What do you see when you look through the lens of class cultures?
When we walk into a meeting, we notice the race and gender of the people there.
Once in a while we guess wrong, but mostly there’s a shared understanding of members’ races and genders, and shared terms to describe these identities. Because of this we can have conversations about the group’s race and gender composition and dynamics.
None of this is true of class identities.
Most activists don’t even think about the class backgrounds of other members. We very often guess wrong – even about current class. Many people in the US don’t have conscious class identities, and if we do, we don’t share vocabulary to name them. It’s hard to talk about the class dynamics of a group without knowing who has had what class life experience.
In researching Missing Class, three of us went to meetings of 25 social justice organizations. Almost everyone filled out a survey about their parents’ and their own education level, occupation, housing and other class-related questions. I scored the survey answers and clumped 362 people into categories – working-class, professional-middle-class, upwardly and downwardly mobile.
KEEP LOOKING THROUGH A CLASS LENS:
TO UP YOUR GAME AND SOLVE COMMON GROUP PROBLEMS, CLICK HERE.
TO ENVISION BUILDING CROSS-CLASS ALLIANCES FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, CLICK HERE.