This interview with Nancy Isenberg is focused on her recently published book White Trash: The 400 year untold History of Class in America. Her book is focused on how white poverty has been socially viewed, how those views have evolved and how the poor whites are exploited politically and economically by the elites and played against minority groups. She also looks at Eugenics and racialized poor whites and non WASP immigrants during the 19th century. Another issue is the importance of land ownership, or these days, owning a home, and how this ties into the African American community and their struggles to become homeowners. Class and race have geography, which are often seen in how sections of a city are zoned, which helps reinforce differences, and can limit the value of that land.
She also discusses how Donald Trump uses long used techniques by elites to appeal to the poor through race baiting and what she refers to as our ‘democracy of manners”, where Americans will accept large disparities in wealth just so long as that person ‘acts like us’, or is someone we can relate to in some form. Donald Trump eschews manners, which have long been associated with elitism, donning his cheap cap and yells about violent “illegals”, a judge is incompetent because his parents were Mexicans and refers to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas”.
She sums up the state of the US as definitely being NOT post racial, and NOT post class.