Reading Matters

‘White Trash’ -- N.C. first white trash colony

I’ve been thumbing a copy of Nancy Isenberg’s myth-busting “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America,” because I read that she singled out North Carolina as “what we might call the first white trash colony.” Without a real planter class, its citizens were seen as “cowardly Blockheads.”

You might say there are still a few blockheads around today.

But democratic, this country definitely is not, according to Isenberg. The majority, she says, has never cared much for equality.

“Because that’s not how breeding works,” she goes on. “Heirs, pedigree, lineage: a pseudo-aristocracy of wealth still finds a way to assert its social power. We see how inherited wealth grants status without any guarantee of merit or talent.”

Think about it. She’s right about that.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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