Racial Minorities In The United States

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Introduction Racial minorities are usually the face of the poor in the United States. Government assisted programs, such as food stamps and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are usually associated with the mental image of a Black or Hispanic overweight woman. The media usually represents those who are poor and on welfare as Black or some other non-White minority. But the majority of those on welfare are white (Delaney & Scheller, 2015). As a country where being white can usually help you land a job and a steady income, what does it mean to be poor white?
Whites that are using some form of government assistance are usually labeled as “white trash,” particularly those who live in the south. It is commonly believed that the same “white trash”
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The men are violent and have some sort of addiction, either a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction, sometimes more than one. The women have multiple children and not always from the same father. Usually someone who is white trash will only have a high school degree or G.E.D. Sometimes not even that. To the outsider, those labeled white trash have a sense of pride in their lack of education and poor way of life. However, white trash pride is a fairly recent phenomenon. Before the 1980’s, being considered white trash was an insult and source of shame for poor whites. While white trash is considered a relatively new name, the idea of it is not. For centuries poor whites have been ridiculed and look down upon by the richer, more elite whites. Those who are now called white trash were once called “lubbers,” “rubbish,” “clay-eaters,” and …show more content…
Poor whites take offense at being called white trash not just because it is an offensive term, but it reminds them that, though they are working hard, they are still just poor. Those who move up a rung or two are held up as models and proof that if you scrimp and save your money and work hard, you won’t be stuck in the position of poverty (Isenberg, 2016). The poor whites who move up the ladder look down upon those still stuck. As Isenberg (2016) puts it; “The same self-made man who looked down on white trash others had conveniently chosen to forget that his own parents escaped… only with the help of the federal government. But now that he had been lifted to respectability, he would pull up the social ladder behind him.” (pg. 277). By forgetting the government programs in place that helped them when they were at the bottom, the poor whites who moved up the socioeconomic ladder help feed into the belief that all one had to do to move up was work hard and not spend their money of frivolous things. Not only does this belief ignore other factors, such as the government programs and, of course, sheer luck, it also demeans the hard work poor whites do in order to one day no longer be on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic

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