I think when you grow up Black in a predominately poor white area in America, there’s a certain austerity you are made to adopt towards your suffering that can transform gaslighting into an everyday state of being. Poor rural whites have a different attitude towards suffering. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard describes it as a condition of having been, “a waste of white skin.” This white “vulnerability” (if one is willing to grant such a name to such a thing) produces an integrity boost to the Black body that is almost purely aesthetic in nature. By this I mean, the Black comes to feel themselves as having improved in their lot and toil by a ‘hallucinatory whitening’ that emerges from a proximity to whiteness. The abyss, that Fanon describes as being between himself and Sartre (and there is at least a gap between that of Sartre and the rural wigger) is an abyss that the Black becomes austere towards in the ethos of his white ‘contemporaries.’ In the name of calling the struggle, ‘our struggle’ the Black bites their tongue, picks themselves from up by their bootstraps, cast down their buckets where they are and vows to make something out of the nothing that, racio-economically speaking, has not shifted much, if any, at all. It is the way in which hallucinatory whiteness equates whiteness to ‘safety’ and ‘upward mobility’ that causes the Black folks who ‘moves up’ in American society by moving next to poor white people to develop an austerity towards their experiences of anti-Blackness itself. In this sense, the ‘conservative Black,’ (who we will describe as the ‘austere’ Black for now on) formed under these conditions, might not deny the very existence of anti-Blackness but will always most certainly consider overcoming it to be something like a major part of a Black person’s ‘job’ in the United States. And lets not forget: we all have to work!
Anti-Blackness is either dead and gone, to these austere types, or anti-Blackness is understood to be the work of what the Black must labor to ‘overcome.’ This confusion of their labor dereliction with their dereliction of genre results in both an anti-Black and anti-Poor demeanor on behalf of the Black. It is a demeanor which allows for an economic advance in geography to be equated with overcoming anti-Blackness. The Rural Wigger “knows” that ultimately it is money alone, and the psychic trauma of being amongst the have-nots that is their sole division from the haves. They are white trash precisely because they have not cashed in on their birthright which is to say, the World. What’s worse is that many have often failed intergenerationally to ‘cash in’ on this birthright, endowed to them by the God of Manifest Destiny. ‘White trash’ as a pejorative designation of Whiteness functions as a kind of scarring of lack – the trauma of poverty leading these poor persons to a life of drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide and hip hop. Yeah, rock and roll too. But, lots and lots of hip hop. In hip hop, they overdose on Blackness. In Eminem, they located their icon. Someone who spoke to their ‘condition.’ Someone who spoke with, for and to them. We might say then, that ‘white trash’ is a kind of ‘hallucinatory blackening’ of the white body. The syntagmatic connections between drugs, money, sex, trash, Blackness and black music envelopes the White body in a web of anti-Blackness that is purely hallucinatory.
A convinced white man saying: “I say the N word because I grew up round dat.” Here ‘dat’ functions to unconsciously justify his association of himself with denigration through the medium of Blackness. The rural wigger imagines himself as a nigga, a ‘dat.’ “I am white and denigrated like you see, I am a nigga too.” But what this says better than any other expression of anti-Blackness can is precisely how structurally positioned Blackness is to abjection in both the unconscious and preconscious , the “hallucinatory whiteness” of the Black disavowals despite the trepidations of the job. For the Black with ‘hallucinatory whitening’ going out into the World and being at risk of being murdered by the State is just ‘part of a day’s work.’ But the trauma of not-having-had is not the same trauma as the trauma of never had been able to be and only some suffer both.
Whose World is this anyway?