poor white

Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

poor White

(Anthropology & Ethnology) often offensive
a. a poverty-stricken and underprivileged White person, esp in the southern US and South Africa
b. (as modifier): poor White trash.

poor′ white′

usage: This term is usually used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting. However, sometimes it is merely a neutral descriptive term.
Usually Disparaging and Offensive. (a term used to refer to a white person, esp. of the southern U.S., having low social status and little or no money, property, or education.)
[1810–20, Amer.]
References in classic literature ?
In the meantime, outside the palace walls, the poor White Duck swam up and down the pond; and near it laid three eggs, out of which there came one morning two little fluffy ducklings and a little ugly drake.
I used also to carry bread with me, enough of which was always in the house, and to which I was always welcome; for I was much better off in this regard than many of the poor white chil- dren in our neighborhood.
Then, creeping closer, I saw that he was not dead, but sleeping soundly, with Foulata's taper fingers clasped tightly in his poor white hand.
Though he was burned black as any native; though he spoke the vernacular by preference, and his mother-tongue in a clipped uncertain sing-song; though he consorted on terms of perfect equality with the small boys of the bazar; Kim was white - a poor white of the very poorest.
It made my old companion clench his fists to see those poor white women marching past to their horrid fates, and, though I shared his sentiments, I was as powerless to alter their destinies as he.
There she was, before me; built up, as it were, in a marble cell, impervious to any ray of light, or particle of sound; with her poor white hand peeping through a chink in the wall, beckoning to some good man for help, that an Immortal soul might be awakened.
Your poor white nose, I am afraid, is actually frost-bitten.
He wetted the poor white lips with it, and together we rubbed palm and wrist and heart.
The fields about it were overgrown with brambles, the fences gone, even the few negro quarters, and out-houses generally, fallen partly into ruin by neglect and pillage; for the negroes and poor whites of the vicinity found in the building and fences an abundant supply of fuel, of which they availed themselves without hesitation, openly and by daylight.
The fact that envisioning the horse's atomization leads Vardaman to a revelation about the difference between himself and the horse suggests the deeper significance of this epistemological act, because by dissecting the "illusion of a coordinated whole"--the "them" to which the country people are relegated by urban spectators--Vardaman defines his singularity: "an is different from my is" Addie, too, asserts a singular and self-defining poor white identity in the face of townspeople's view of rural poor whites as a homogeneous "them" when she declares, "I would be I" (174).
The research for the Department for Children warned of a gaping divide between the academic achievement of poor white pupils and their peers from wealthier homes.
The strident tones adopted by Birmingham education cabinet member Les Lawrence upon learning that the British National Party is to campaign at the May council elections on the failure of poor white working class boys to gain decent GCSE results have a hint of panic.