Implicit Whiteness #5- Rural or “Southern” Culture

Brantley Gilbert is right- country is indeed country wide-

What is usually thought of as “southern” culture is really the culture of people living outside the big cities everywhere in North America. You may not find people with “southern” accents in Canada, but you will find them right by the border. The “South” extends to central Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and any place these people spread, up to the Pacific Northwest.

The rural culture is the habits, mores, and preferences of people who do physical labor, skilled or unskilled, outdoors and away from the city. Their dress, manners, pleasures, and conduct are straightforward and simple. Their work involves making or doing physical things and they are impatient with abstractions.

The elite finds these people quite suspicious. They are in no way opposed to the economic aspects of the New Deal system. They are working class and like the protections the government provides. Rural people were strong New Deal supporters and many remain Democrats even today. Toby Keith is a conservative Democrat. The problem the elite has is that while the rural white population supports their economic policies, they are resistant to their cultural and racial policies. On top of this, as George Orwell observed in “The Road to Wigan Pier” the working class man is not inclined to mince words or submit quietly when he doesn’t like something.

So the elite despises and ridicules rural working class whites. This is the worst kind of implicit whiteness, and it brings up a specific situation where implicit and explicit whiteness meet- the Confederate flag.

People who know these people understand that the Confederate flag is a symbol of implicit whiteness. It expresses the difference in culture between rural white working class people and urban middle- and upper-class people. There is nothing racist or political about it. It expresses an inchoate sense of resentment and nostalgia, resentment at social marginalization- to borrow a five dollar word from urban sociologists- and nostalgia for a time when rural culture was more important and respected in America.

For the elite and their enforcers though, the Confederate flag is a big no-no. It is an explicitly white symbol of rebellion against the system and the status of blacks in it.

This brings us to the topic of explicit whiteness- not simply living and valuing things that are white as a matter of culture and lifestyle, but the direct expression of white superiority, a desire to celebrate European culture and achievement as European, and the rejection of elite and black political domination. Explicit whiteness is dangerous territory, but that’s where we will go next.

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About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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3 Responses to Implicit Whiteness #5- Rural or “Southern” Culture

  1. Bo says:

    Great article.

    What is usually thought of as “southern” culture is really the culture of people living outside the big cities everywhere in North America.

    Yes, and the lyrics to Country is Countrywide is a great illustration of that idea.

    However, this video is part of CMT’s campaign to political correct-ize country music, along with other recent big money country videos like Taylor Swift’s “Mean” and Colt Ford’s “No Trash in my Trailer”

    For instance, in any country bar you go to, you’re likely to see a few black people, but the black represented in this video is a token, and of course he and the blonde waitress exchange meaningful glances, and he’s featured. He’s part of the “new country tribe.”

    You’ll also notice the girl with the denim jacket dressed country style is attending an elite looking liberal arts college (a positive representation that goes against the media stereotype), but the only white collar white man is the mail boy.

    They are mediating the country culture in these videos – they are showing rural, working class white people, the kind usually demonized, and giving them a positive representation in CMT videos – but only when they add in politically correct “triggers” or “tokens.” Both “Mean” and “No Trash in my Trailer” have pretty explicit “gay” characters, and the Ford video is even more egregious about showing blacks as part of the country crowd. With the blacks, they are taking an exception and playing it as if it’s the rule. There’s one black in the entire concert scene, but he’s the one they feature. “Country is for blacks too!” is the clear intent.

    CMT is of course, owned by the usual suspects.

    Let’s not forget that 30 years ago Waylon Jennings “I’m a White Boy” was literally banned from the radio and they wouldn’t even release it normally.

    My first generation Irish Catholic ex girlfriend born and raised in Northern California loved country music and had never stepped foot in the South. It’s our music and it has a world wide appeal, which is why they try so hard to control and co-opt it. I have yet to see a Confederate flag in any of these CMT videos, and hipster country acts have even taken to using black and white versions on album covers, to lessen the “controversy.”

    Of course, Brantley Gilbert is pop country, and pop country has a world wide appeal and there’s too much money for TPTB to ignore it, so they have to control it.

    /rant

  2. Brandon says:

    I’m not a country music fan – I call it cow pasture music : = ), nevertheless, good article.

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