White Pride, Single Wide

Sitting out on my front porch, sipping a cup of coffee, perched on an upturned five-gallon bucket, I find myself reflecting on what it means to be trailer trash. The rain is coming down through cracks in the tin roof, which was poorly put together by some tenant before I came to live here. It falls on the brim of my hat and streams down to the warped 2×6’s that make up the floor. Inside, my wife is doing her best to keep the toilet clean. It’s bottom of the line, chipped, and showing it’s age.

My trailer sits at the bottom of a hill, wedged between two other trailers. It’s the oldest, the smallest, and the cheapest. When I moved in, the walls were soft, it smelled like dirt, and the roaches owned more of the place than we did. Slowly, my wife and I rebuilt the walls, cleaned out the filth, and vacated the Turkish squatters. We put our blood, sweat and tears into this house to make it a home. When it rains, the dirt around our trailer turns to mud, and little streams collect in the driveway. Past the driveway, across the road is the horse pasture where swallows dive in the dying evening light, and down the hill in the back, past the fire pit, is the little forest where I collect squirrels for the pot from time to time.

We are the forgotten lower class, struggling to keep a traditional lifestyle alive and claw our way up in the world. My wife stays at home, and will be having a baby soon. I bring home a paycheck, she turns it into supper. Most people would call us white trash, or trailer trash, and I’m not so sure they’re wrong. We fit the bill. But I have no reason to be ashamed of it. We may live on the low end of the socio-economic scale, but the folks around us are our people. They and I belong to a proud tradition of scraping out a living in a system that hates us, and having the backbone to say “What of it?

White Pride, Single Wide.

-By Daniel Ess


  1. Mr. Ess, you are living honorably, just not luxuriously. Never be ashamed of that. Our ancestors who left the Atlantic coast to settle the Southern frontier lived with far less comforts. I am not in a trailer, but I live in a 1,040 square foot metal pole barn house; the Amish put up the shell for me and I am slowly finishing the inside.
    Glad to hear that you are bringing another Southern nationalist into the world!

  2. In this age only the minority are allowed to be seen as disadvantaged or poor. Excellent little article that gives a perspective many people refuse to hear out of pure blind hate for our folk.

  3. I would rather be honorable “white trash” than rich without ethics or family.

    There is no shame in living simply and within our means. I am happiest with a freezer full of deer and trout and making our fixer upper our sanctuary.

  4. Honey, you’re not white trash, you’re just a white couple starting a family & doing it under the power of your own blood, sweat & tears, the way it should be done. It’s called pride in yourself & your life. You may live in a trailer, but you haven’t abandoned yourself to it’s original state and you are far from the first person to live in a place that needed TLC to make it livable.

    I’ve had friends in homes that were so dirty as to be disgusting, big houses, gorgeous outside and squalor inside, all because they were lazy. I lived in a small mill house for 10 years with my husband, son & daughter for 10 years. It was only 1100 square feet & needed work, work that we did ourselves. In the end, we sold & bought a bigger home, though it took us YEARS to get to that point. But we got there, under our own steam, with no help from anyone. Now I have a much bigger house, 2 story, 2700 square feet and it’s nice, but the biggest takeaway?

    There’s a LOT more to clean than there was before. I still miss our tiny house just because of THAT. Keep doing what you’re doing, like me, you’ll find that staying positive & being ambitious will change circumstances, whether you live in a trailer or not. It took us years to be able to upgrade & a lot of sacrifice because like your wife, I don’t work, haven’t for years.

    You’re doing things your own way, that is reason enough to be proud. So you live in a trailer, so what? I’ve been in some really nice trailers that were fixer uppers that were not much to look at prior to repairs made. A house isn’t a home because of its size or how much it’s worth, it’s the people that are in it that make the difference.

  5. Dan, if everyone who is collectively thought of as trailer trash were more like you and your wife the term would be specious and devoid of meaning. Your attitude and perspective and that you stand upon your convictions in a system that demonizes our very existence is a testament to that. In our Christian traditions, your words echo the Apostle Paul’s, who said “I have learned that whatsoever state I am in to be content.”