Let’s Build a National White Trash Museum. Not.
Last week I spent a couple of days visiting monuments and art museums in our nation’s capital. Perhaps the most arresting spectacle is that every parking garage of a governmental nature has a tilt-up vehicle crash barrier. Apparently, they all date from the post 9/11 period and prevent Muslim terrorists from penetrating the sacred precincts of swank governmental transportation. Thank goodness everything is already in place to deal with the white supremacist armed insurrectionists!
The next most important spectacle in our nation’s capital is the troika of oppressed peoples museums on the Washington Mall.
Item, a National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington D.C. at 1400 Constitution Ave NW right next to the Washington Monument.
Item, a United States Holocaust National Museum in Washington D.C. just across the Mall from the African American Museum. Just as the African American Museum is on the left hand of the Washington Monument, so the Holocaust Museum is on the right hand of God, er, Washington.
Then there is the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in the shadow of the Grant Memorial at 4th St SW in Washington D.C. at the Capitol end of the Mall.
I expect that you are as shocked, shocked, as I was to discover that there is no National Museum of White Trash on the Washington Mall.
How come White Trash is not recognized as a genuine locus of victimage?
As we all know, the story of our nation’s White Trash and the history of America as the dumping ground for the "waste population" of England began in 1584 with the arrival of the first ship of White Trash off the shores of Virginia to found the Roanoke colony, courtesy of Sir Walter Raleigh, tobacconist and favorite of Good Queen Bess, and way before the arrival of the first slave ship. I have written about this as “My 1584 Project."
If you want an accessible scholarly narrative on the subject, try Nancy Isenberg's White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.
Of course, the problem of “waste population” didn’t start in 1584. It goes back at least to 1494 with the English Vagabonds and Beggars Act. See, going way back, the noble white oppressors of England started kicking their “useless retainers” off the feudal estates as they started to manage their estates for income rather than political power. “Improvement,” they called it. And then Henry VIII nationalized the English armed forces way before socialists thought of nationalizing the commanding heights of the economy. With the nationalization of their feudal armies, the nobles didn’t need peasants as arrow fodder anymore. Eventually, the Brits decided to Do Something about the “waste population” with the first Poor Law in 1597. But the poor didn’t really get a break until the Industrial Revolution cranked up in the 18th century -- and that, we Marxists know, was really a bourgeois plan to “immiserate” the poor.
So the story of White Trash is a long and painful narrative of oppression, domination, marginalization, and hegemony. Since our liberal friends are today the main oppressors of White Trash the Lived Experience of White Trash has not yet achieved visibility. The Whiteness of their sufferings is not worth the valuable time of our exalted leaders.
Yes, I know, such a White Trash museum, designed as a gigantic trash can, perhaps with different receptacles for plastics, and bottles and cans, seems an obvious addition to the victim monuments of Washington D.C. And there is a spare slot on the Washington Mall, right between the African American Museum and the Holocaust Museum.
That way we could have three Museums of the Victims, side by side: Jews, White Trash, and Black Slaves.
But, mirror mirror on the wall, who is the victimest victim of them all? The Jews that once were quota-ed out of Harvard? The 4,700 Blacks that were lynched, according to Wikipedia, in the Jim Crow era? The Indians practically wiped out by European diseases? Or the White Trash that all respectable people have regarded as
Waste people. Offscourings. Lubbers. Bogtrotters… Rednecks. Trailer trash. Swamp people...
since whenever right up to the magical moment when Hillary Clinton brandoned them as “deplorables.”
What do you think is the true measure of victimage? I will tell you: the victim that nobody even recognizes as a victim, the victim that suffers on the margins of American life while nobody who is anybody cares.
But if you are an official victim of the United States Ruling Class, their Little Darling, pampered and cuddled by the great and the good, you can be rewarded and celebrated with a patronizing museum on the Washington Mall.
I don’t know about you, but an America featuring dueling victim museums on the Washington Mall is not the America that I love. Not at all.
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