Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Home | The Joy of Compassion | Religious Intolerance | Ableism | Ageism | Sexism | Homophobia and Gender Preference | Racism | Classism

Classism

Diversity

Challenge Yourself to Learn More About Class Differences!

Each human being learns unique survival techniques to assist them in navigating their worlds successfully.  People who grow up in the middle class may be challenged to survive if suddenly dropped into a culture of wealth and the same would be true of a person who grew up in wealth but suddenly had to navigate the social customs and learned skills of the poor.

Our new president believes and has proved that America's most powerful barrier to acheivement is not race or ethnicity...it is class.  The fact is, if you have a supportive family, with the means to provide a healthy, stable and loving upbringing combined with access to a good education for you, you can become president despite a 400 year history of racism and white power.  However, if you are a member of a subordinate class and you are poor, the barriers are much higher and harder to overcome.
For example:
 
- If you grow up poor, you may be exposed to various toxins in your poor neighborhood.  You may have little access to healthcare when you or a family member is sick.  You may have lead paint peeling from your walls or not be able to afford heat in the winter.  Your family may be too poor to provide you with breakfast before school and so you go hungry and unfocused.  Your parents might not be able to help you with your homework because they don't understand it or they are too busy working to tutor you.  Maybe you grew up in a family where no one has ever graduated high school and to set that goal for yourself - or even the goal of attending college - would make your family feel you are "acting too good for them."  Maybe you have joined a gang or participated in some criminal activity in order to get something you feel everyone else has but you.
 
Maybe you are angry and you don't want to be a part of the dominant culture (which has firmly rejected you by sending the message that you and your family are poor because you are lazy) anyway...
 
So how important is class and what do the norms in each class teach us?  How do they inform our choices and our intelligence?

A Little Quiz...

 

Could You Survive in Poverty?

1. I know how and where to locate soup kitchens in my town.

2. I know how to physically defend myself in a fight.

3. I know how to get a gun without a license.

4. I know how to get someone out of jail.

5. I know where to find grocery bins that throw away imperfect foods.

6. I know how to keep my clothes from being stolen at a Laundromat.

7. I know which church rummage sales have bag sales and when.

8. I know how to entertain my family and friends with my sense of humor.

9. I know where the free clinics are.

10. I know the bus and train schedules or can get by without a car.

Could You Survive in the Middle Class?

1. I know how to properly set a table.

2. I prepare my children for college.

3. I know how to order in a nice restaurant.

4. I know which brands my family prefers to wear.

5. I know how to get my kids in piano lessons, soccer, little league etc.

6. I have credit cards, a checking account and a savings account.

7. I understand an annuity, term life insurance and homeowners insurance.

8. I know how to help my children with their homework and don't hesitate to call the school if I need more assistance or have a problem.

9. I know how to decorate my house for the different holidays.

10. Items in my home or on my car are repaired immediately if they break.

Could You Survive in Wealth?

1. I have a preferred financial advisor, lawyer, designer, domestic-employment service and hairdresser.

2. I can read a menu in at least three different languages and have several favorite restaurants in different countries around the world.

3. I have at least two residences that are staffed and maintained.

4. I fly in my own plane or the Concorde.

5. During holidays, I have a preferred service who decorates my home.

6. I know how to ensure loyalty from my domestic staff.

7. I know which preferred private schools to enroll my children in so that their future acceptance to an Ivy League college is assured.

8. I serve on the boards of at least two charities.

9. I support or purchase the work of a particular artist.

10.  I know how to read a corporate financial statement and analyze my own financials.

This challenge was beautifully illustrated in the movie Slumdog Millionaire, when a poor young man becomes a contestant on a game show and is asked just the right questions that paralleled his experiences growing up in a poor ghetto in India.  Bacause those questions reflected the knowledge and skills he'd aquired as a "slumdog," he was able to answer each one and successfully win a million dollars!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0DKHKVWwkg 
 
Unfortunately, mosts tests used to assess intelligence do not take into consideration the cultural experience and necessary learned skills of varied classes, sexes and races of people.  Because of this, people in subordinate groups (like African Americans, Latin Americans and women) don't do as well as white males from the middle class on standardized tests. 
 
And, because those tests are THOUGHT to accurately assess intelligence, many people are wrongly assumed to be unintelligent based on a low score on the biased test!
 
Thoughts are powerful...

View this link to a video about poverty in America.

Enter supporting content here