J.D. Vance returned to his hometown of Middletown on May 23 to offer his advice to the Middletown High School graduating class of 2017 during their commencement ceremony. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance on Yale dean’s ‘white trash’ comment

MORE: Yale dean placed on leave after ‘white trash’post on Yelp

Just last week at Vance’s former college Dean June Chu of the school’s Pierson College was placed on leave after posting Yelp reviews calling customers at local restaurants “white trash” and “low class folks,” according to media accounts.

Vance shook his head Tuesday night when recalling the incident during an exclusive interview with the Journal-News.

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Vance — the best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” — has said his years at Yale were marked by persistent reminders that his poor Appalachian roots made him an anomaly there.

STORY & VIDEO: Middletown author’s book helps explain President Donald Trump’s popularity

“When I saw that story (about Dean June Chu) I just thought it is unfortunately an attitude that exists a little bit too much in elite institutions. This idea that people aren’t worthwhile (or) they are not good because of where they came from, or maybe because of their accent or their approach to thinking about the world,” he said.

“That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book, because I think that attitude is very real. And it’s unfortunately something I really do think drives a divide between educational institutions’ so-called elites and a lot of folks who are just working and trying to get by. I was pretty disappointed when I heard those remarks,” said Vance.

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