I have seen a couple of comments recently (including on Norfolk Blogger) saying that everyone is laying into Jade for racist comments (e.g "Shilpa Poppadom" - but Jade says she said it because she couldn't remember Shilpa's real name so just thought of something Indian - oh that's all right then) but noone has taken Jermaine Jackson to task for calling Jade "White trash" which, we are told by these commenters, is a term of "racist abuse" to white people.
"White Trash". Let me see....would I be offended if anyone called me this..........nope. Is it really a term of racist abuse or just a convenient thing to throw into this argument?
White trash is an American ethnic slur with a social class component. The term is usually considered interchangeable with trailer trash. It is comparable to "honky" in that it is targeted toward white people, but it also connotes low social status and poor prospects (i.e., downward mobility). To call someone "white trash" is to accuse that person of being culturally bankrupt. "White trash" is not a demographic group recognized by sociology.
Attitudes toward the phrase have softened somewhat in recent years, to the degree that some people describe themselves as "white trash", and there is a genre of rock music known proudly as "white-trash rock", but the phrase is still never found in polite contexts. "White trash" is usually associated with poverty; lack of education can also play a role.
Note the sentence: "The term in usually considered interchangeable with trailer trash". I have never considered "trailer trash" a particularly offensive phrase. I also note the phrase "attitudes toward the phrase have softened somewhat in recent years to the degree that some people describe themselves as "white trash"."
Yes, I know the Wikipedia entry could have been written by anyone.
So I also carry this definition from the Cambridge Online Dictionary:
An offensive way of describing poor white people who are not educated
...and this from dictionary.com:
–noun Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
1.a member of the class of poor whites, esp. in the southern U.S.
2.poor whites collectively.
As Norfolk Blogger said the other day, if one person thinks something is racist, then it is. So I accept that it is conceivable that some people, reportedly, were upset by the term "white trash", so therefore it appears to be racist.
I would note in closing that Ofcom has had 38,000 complaints "about racism on Celebrity Big Brother". I have not been able to find out how many, if any, of these complaints were about Jermaine Jackson's "white trash" term.