White People vs. White Trash

Tuesday, October 26

By Nhi

Based on a Chris Rock joke.

Disclaimer: The trigger is in the title, so if you made it this far, you'll be okay.


I love Chris Rock. One of his best jokes was when he said that “black people are more racist than white people because black people hate black people too." He explained the difference between black people and, who he called, the N-word. There's a big difference. According to Rock, "every time black people want to have a good time, the N-people fuck it up." Black people laughed because they could relate and understand the nuance between black people and N-people.

I think white people forget that they are nuanced too.

White people also have an alternative and they're called, 'white trash'. But, what is interesting is that a lot of white people seem to think that white trash is synonymous with white people in general. They get so mad when they see, or hear the term, ‘white trash’, as if it’s referencing them. Do white people not understand the difference between white people and white trash?

White people buy Starbucks. White trash call the cops on black people at Starbucks. White people fight for civil rights. White trash still defend confederate flags and statues almost 2 centuries after they lose the Civil War. White people get vaccinated and wear masks during a global pandemic to protect themselves and everyone else from a contagious, deadly virus. White trash spread the virus. I can go on, but basically, every time white people (and everyone else) want to have a good time, white trash fuck it up.

White people are also often offended by the word, ‘racist’, as if it is an insult. It's not an insult, and it's not even used as an insult.

'Racist' is just a term that describes an offensive person, who is morally corrupt and intellectually deprived, like calling someone a jerk. Anyone can be a racist, kind of like how anyone can be a jerk. It's not necessarily tied to white people, but white people sure love tying themselves to it by getting offended (to the point of litigation sometimes) when they see, or hear the word 'racist', instead of getting offended by the actual racist behavior. If a person doesn’t want to be labeled a racist, then simply don't be racist.


Now, white people would have read this far and think this sounds pretty reasonable. White trash would be stuck on the 'N' word and wonder why they can't say it, but everyone can say 'white trash'. 

It's because immigrants from Europe committed genocide against Native Americans and enslaved black people for hundreds of years. The 'N' word was not only an insult, it was racist propaganda, and a verbal weapon used to dehumanize black Americans, on top of the shit pile of vile crimes against humanity that white Americans inflicted on black people. The 'N' word was finally reclaimed by black Americans when they freed themselves. It's their word now. When used by black people, the 'N' word is one of empowerment and acceptance. To be used by anyone else, it would be an act of sheer ignorance at the least, and a blatant act of aggression and racism otherwise.

My youngest brother used to be in a gang and would call his friends (and me) the 'N' word all the time, even though he and his 'gangstas' were Southeast Asian. I often told him that he was not black, so he can't say that word, but he thought it was okay because he used it as a term of endearment. He had zero black friends and we grew up in a very white town.

There's a reason why the 'road to hell is paved with good intentions'. Although my brother meant well, his sheer ignorance of the historical and cultural context could have caused black Americans discomfort at the least and trauma at the worst, whether or not he intended it. When wielded by anyone else other than black people, the 'N' word is a weapon against black people, which is exactly why white supremacists coined it in the first place.

'White trash', on the other hand, is a compound noun created by uppity white folk, who wanted to differentiate themselves from their poor alternative, but nowadays, white trash has evolved to mean white people, who do terrible things, and they can be rich or poor. Ironically, for a group of people so experienced in covert manipulation, complex acts of cruelty, and establishing systemic racism, nuance somehow escapes them when it leads to their humility.


Author’s Notes:

This post was inspired by Chris Rock's joke, but it also came about because I was getting tired of not being able to comment 'racist' or 'white trash' on social media without getting flagged as if it's hate speech. (It's not. Nobody's hating on white people for being white.) I can't even say 'white people' anymore without getting flagged as if the mention of 'white people' will mean it's going to be offensive, which says more about the behavior of certain 'white people' than my 'speech'.

Don't get me wrong, I love white people. Many of my friends are white.

Follow me on Instagram @wheresnhi and check out my blog at www.wheresnhi.com.

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