Social Question

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

Is it acceptable to ridicule people from "lower" socioeconomic or social classes?

Asked by DoNotKnowMuch (2974points) April 6th, 2016

While we’ve made considerable progress regarding certain groups (race, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, etc), it appears that many people are still ok with calling someone “trashy” or ridiculing people who come from a “lower” socioeconomic class. Do you feel that this is true, and if so – why?

I’m thinking about terms like: white trash, trailer trash, trash, trashy, low-class, etc used as prejorative. This can apply to taste in food, clothing, music, language, etc.

What are your thoughts?

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16 Answers

tedibear's avatar

My thought is that ridiculing someone for any reason is wrong. What’s the point of doing it except that it makes the ridiculer feel superior?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Interesting how it’s still acceptable to dis poor folks as long as they’re white and preferably male.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

^ It does seem this way. I see it here, it’s common online fairly often, and so-called “liberals” have done quite a bit of it this election season.

NerdyKeith's avatar

Well if you one is dealing with an individual whose behaviour is (lets face it) somewhat irrational, carless and erratic. It should be pointed out to them that their behaviour is lacking class. And by class, I mean self respect and respect for others. Perhaps it could be avoided calling them “trashy”; and to point out that such people have low standards and self respect etc.

Now if we are talking about class as in where a person is from and their wealth; I consider this to be unacceptable and blatant discrimination. Personally I don’t care how much money are person has or where they are from. It is what they do and how the treat others that concerns me.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s not acceptable.

I hate how so many people laugh at the people in Walmart photos. I won’t look at them. I think it is incredibly mean.

Being poor should not be something shameful. Most poor people work hard. We all are a product of what we are exposed to.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@NerdyKeith – When we talk about social class and economic class, they may often go together, but sometimes it doesn’t necessarily have to do with money. There are different cultures within the US. Each of these have different standards of behavior, accents, conversational style, conflict resolution, entertainment, humor, etc. To the “upper middle class”, dressing in certain clothes, watching NASCAR, etc might be considered “trashy” or tasteless specifically because the culture appears to be so foreign and grating. However, within the world of someone in that “lower”/different class, the upper-middle class person’s way of dress, etc may seem absurd.

Is it possible that our judgments based on what we perceive as “low standards” or lack of self-respect are really just based on misunderstanding of a different culture or class? And in doing this, we’re really making it acceptable for ridicule based on socioeconomic class? (Think “People of Walmart” sites).

stanleybmanly's avatar

@NerdyKeith Class is a fascinating concept, and particulary in America. One of the truly striking things about Trump is that he is a second or third generation millionaire behaving like a noveau rich hillbilly with too much money. Class is not discussed nearly enough in America. But the one thing everyone recognizes in this our land, including Trump’s fans is that whatever the definition is for taste and refinement, Trump is the opposite of it. His supporters revel in it, his detractors, particularly those in his party are embarrassed by it. The believers make the mistake of confusing tasteless crudity for authenticity in a man about as genuine as an eleven dollar bill. You know, in the future people are going to read about this and watch the newsclips in grinning disbelief. I bitch a lot, but in some ways, this is a marvelous age to live through and witness.

Pachy's avatar

Since the dawn of time, humans have acted out the need to make themselves feel superior at someone else’s expense. It’s not acceptable, it’s surely not right, but sadly, it must wired into our DNA.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

No. To me, it’s not acceptable. It does happen though.

ibstubro's avatar

Why not?
It’s not like it’s necessarily an insult.

Look at the Kardashian Clan. Paris Hilton. White trash is a multi million dollar business in the US of A. Honey Booboo. Reality TV is filled with low class, trashy people who are willing participants pulling in a huge audience of equally willing participants.

Boo hoo.
Do we have to be all touchy-feely about billionaire politicians with orange skin, raccoon eyes and a cotton candy comb-over, too?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s apparently socially acceptable to trash poor, southern, rural dwelling white males who live in manufactured homes and prefer cheap beer to wine.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

It’s fundamentally wrong but It’s rather ‘acceptable’ as a retaliation. If people from lower economic class ridicule people from higher economic class then they should be prepared to be treated the same way (however, doing this won’t make them a better person).

JLeslie's avatar

I think a lot of people point out “white trash” so they don’t sound racist. See, white people are like that too, or sometimes worse. ~ Something to that effect.

@stanleybmanly The two people I know who have spent some time with Trump say he has “class” and is extremely welcoming and hospitable. They both only have brief interactions with him, and also with some of his children.

Class is a taboo subject to many Americans. It’s tradition here. We were established as a country that all men were created equal. We believed that all people should be given opportunity for education, and if you work hard you can climb the class structure. This was a big deal 200 years ago. Our European motherlands had royalty and peasants and all sorts of class structure that could rarely be climbed out of through work. It was more an accident of birth. We in the USA rejected that. The people had power over their destiny and their representatives in government. It all went together. It is basically a huge part of the American dream.

Unfortunately, socio-economic class is a taboo subject enough that most of the country doesn’t understand or learn about it. We often use race and ethnic identifiers for groups rather than socio-economic labels.

ucme's avatar

Ridicule no?
Hire as house staff? Absolutely!

Jak's avatar

One does not need money to have class, nor does having money equal having class. The underlying theme is in-groups and out-groups as well as approval seeking. And being socially awkward and insecure. If I continually say; “I’m really rich, you’re not. I’m better than you.” it tells us a few things. I should be spending my time with other people of the same socioeconomic class rather than hanging out with people who have so much less than me. Unless I feel insecure in some way and need constant validation by comparing my finances to people with less. Or I’m just a liar and live on the dole and lie to make myself feel better about me. Either way, it’s a false standard and until I realize that, I’m a slave to a self imposed standard that keeps me from meeting my fellow man as a brother. So jokes and what we make fun of will continue to be a gauge of society and individuals.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

In their song Lapdance N.E.R.D rap about “all in the name of white trash” regarding the issue of flag burning.

I am not offended because I am a grownup. I also am smart enough to see what’s really going on with their mistaken thinking.

I love the song, I think I’ll listen to it in the car later. Flag burning is uncool but it is protected speech. No one should have the power to force one to love their nation.

But it’s not a “black” issue. So the members of N.E.R.D consider it to not be something the public or state should be concerned about. So they disparage those that are. Perhaps N.E.R.D will consider the issue of protected speech if it ever affects them directly.

Economic status, (So called socioeconomic status is a political buzzword) is something that can partly be helped. (I recently posted about being insulting about things that people cannot help)

You may be poor but you could have helped yourself by not signing on that shit loan. You may be poor but you could have helped by insisting on using condoms. My dismay might easily be mistaken for ridicule due to my delivery.

Then there’s the loosely defined “social” side. God, do people love to wear the world “culture” down to a nub.

You cannot help where you are born. You cannot help what your genetic makeup is.

But you can help killing rare animals just because your people believe one small part of them is good for the libido if ingested.

You can help the fact that your pants waistline is below your ass.

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