From Tree Sugar;
On the most basic level, calling anyone trash is just plain cruel and dehumanizing. When you think of it from a racial perspective, there's the implication that it's such an unusual event for white people to be "trash" that there needs to be a special category. Political theorist bell hooks, in her book Black Looks, says that white trash is basically a code term meaning, "as low as black people." To hear more thoughts on the term white trash, read more.
Wow. Wait. I don't think this person has a clue where the term came from. In an age where not only PCisms are rampant but an era where we are told to "own" words, I think this writer is a bit off base.
I am White trash, however I am not a cracker, I don't come from Florida.
Now many people feel that the term White trash is about someone's moral failings. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a chapter called Poor White Trash in her book Uncle Tom's Cabin. She tells us that slavery not only produced degraded and miserable slaves, but poor whites that were degraded and miserable. Everyone looked down on these poor whites. EVERYONE, including slaves. Not only could they not afford schooling, they could not afford land nor slaves. And were unable to secure work. They were looked down upon by both Blacks and Whites. In the 1800's the description found its popularity with upper class whites to describe lower class people with questionable morals no matter the race.
I do not call into question my education nor my morals when I refer to myself as white trash. I live in a 25 year old mobile home, I have junk laying around everywhere, I am poor, I am white skinned. (I am Irish and Black Foot). The term white trash is used affectionately to describe myself. I can not afford to go out and buy a chicken coop, so I make one. It is as simple as that.
Even my fellow writers at Girls gone Trashy have up and ran with my term "white trash with a purpose"
So is it derogatory? Depends on the context it is used in. I am proud of our trash ingenuity, be it white or not.