In Which I Again Blog About Manners

As everyone near a news feed (including Darth Vader and the little bacteria that may or may not live on Mars) knows, Britney Spears’s little sister is apparently expecting a baby. Which has provided me with ample opportunity to note the need for a manners refresher:

Sweeping generalizations about geographic area and class are every bit as much prejudice as sweeping generalizations about race or gender, even when the harm the former do is somehow lesser in scope. Stop making them. Thank you.

I am absolutely flabbergasted by some of the comments I have seen, often on ostensibly feminist websites, which throw around the term “trailer trash,” then attempt to defend what is clearly biased speech by saying, “…but I call my brother-in-law/sister/cousins/best friend’s roommate that all the time!” That argument held no water when it was used in even uglier instances of prejudice, and it holds none now, either.

People seem to think that the opposite of “trailer trash” in these discussions is “hipster,” but it’s not. By using such terms, you ally yourself with people who would likely horrify you. People who wear their nice dresses and hats to church, then go to the social afterwards and whisper gossip about who’s not quite “our kind of people.” People who believe that who your parents are, or the neighborhood where you were born, determines who you are forever. The very folks the whole concept of “upward mobility” and the proliferation of a thriving forum for different voices in the culture were supposed to undermine all along.

What’s so damned enlightened about taking over-the-fence gossip circa 1963 and sticking it on the Internet?

It’s reactionary and rude. Stop doing it.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. johnnypeepers
    Dec 20, 2007 @ 22:24:46

    Kinda reminds me of the old throwaway line, “I am not a racist, have black friends.” Class discrimination exists and must be stopped. The hypocritical feminists who decry the “trailer trash” have been exposed by your post and they have much to answer for.

    Reply

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