Recently a self categorized ‘infotainment’ article listed Brooksville as the number 2 “white trash” city in Florida and Spring Hill as number 5. The article explains that they examined,
“Cities where there are lots of white people
Cities where residents are poorer than average
Cities where a high number of residents are high school dropouts
High drug use
Higher than average Payday Loan Outlets and Dollar Stores
Violent cities (measured in aggravated assaults)
Cities with a high number of residents on welfare”
It’s written in a provocative manner, which is a strategy to increase the likelihood that the piece goes “viral.” For instance the author writes,
“In Hernando County, they ARE down with O.P.P. – other people’s pills. They are 15th in the state for drug use. And when they say they have their G.E.D., it means they ‘got every drug.’ ”
There is no dispute that the county faces a methamphetamine problem, just take a look at page 4 and there is likely to be 2 to 3 meth/drug related arrests. The problem is that the article is written to shock and demean these areas which ultimately contributes to the cycle of drug use and poverty. It does not address the solutions that are being implemented in these cities. The author does not ask the questions: what is working, what is not working, how can the problems be reduced?
By utilizing a serious problem in order to shock, entertain, degrade and ultimately gain publicity, the article is exploiting the weaknesses of others. It is a tactic that keeps areas economically weak as it promotes weakness and poverty in the eyes of other communities and ultimately its own residents. This type of article causes the best and brightest to leave an area, which does even more harm.
The author claims that the piece is not ‘reverse racism’ because they also examined the cities that are the most ghetto in Florida in a separate article. In other words ‘I have picked on other groups, so I can pick on this group.’ However, that article does not single out a specific race in a demeaning way as the ‘white trash’ article obviously does.
Ultimately, poverty and drug use are color blind. Promoting terms like “white trash” and “ghetto” is divisive and not helpful to solving the problems at large.