"The Coding of 'White Trash' in Academia"

A lady named Holly Genovese has some thoughts.
I bought The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky, a terrifying book full of blunt (and much needed) advice about navigating the academic job market. While the author gives outspoken advice about the struggles of the job market, particularly for women, she also implicitly argues for the importance of hiding one’s class. She wrote about clothing and makeup and speaking patterns in women. Around the time I read this book, I realized that I, for a lack of a better term, code “white trash.” I have bad teeth, frequently say “ya’ll” and “how come,” and have a habit of running around South Philadelphia in a Dale Earnhardt Jr. t-shirt. It is one thing to have your hometown judged by your peers, but it is quite another to realize that qualities you possess, habits born of a lifetime that you don’t even realize you have, make you read as unqualified or unfit for your chosen profession.

But you can’t go home either, as they say. The more formal education I acquired, the larger the gap between my family and I became.


Ymar Sakar said...

Half Japanese in Japan sometimes note that it isn't a case of being exotic, but a case of not fitting into the society, where having a place in the hierarchy is of paramount import.

Being neither A or B, makes an individual hard to classify and for those that wish to Belong, it becomes stressful.

For those that don't wish to belong, it is a kind of freedom.

If a person had been in the South for 20 years and been welcomed as a member of the South, it would become incredibly difficult to criticize and point out the truth, because then you won't belong any more. However, if you aren't part of the ancient families and Traditions no matter what you do, then it doesn't matter what you do, by definition. Adhering to the truth becomes easier, as no culture or nation pulls at one's loyalties.

Humans have always found it easier to kill tribes that are not theirs, or targets of sub human and non human classifications. It is even easier to kill off the propaganda of history taught by the victors, for those that are neither winners nor losers.

Grim said...

Well, there are no ancient families in the South. The oldest ones only go back to the 1700s, and remember a time when they weren't Southern, or American, at al.

The lady's story is familiar to me, though, in a couple of ways. But I don't have the problem about going home. The place I grew up doesn't exist any more, not really. It was swept away by the growth of Atlanta, until the people who grew up there couldn't remain because they could no longer afford the property taxes. Dukes of Hazzard to whatever it is now -- outer-ring suburbs, I guess.

And of course, I'm one of the few who went to war. So that's another way in which there's a cavern between me and so many I grew up with, or whom I encounter now.

It's OK. I'm fine doing my own thing, as you say.

Anonymous said...

gap between family and herself is nothing compared to the gap between education level and procreation.

....the higher a womans education is the more likely she is to permanently vote her self out of humanities gene pool......
is this worthy of a darwin award? after all as she becomes more educatumacated she fails to marry as most men seem unworthy and beneath her, she will not marry as she is busy chasing the PHD and the feminist dream!

Planned Parrenthood should be envious, Eduacation is far more effective at preventing pregnancy.


Captain Steve said...

Academe ain't the real world, though the comments regarding women, child bearing and career are pertinent.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

She is between worlds, for the time being. When her parents die she will likely go full liberal academic. But maybe not, as she has shown the courage to write this and even more important, the courage to see at least part of it.

I am reminded of Screwtapes advice to Wormwood in the sectuion about "Flippancy." All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked”

Grim said...

“I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked”

There's a very nice statement of what to avoid.

Texan99 said...

Are there really women who get a degree or two and then are unhappy without a man with even more and better degrees? I've never met one. All I ever wanted was a guy with a brain in his head and a willingness to learn--not necessarily from the academy. My education can't diminish his. All this talk of hypergamy, it's a bit queasy-making. Such a lot of fear and resentment around the judgment of women on men, and the strange notion that if women achieve something it will be that much harder for men to keep up. There are plenty of women out there who aren't ceaselessly on the prowl for a guy with a nice car and and M.B.A. Surely the trick is to develop better taste in women.

"White trash" is an expression I've never been comfortable with. Not to go all deconstructionist on you all, but isn't the idea that black people are all expected to be trash, but whites are divided into "trash" and "OK"? What's more, even assuming we can come up with a better label for the social class, I never thought of it as defined by bad teeth or saying "y'all" or wearing the wrong kind of t-shirt: more a matter of not being able to stay employed, or out of jail, or off drugs, and producing a lot of kids you somehow or other can never seem to provide for. Shiftless and infantile, in short. No monopoly on that behavior in any race or culture, just as there's no monopoly on good neighbors and citizens.

jaed said...

isn't the idea that black people are all expected to be trash
I've never interpreted it that way. More that despite having the advantage of caste (in the time and place where the expression was invented), they lived more dissipated lives than those without those advantages. To be "white trash" in the old South was to live worse than the average black person. (Not being Southern, I may well be missing something, though.)

And it's no so much that caste is defined by things like that, as that it's signified by those things. You can't see shiftlessness or being unable to provide for your kids at a glance, but you can see teeth and t-shirts. So these are the things that become reasons for prejudiced responses, and acquire a life of their own. (Someone with a doctorate is probably not shiftless, but....)

jaed said...

And I agree that the "female hypergamy!" thing gets very creepy, very fast. It has possibly a grain of truth in that women like to look up to their husbands, in a way that doesn't seem as essential for men. (And men also seem happier if their mates look up to them.)

But that doesn't need to come out of counting how many degrees you each have, and if the man has more degrees or a more prestigious job then it's all good. In fact, that seems like a poor substitute for the real thing, which is respect.

Anonymous said...

Holly is still young. She has not yet worked among people at the top of her profession, and when she has done so, she will have a different perspective.

After she has done that, she will recognize that her peers in academia are no smarter nor more sophisticated than the ones she left at home. Teeth, T-shirts, choice of beers and sports are meaningless. Personal vigor, intellectual firepower, cleverness and good-heartedness are far more important, and far more evenly distributed among the levels of society, than our self-styled betters might think.

She would still do well to invest in her teeth, professional wardrobe, makeup, and really good haircuts. These are tools that will serve her. But some day soon she is going to find out that the people in academia, especially the ones with funny ideas about class, are no better than the ones she left behind.


Texan99 said...

I look up to my husband. I just don't engage in a War of Credentials with him. :-)

Grim said...

Not to go all deconstructionist on you all, but isn't the idea that black people are all expected to be trash, but whites are divided into "trash" and "OK"?

As my grandparents explained the standards to me, there was also a division in the black community between 'good blacks' and, well, not good ones. The explanation is impossibly patronizing to put to writing, and is probably best forgotten.

Really the writer herself is collapsing the distinction between 'rednecks' and 'white trash.' Properly, white trash are supposed to be no-good layabouts who are never really working at much but always are wanting a handout. Rednecks share some accidental characteristics of dress, as the great Jerry Clower said, but they are always working at something.

She's like that.

Ymar Sakar said...

Well, there are no ancient families in the South. The oldest ones only go back to the 1700s, and remember a time when they weren't Southern, or American, at al.

That's pretty ancient in the end, and for those that don't go further, the furthest thus have claim. And even if they do not, their ancestors still remember the teachings and traditions of their forefathers. That is good, but also bad if those traditions are falsified or the result of deception.

As people begin to hate the Leftist alliance, and destroy them with fire and The True Hate, as well as lesser forms of it, they will begin to rely upon that tradition. And if that tradition was formed by the influence of Lucifer's deception, as in the days of Eve, then their entire foundation will crumble. Not something humans can imagine or plan out, but for an entity that has existed and improved for 6000+ years, it is within spec.

An American example would be Hatfields vs McCoys.

As for trash, all humans are trash compared to a more perfect creation. We are flawed, for many reasons, not least of all because of Lucifer's sabotage. Humans and souls had to face the trials of free will, thus for good to exist, the ability to choose evil must also exist. But if that was all in the plan, there was no reason for Lucifer to interfere, but he did and there was a reason for that.

My research and quest has been quite enlightening as to what went on before and after the time of Noah.

Humans aren't equal to each other because of human made laws or the ability to ignore all the differences that separate us. Humans are equal because of adoption into the House of the Creator, thus those who are worthy are given a position equal to the sons of a royal house, the heirs and administrators, the regents and policy generators. The old line was never "judge not for you will be judged", it was "judge righteously, for all things are recorded on the divine record and you will be held to account for what you do to condemn others to death and fire". The Apostles had to further clarify this, due to their lack of technology in those primitive forlorn days. They had great spiritual testimonies, but the tools they could use to record them were far inferior to what we have today. As Apostle Paul to the genteels once mentioned, do you not know that you will judge angels. If so, what's the hurry and confusion about. If humans are equal to each other, it is only because by adoption or holy contract, they have the same authority or relationship to the hierarchy. The military hierarchy understands this quite well. The feudal warriors would understand it even better. A direct vassal is equal to other direct vassals of their liege, because their status allows them to appeal to their liege for the same protections and offer the same duty/obligation as other direct vassals. A vassal of a vassal is not in the same position. A direct vassal may not have as much military power or land as another direct vassal, but they are equal in service and status to their liege.

As for red necks, one reason they are called such is that by working in the sun, their necks get red. So obviously they have to be doing "something" to get that way.

The greatest human kings and conquerors of the human species, have long ago turned to dust, their works abolished, covered up, or shat upon by lesser beings. Thus all of humanity is trash, if one has a certain framework of years to work upon. It is also why when humans start worshiping other humans as saviors, I find that amusing. For in Government We Trust is written on the US currency, or close enough. For many Leftists, Gov is their God. And for Iqta system Muslims, the Gov is also Shariah is also Allah is also the Caliph. Mosques are no different than fortresses from which to stockpile weapons and armies.