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Nancy Isenberg, "White Trash"

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When entrepreneurs in Elizabethan England looked to the New World, they saw America as a land of waste land that was not productive -- but could be the place to offload the poor, idle, diseased and the children of beggars, all seen as human waste. That’s how historian Nancy Isenberg begins her history of class in America -- generation after generation of underclass viewed by society and government as disposable. In her book “White Trash,” Isenberg argues that far from the class-less society Americans claim, the United States always has enforced a class structure and disdained those at the bottom. We’ll ask Isenberg whether her focus on class ignores the bigotry of race … and how the ideas of “White Trash” show up in politics today.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.