Thank you for your cover story ("White Trash," by Sam Boykin, Sept. 24). When my grandparents moved here and set up a trailer on the property next to our "regular" house, even as a seven-year-old I sensed that it was better to refer to their dwelling as a "mobile home" because "trailer" carried so many negative connotations. They chose their trailer because it was less expensive than a traditional structure and made it easier to stretch their retirement dollars. Between them and my friends who grew up in trailers, I've always felt that "trailer park trash" is a narrow-minded, holier-than-thou moniker. I'm glad you took the time and the trouble to include in your story some real people who contradict the stereotype.
CBS's comparison between The Real Beverly Hillbillies and The Osbournes is telling. You're right, not only is Ozzy "drug-addled, lumbering and barely intelligible," but the interest of the show's fans is based on the fact that, despite all of his defects, Ozzy is still wealthy and successful. Make a show where the father has to work at a poultry processing plant gutting chickens for 10 or 12 hours just to keep the trailer and the car from being repossessed, and the viewers would be as scarce as a muscle shirt in Myers Park.
Rising above laboring for a living and becoming a professional is a fine goal for many of us, but we should not allow other jobs to be labeled less important or honorable. What would we professionals do if the trash weren't taken out or the grass cut or the dishes washed where we work and relax? Again, thank you for a fair defense of the working class.
-- Kedrick Lewis, Mint Hill
One Man's Trash
"White Trash" was a wonderful article, however, I believe you only scratched the surface. This kind of prejudice is pervasive, crosses racial and class lines, and is very prevalent in "PC" circles. Some folks I know who wouldn't be caught dead slamming any other ethnic group will trash rednecks all day long. When I lived in LA I was often deeply saddened by such open prejudice -- folks would find out where I was from and the jokes would begin.
I feel lucky to live in an area of town where I have gotten to know a good lot of "white trash": folks who grew up in the mill village -- and they are some of the smartest, kindest, wisest people I know. One gentleman I know drives an old truck, sits on his porch all day long -- and owns enough real estate to make him a millionaire.
-- Dorne Pentes, Charlotte
Tara's On Track
Over the last few years Tara Servatius has managed to get me pretty riled up to the point of yelling at Creative Loafing while reading it. I have come to realize that Tara's job really is to piss me off and take the opposite view on everything.
Imagine my surprise while reading the latest column about our misguided transit plan ("Coming Soon: Even More Congestion," Sept. 24), to find myself nodding and muttering "yeah, she's got it right" under my breath. As a person that has to look out my office window every day and see the $30 million trolley boondoggle, and see the trolley run on Fridays only during the week, I am afraid that I have to agree with Ms. Servatius on virtually every point. Rarely does a journalist get it all correct (at least by my definition of correct). ATTA GIRL! Keep riling them up.
-- Tom Shoup, Charlotte
Ass-Backward and Phobic
Bravo to CL for printing Tara Servatius' astute column about the city and county's half-baked transit plans. The light rail plan seems like something put together by a committee (in the same way that, as the old saying goes, a camel is a horse put together by a committee). It won't serve enough people to put a dent in our traffic and pollution problems, and will actually increase road use near the various light rail stops. This plan exemplifies two of the city's unfortunate traits: a phobia about our image and, despite that, doing things ass-backwards. After studies were done, it became obvious that the "cooler" American cities all had light rail; but then, they also had dense housing patterns that cried out for that kind of transit plan. Our great local leaders saw an opportunity for Charlotte to be as cool as, say, Portland, OR, and have light rail, too. So there's not enough high-density housing to support it in Charlotte? No problem: we'll provide the housing along the track routes and the light rail customers will come! In other words, completely ass-backwards from any rational approach. If other Charlotte media did half of what you guys do to really look into what's transpiring in our local government, then we could start talking about being world-class. As it is, a compliant local press won't point out that we're being run by a bunch of semi-incompetents masquerading as visionaries.
-- David L. Simmons, Charlotte