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White Trash Blues: Class Privilege v. White Privilege
by BetaCandy If you blog about white privilege, you're probably sick to death of people playing the "white trash" card in your comments. Their argument usually goes something like this: • • "Being white didn't give me all these privileges you're talking about." "lknow plenty of [minority] people who are better off than I am." And the advanced version, which I'm guilty of using myself: "It's really more about class than it's about race:'

"

......

I am "poor white trash". I can relate to all of the statements above. I grew up looking the part of Average White Girl, but middle class white people always pegged me as "different". This left me vulnerable to losing opportunities and even jobs to white people who "fit in" better. Also, after my family made its great escape from White Trash Hell into Middle Class Purgatory, I learned to my surprise that there were black kids in the world who'd grown up with more money than I ever had. And so on, and so forth. Here's where the confusion comes in. Yes, I have a legitimate grievance against the system. Yes, I've lost out on things because I didn't have the $20 to invest or know the magic social password that would have marked me ''nonnal'' (read: "middle class, preferably white"). And yes, it hurts when you don't fit in with your own race because of your class, and you don't fit in with your class because of your race. It's hard to see privilege around that stuff, but the examples are out there.

Wealth gets you a .ticket, but it doesn't guarantee you a seat
One of the black kids I went to school with whose family was richer than mine? We discovered we'd given identical answers on a test, and she'd gotten some of them marked wrong while I got 100%. When we examined her other papers ..we realized the teacher had been doing this for some time: "giving" the black girl a lesser grade. And one of the Jewish girls I knew whose family was richer than mine? When she was absent for a Jewish holiday and missed a test, one of her teachers decided to teach her a lesson by refusing to let her make up that test anytime but on a Saturday - the 5e ish sabbath. The teacher offered truly pathetic excuses why after school, during lunch and d ing the girl's study period wo-uldn't work. Sunday wouldn't work because it was the teacher's C .stian sabbath! The girl's mother had to call the principal and threaten to bring the ACLU into 1 before she got a proper time slot to retake the test. I've never been pulled 0 er for "looking like you're out of your neighborhood" (unless you count the time I was lost in a snotty part of Beverly Hills in an American car, gasp!). I'm not nearly as likely to get pulled over for traffic violations as black or Latino people, even if they grew up with more money than I did. Taking things a step further, I've never felt pressured to join a gang just to survive. I've never worried I'm going to get shot in my own neighborhood (and I've lived in some neighborhoods the white middle class considers "bad").

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