Representations of working class whites in the popular
media are responsible for the dissemination of "white trash"
as well as "good country folk" stereotypes in society. The working class white,
placed in these two distinct roles,
serves as a personified id and superego for the collective
of America, particularly of middle and upper class whites.
The "white trash" portrayal represents the little devil on one shoulder -- embodying racism,
ignorance, violence, filth, and base desires. He operates outside of societal boundaries with an
emphasis on the "id's" instinct and primalism.
The "good country folk" portrayal represents the little
the other side -- embodying simplicity, loyalty, faith in religion and humanity, and a connection
family and community. This "superego" maintains moral absolutes in a world where such ideals
no longer belong.
Society has not chosen one to be the representative model, but instead uses
(and I mean that in the harshest sense) this dichotomy to fulfill its own desires on either end of
the spectrum. As "id", the
working class white is burdened with all the crimes and guilt of the white
race over time. This allows the audience to feel justifiable hatred toward a group which they can
demonize and thereby release guilt and aggression unto -- while hating what is worst within
themselves. As "superego", the working class white is used to
and idealize the desire for a simpler life. Thus enabling the audience to reassure itself of qualities
they hope are best within themselves in a kind, moral world. These
images reappear over time and in many forms of media. They are considered for their
impact on public
perception and treatment of working class whites.