comfortable distance… for perfectly inherent, ingrained, societal reasons.

Racial prejudice claims? In modern times? It was simply more convenient, and, among a host of other evils, allowed the wannabe middle class whites to slip in and establish an air of respectability. Despite their humble parentage.

Thus… our forefathers’ fathers created a caste system of landowners and workers (old-fashioned serfdom), supported by laws that put land and ownership at the center.

A system of law which still, to this day, is the BASIS of our basic civil and legal rights as citizens. “King of the Castle” still reigns in courts. The Right to… *enter ownership of here*

We just call it by different, more PC terms.

The real villain, ultimately, inarguably, to either point-of-view or opinion, per Hawthorne… is society.


It would seem I am agreeing with the writer and her cohorts regarding upper middle-class ideals and concepts such as claims of ‘wage slavery’ (google it)… but I’m not.

To consider gainful employment necessary to meet the needs of a mortal life as anything but a byproduct of society… immediately designates, to me, the beholders’ placement on the socio-economic stratum.

Only a person who has never wanted, or starved, or struggled… would coin such a belligerent, judgmental phrase in regards to establishing a life and existence in this world.

I have struggled through my share of apologetic teachers and professors. Who, shamefaced, expressed their disdain for being forced to instill and enforce middle-class values onto poor, unsuspecting students.

My reaction?

I WAS IN SCHOOL TO LEARN TO AVOID THE LOWER CLASS TRAPS AND PITFALLS. I was in school to provide for myself (and later my family) financially, socially, and emotionally.

What a load of crap those poor teachers were shoveled. They have no idea who the real villain is…