Author Nancy Isenberg details the history of class identities.

When Did “Redneck” Become a Populist Identity?

When Did “Redneck” Become a Populist Identity?

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
July 20 2016 6:09 PM

Cutting Class

In White Trash, author Nancy Isenberg delves into the history of class identities and our efforts to appropriate or shed them.

Dorothea Lange’s famous 1936 photo, Migrant Mother.

Graphica Artis/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 543 of Slate’s The Gist:


On The Gist, crackers, rednecks, hillbillies—Nancy Isenberg explains the persistence of these terms and why they can’t be called ethnic identities. Her book is called White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.

Where’s the Spiel? Check back Thursday morning for another a.m. Spiel on the Republican National Convention.

 ­Today’s sponsor:

Indochino, creators of one-of-a-kind men’s suits that are customized just for you. Get any premium suit for just $399—plus free shipping—by going to and using the promo code GIST at checkout.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

Twitter: @slategist

Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.