Profiles In White Trash, Dickinson, North Dakota

In western North Dakota, historically, I don’t think that there were white trash people.  Yes, there were poor people.  Yes, there were uneducated people.  However, due to the difficulty of life in North Dakota, with its very cold and long winters, its lack of trees, its lack of wild animals for food, and its lack of industry, conditions were not right for the creation of white trash people.  In order to survive in North Dakota, you had to be hard working, you had to plan ahead, and you had to think of the consequences of your actions, or inaction.

In a cold, barren state, where survival requires hard work, self-sufficiency, accountability, and reaping what you sew, white trash people can not survive.

Unfortunately, there are white trash people in North Dakota now.  Unfortunately, I have to admit, that they are from the South.  I don’t think that there is anyone that hates white trash more than I do.  There are two things about white trash people that go hand in hand, which are the primary ingredients of white trash, one is ignorance, the second is bad conduct.

Ignorance is not so bad, if a person would just keep their mouth shut, stay home, and not have children.  In the case of white trash people, they are out and about, and they have the Midas touch in being offensive.

At about 6:30 a.m. one morning not long ago, I went to have breakfast at the Perkins restaurant in Dickinson.  Within about a minute of being seated at a booth, I could hear someone with a strong southern accent, speaking overly loudly to a group of people seated in an adjacent, enclosed room.  This man, was using language that was not appropriate for a public restaurant, speaking about a subject that was not appropriate for a public restaurant, and was speaking too loudly.  He appeared to think, like all white trash seem to think, that he was being witty and entertaining, rather than realizing he was being inappropriate and offensive.   The waitress went back to the group after a few minutes to take their orders, she was a pleasant lady, in her sixties.  The man began to speak to her inappropriately, asking her if she was married, making a couple of suggestive comments.  Even though the waitress did not act offended, I am pretty sure that she was, because she is married, and she is from North Dakota, and is not accustomed to being spoken to like this.  As I already said, historically, there were not white trash people in North Dakota.

The adjacent enclosed room, was being occupied by approximately ten workers from an oil field service company.  I could tell from their accents, that just about all of these workers were from the south.  Though I continued to hear this particular man, speaking overly loud, throughout the time I was eating,  I never heard about five or six of the group say anything, one way or the other.  Before the boasting speakers had finished eating and talking, about five of the workers excused themselves to go to work.  Three of these workers who left early, were black men.  I looked at these men as they left, their faces visible to me, but not to those remaining seated at the table they left, their faces had a pained and disapproving look, almost a grimace.

I could tell that just as I was disgusted by the white trash, so were these men.  Both they and I grew up in the South, and we knew that this behavior was inappropriate, and we were sorry for it.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, a hostess brought a well dressed man in his late fifties, towards the back of the restaurant, closer to the white trash oil field workers than I was seated, he quickly assessed that group with one look that took less than a second, and said, “No.”, and he immediately turned, and walked to the furthest table in the opposite direction.

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