Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Now Who's the Ignorant One?

One of the last acceptable forms of elitism and prejudice is the kind used against southern or rural whites, usually poor ones. For many people from the North East or the West Coast of the country, speaking with a southern or Appalachian twang is shorthand for being stupid, racist and inbred. The terms “hick”, “redneck” and “hillbilly” are acceptable insults to hurl at poor whites, especially the ones who might be ungrateful enough to disagree with your political persuasion. This bothers me as it seems to indicate that those who often are saying they wish to help the poor are very willing to hold the majority of the unfortunate with elitist contempt because they share their skin-color. Little is actually done in America for the rural poor and I wonder if this is because the product of urban poverty (higher crime rates) affects the urban elite the most. This elite comprises can often be the most vocal advocates for those with lower incomes. Basically, perhaps the poor who live in “fly-over country” do not affect the urban elite as much and thus are not worth helping.

I am not looking to condemn people who act in this way because they just don’t know any better. I just want people who try to generalize about people with a certain skin color from a certain area, think the next time these insults pop up in their heads. The fact is that some who speak with an accent are just as smart or smarter than you. Some are rich, some are poor, and some are middle class. Some may be slightly racist some are less racist than you are. Those who demonstrate morally repugnant behavior should be condemned just as same as someone from your region should be. The key is to remember not to generalize about someone because he speaks in a more “folksy” manner and shares a skin color you are ashamed to share. We are all just people, aren’t we?

All right, that’s enough preaching for today.

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