Monday, March 7, 2016

Core Post #4: Elvis, White Trash, and Race

I absolutely loved Viva Las Vegas last week -- it was a fun mix of romance, music, energy, and of course, Elvis Presley. My parents were pretty into Elvis growing up, but this was actually the first of his films that I had seen. I thought he was really handsome and entertaining, definitely living up to the hype.

However, the articles we read for today redefined HYPE. Who knew fans would be so crazy as to constantly mob him, invite him to dinners, and other behaviors that today we would probably consider a little out of the ordinary. It's interesting and admirable to think that a celebrity could have such a (generally) positive influence on his fans, and be relatable enough that people considered him to be family.

I think the most interesting part of the articles was the discussion of white trash and its relationship to race. Nowadays, we primarily see racial discourse on African-American issues and white privilege; it's rare to see discussion over "lower class" whites, such as discussed in this article. The article states that "[white trash people] are seen as degrading to the dominant white culture because they reveal the lie of racism: the so-called inferiority of Blacks is embedded racially." Whereas Blacks are historically thought of as inferior, the white trash model inverts traditional racial stereotypes. The article goes on to state that blacks are often valued over white trash individuals, perhaps because they are seen as bringing the race down. It's a very interesting discussion. This is tangential, but I think it would be interesting to analyze the role that class plays in perceiving race. Are Blacks historically thought of as inferior because they are perceived to be poor? Conversely, are whites thought of as better because of their perceived wealth? What happens when that facade is broken or disproved?

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