Class Matters

A couple of weeks ago, TW sent me something about "class", a comment about people bringing their maids to a homeowners meeting to "color it up".  From there, I reserved Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists through the Inter-Library Loan Program.  I’ve been reading it today and I love this book.  I’m going to have to buy it.

The website, Class Matters is also good.  Really interesting stuff is lurking there.  "What’s the most classist thing you’ve ever heard someone say?" What would your teens say if you asked them that? Would they even know a classist comment?

Our kids have grown up thinking about all sorts of "isms" but classism is a topic we tend to avoid in this country.  It’s a difficult topic.  It’s a troubling concept. 

In the back of the book there are some sample discussion questions for creating your own Classism study group and also suggestions for a Classism Workshop.  These are fantastic questions for a homeschooling high school family.  Or for any family with teenagers.  I think it would be really interesting to talk about them before you read the book, or any of the class articles on the Class Matters website, and then talk about the topics again after doing some reading.

Here are three from the first section:
1) How would you define class?  Which is most important in your definition: income, wealth, power, position or status?
2) Thinking about your parents and/or your grandparents younger lives, what signs do you see that let you know about their class background(s)?  What words would they have used to describe their class?
3) Where do you and your family fit on the "class spectrum" and how comfortable do you feel sharing that with others?

Have you addressed "class" or "classism" with your kids? 


2 responses to “Class Matters

  1. I personally believe that socio-economic differences are a bigger deal in America today then ethnic/cultural differences. We deal with “classism” everyday in our home. Dh has a chronic illness that went undiagnosed and untreated until just a few years ago. This has kept us from moving up the socio-economic ladder as quickly as many others do. My 14 yr. old dd struggles with the knowledge that she’s poorer then most others in her youth group at church. The kids are rarely unkind (there’s always one, of course). They’re nice but they don’t get it. The idea that dd doesn’t wear makeup because we can’t afford it is just so out of their universe that it’s incomprehensible. That’s just one example among many. Dh is receiving treatment and is also going to school so we expect to move up into a higher class in the next few years. Meanwhile, it’s awfully rough on our dc.

  2. You may enjoy Paul Fussell’s book “Class”

    It is very funny and has forever changed the way that I look at class. It’s a bit dated, written in the 80s so it will make reference to fads and trends from that era but well worth the read and it’s a cheap paperback too!

    Albert J Nock also wrote about class at the beginning of the 20th century but he’s a more difficult author to find.

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