I got stereotyped again the other day.

A Trump fan mistook me for a kindred spirit. Sometimes, liberals pigeonhole me likewise.

It’s because I’m an old white guy.

The Ever Trumper was an old white guy, too. He didn’t know me from Adam.

He praised the president, evidently figuring I doted on the Donald, too. I told him otherwise, suggested that we agree to disagree without being disagreeable and walked away.

I am quick to disabuse Ever Trumpers of their notions about me, politely or pointedly, as the situation dictates.

I relish telling Ever Trumpers—thickening my deep western Kentucky drawl for effect—that I voted for Clinton and for Obama, twice.

“Half the fun is making them jump,” the famous left-wing lawyer Clarence Darrow supposedly said of right-wingers of his day.

Ever Trumpers who typecast me tend to be other old white guys. I guess it’s because I look like them and sound like them. I say “dawg,” “hawg,” “frum” and “ink pin.”

The occasional liberals who stereotype me tend to be several years my junior. Admittedly, old white guys do comprise a big chunk of Trump’s base. It’s a hoot to set the kids straight, too.

One youthful liberal called me “a cool old dude.” That was way cool.

The Ever Trumper from the other day just looked bewildered after he discovered I didn’t share his politics. I could almost read his mind: “How could somebody like him be a Democrat?”

Anyway, I’m proof that some old, white conservative men don’t just stereotype minorities, immigrants and women. They stereotype other old white guys.

I’m another book that gets judged only by its cover.

I suspect Ever Trumpers will keep thinking I’m one of them because of my longevity, skin hue and south-of-the-Mason-Dixie-line-accent. (I’m also fond of pit barbecue, white beans-and-cornbread and buttermilk pie; I consider fried eggs with hashbrowns, instead of grits, a sacrilege.)

I’ll keep on letting them know that this old white guy who has lived all his 68 years in the Jackson Purchase

  • Doesn’t think “socialism” is a dirty word.
  • Does think unions and activist New Deal and Great Society-style government are the best things that ever happened to working people.
  • Is deeply offended by racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and all other forms of religious bigotry.
  • Treasures cultural, racial, religious, and ethnic diversity.
  • Considers Donald J. Trump a national disgrace, a serial liar, a boor, a fraud, and a Yankee-born neo-Confederate who shamelessly panders to the vilest prejudices in the body politic.
  • Is convinced that Trump will go down in history, the subject I taught for two dozen years, as the worst and most despicable president ever.

I’d like to believe that Ever Trumpers who take me for one of them and discover that I’m not, will henceforth think twice about stereotyping the next old white guy stranger they meet.

More likely, they’ll regale other Ever Trumpers with the true tale of a close encounter of the worst kind with this crazy old coot who’s “a traitor to his kind.”

–30–

Featured image – stock photo by Dragan Grkic via Shutterstock.com.

Berry Craig
Berry Craig of Mayfield is a professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and an author of five books on the Civil War in Kentucky. The last one, published by the University Press of Kentucky, is Kentucky’s Rebel Press: Pro-Confederate Media in the Civil War. His critically-acclaimed Kentucky Confederates: Secession, Civil War, and the Jackson Purchase, also from the University Press, has been reprinted in paperback.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I think this 67 yr. old woman loves you!!! Of course, my original choice in college was history, but my wonderful World History teacher told me to gp for science, my second choice, if I wanted to get a job besides teaching.Loved the Civil War History.

    • Forgive the shameless self-promotion, but read my Civil War books! There are others besides the ones in the blurb under my mug.

  2. Well they don’t stereotype me. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, so to speak, I wear it on my head. A Union Kepi or if you prefer a Union Forage Hat.

    • The Union forever! Down with the traitors! Up with the Stars! Though I live in the Purchase–Confederate Kentucky–my Civil War heroes include Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and Lucian Anderson. The latter’s father founded Mayfield, my hometown, and Lush — pronounced “Loosh” — was a pillar in the Presbyterian church in which I grew up. Elected by First District Union men in 1863, Lush was one of only four Kentucky congressmen who voted for the 13th Amendment in 1865. He was a Kentucky delegate to the 1864 National Union Convention in Baltimore than nominated Lincoln and Johnson. Here I go, more shameless self-promotion: Dieter Ullrich of Morehead State and I teamed up to write the only Anderson biography.

  3. It’s harder for us ladies to blend in and “take the temperature” of the crowd, so to speak, because the fact that we’re female should (but unfortunately doesn’t) reveal our feelings about Trump and his spineless GOP. A “traitor to his kind” could prove useful if you can keep a poker face long enough for a little undercover work.

  4. I enjoyed your article & identify with your experience. We appear to be cut from the same bolt of cloth. I too often get mistaken for a Trump supporter based on my appearance. I’m a 56 year old white male, but like you I find the Trump agenda to be disgraceful. Anyhow, it’s good to know there are voting men like you out there in parts of Kentucky that aren’t Louisville. Keep up the good work!

  5. Mr.Craig, thanks so much for your article. I fully understand your raw enjoyment of Trump rejection. As you are lifetime resident of Mayfield, you will well know of a huge town to your East, Backersburg, where I mostly grew up. As a youngster, I was brought up to revere and love the Stars and Bars yet respect the Stars and Strips. Since being taught to think for myself by many wonderful teachers at mostly Kirksey, my thinking has evolved to understand that anyone that fights against the USA and lives here is a Traitor. The Trump and those closest to him are treasonous individuals. His ignorant followers are simply following their incorrect upbringing. Being from Calloway County, I was given to understand that Labor Unions and Socialism were creations of the Devil and to be shunned at all cost. I was 32 before finding my place in the IBEW in Paducah. I am now 74 and still an active Electrician. Like you, I find my young Apprentices and young Journeymen likewise are amazed to find an old white man that voted for Carter, Clinton, Obama x 2 and Clinton again, against everyone with a R behind their name. The great Mitch McConnell has banned me from his FB page, I am so proud of that. Seems I tole him too many times that I would vote for a dead yellow dog before I would ever cast a vote for him. Eventually I was no longer able to comment on that page. I still actually wonder why, I do pay for that page partially. Loved your article, will look up some of your books. Keep the light bright.

  6. My sincere thanks to you. I believe that I fall into the same category as you. Like you, I am a 68 year old white who is continually mistaken for a trumper. Nothing could be further from the truth. I to enjoy the shock of trumpers who seek out my company to espouse their trumpian opinions, only to be shocked by my responses.

  7. If you ever come to Montana, I’d be glad to show you around. We are a union state surrounded by right to work for less states, and there are a lot of progressive old dudes and gals everywhere. We are hoping to go more blue this election.

  8. Thank you for your humanity. Of all the things that we cannot afford to lose, our humanity is most present. And as you know, “ism” as a suffix implies belief system. So for those who revere capital-ism. (the belief in money) over Socal-ism” (a belief in the sociosphere) or Comnune-ism (the belief in community) what else can be said?Thank you again!!

  9. Yes Berry Craig! You just made my day 🙂 Also empathized with Sue Ramsey’s comment, since I am a white 69 year old female…. cannot believe/understand females voting for that jerk.

  10. How cool are you! Although I’m a lot younger than you (67) I hold many of the same beliefs as you. Would love to have a coffee or beer with you if you are ever in Clearwater, FL.

  11. Berry Craig –
    Thank you, sir. I’m another old white guy (70) who loves diversity, inclusion, and the richness of my friendships with Latinos, blacks, gays, lesbians, conservatives, Jews, Germans, Canadians, Chinese, liberals, socialists, West Point graduates and old Yankee fishermen. I feel sorry for the Ultra Right zealots that have trapped themselves in the narrow prisons of their beliefs. And, I’d like it very much if they would limit the impact of their policies to themselves, and let the rest of us have a livable planet and a bright future. And a simple request: tell the truth, demand that their leaders tell the truth, and reject the fashionable Fox News cult of ignorance. Lying, distortion and perjury are harmful to everyone, right or left.

  12. Let’s talk about the real subterfuge here.
    Is that a NY Yankees jersey you are sporting? I’d love to hear about that!

    • It is my newest Bronx Bombers tee shirt–“Judge” and “99” are on the the back. I also have Jeter, Rivera and Posada shirts, an authentic bench jacket from ’98 and several World Series shirts, hoodies and caps. My buddy, a former Yankee scout, signed Posada. I have been a Yankee fan for as long as I can remember. My first trip to the old stadium was a religious experience. It really was the Cathedral of Baseball. I was in my 40s. I wept. I really did. My late father and I listened to Yankee games on the radio (Though he was a minor league pitcher in the St. Louis Browns organization, he was a Yankee fan.) We never missed The Game of the Week on the family’s black-and-white Motorola TV. Diz and Louisville’s Peewee at the mike. Skowron, Richardson, Kubek (He played minor league ball at Owensboro.), Boyer, Berra, Mantle, Maris and Howard. Ford, Terry, Purkey, Daley, Coates, Grba, Blanchard. Lopez.
      Bless ’em all, past and present!

  13. I got the same treatment from the left leaning hippies in Berkeley during the ’60’s because I had short hair and was sunburned from working outside. I was older than most students and had just gotten out of the army and was working in construction. In the Black Literature class I enrolled in, the teacher and other students assumed I was a red-neck police informant or under-cover FBI. I didn’t bother defending myself. It was interesting to be considered the enemy. Your “Old White Dude” article brought the memories back. The pendulum swings both ways

  14. I live in Kansas now but am still Kentuckian at heart. Every week I protest at Kevin Yoder’s office. (Took 400,000 dollars from insurance companies. Began lawsuit to get rid of preexisting conditions.) I am a 71 year old grandma. I have been called the most vile names you can imagine. Lots of middle fingers and a few nazi salutes given. Mostly all old white men and women. Unbelievable!! Do I go home? Nope. Makes me stay longer. I miss my old Kentucky home of my youth that was a blue state.

  15. Comment sent via the Feedback Form:

    Glory be and halleluiah! Great statement, Barry. How refreshing to hear from someone who beats all the stereotypes. It appears that you took the ethics and methodologies of your profession seriously. Good for you – -and good for all the rest of us old white (tinged with pinko) dudes. Keep on truckin’

    Ugo Baldassari

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