In several recent posts, I wrote that there are a lot of poor people from the South that are working in Watford City, North Dakota. I also wrote that some of the workers that I have met from the South, are very nearly White Trash. I want to explain this.
There are no normal people from the South in North Dakota. If a normal person from the South arrived in North Dakota, they would quickly leave. In Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, most normal people can find something to do for a living. Many jobs in the South are not high pay, but there are other things that are important and make a difference, like being around family, friends, their church, and their community. Husbands don’t want to be away from their wives and children, and wives don’t want their husbands to be far away from home. Husbands don’t want to cause their wives to have to move away from their mom and dad, brothers and sisters, and many wives wouldn’t move away from their families.
Normal people from the South find something to do for a living not too far from home. Family, friends, and their hometown are important to people from the South. In their hometown, they feel comfortable, at ease, that they belong, that everything is going to be O.K. Anything that comes up, they know where to go, or who to call. Every town in the South has a consensus of opinion on acceptable behavior. Everybody is expected to operate within the bounds of acceptable behavior.
What has always guided acceptable behavior in the South are the Protestant religions, primarily Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterians. To make it short, you are supposed to stop and think, what would Jesus do?, what would the Apostles do?, what did Jesus teach? The following people enforced and reinforced appropriate Christian behavior: the mayor, the city judge, the city attorney, the chief of police, the police, the preachers, the teachers, the business owners, the widow women, the housewives, and the farmers. If you thought that you wanted to behave differently, you were highly outnumbered, and you would suffer the consequences of misbehavior, everywhere.
As towns in the South grew, and people from elsewhere moved in, it became harder for towns to pressure people into appropriate Christian behavior. Small towns still had the ability to apply a lot of pressure to people to act right. Even cities like Atlanta still have cultural values that are still predominantly derived from the Protestant religions.
Now, here comes the part about White Trash. Every town in the South has always struggled with the problem of White Trash, people that will just not get with the program. They went to the same elementary school as everybody else, they went to the same Sunday school as everybody else, they have had a talking to by the Chief of Police, and the City Judge more than several times, but they are just always getting into trouble. The White Trash in the South typically do the following things: shoplift, break into people’s homes, take things out of the back of people’s trucks, beat their wives, drive drunk and crash into other people, deal crack and meth, use crack and meth, litter, shop at WalMart, get into fights at bars, appear on the Jerry Springer show. They are not wanted in the towns that they come from. The police and the judges find that there comes a point at which they have to be more and more severe with repeat offender White Trash, everybody is just sick of dealing with them. One of the intentions and hopes of law enforcement and everybody else, is that the White Trash will just go someplace else and be problem.
When the TV news started talking about, “Anybody can go to North Dakota and make over $100,000 a year in the oil field”, all the White Trash people in the South thought, “$100,000 per year! just think of all the Meth that will buy!” They couldn’t load their Kia fast enough.
Watford City, I just wanted to let you know, you didn’t get the the normal people from the South, you got the White Trash, or the nearly White Trash people, and me.