Monday, April 12, 2004

White Trash Charms

I was looking at a site called Signs of Life, linked by Zannah, and I noticed a particular sign featuring a company that I thought was Japanese. As you can see from the picture, the company is called White Trash Charms. The photographer even mentions, "Aparently the Japanese don't understand the negative connotations attached to this phrase." That's not a wild hypothesis, so I decided to check it out. I found this site, White Trash Charms Japan, ignoring the first results in the search because maybe cybersquatters used the name. I couldn't find any information in English on the Japan site, so I tried my luck with the first site on the results list, White Trash Charms. After exploring the site a little I learned that White Trash Charms was an American company, run primarily by three white women.

The jewelry isn't extremely fancy, the designs aren't anything to write home about, but the name white trash just doesn't sit well with me. Nowhere on the website is an explanation for the name of the company, so I guess that's a signal to all the unhip people to pay no attention to the name, it's all about the jewelry, the art, the style. Well, I don't want to ignore the name and I don't think anybody else should. The photographer was willing to overlook the "gaffe" as a foreign culture not understanding a negative slur, but what would he say when he found out that it was a white American who created the company, a person surrounded by people who completely understand the phrase's meaning? Why are people over looking this? White trash is an offensive name for a poor/working class white person. I guess since people are willing to buy the products, it doesn't matter what the name is. And by looking at the prices of the products, white trash are not buying them, so they're not even for white trash. They probably have received letters, but the only print that counts for them is reviews in fashion magazines.

Part of me wants to do nothing more than think about it for a few days and then forget about it. But I could contact the N.A.A.C.P., an American civil rights group, just to see what they have to say about it. Maybe I'm just over reacting.