Social/economic class

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Social/economic class

Post by reboot on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:45 am

It seems like we spend a lot of time talking about the other privileges out there, but social/economic class is one that is not touched on as much (maybe because we are mostly US/Canadian and theoretically classless societies?), so I wanted to have a thread devoted to discussing it.

As most of you know (or can learn from my posting history), I was working class until 13, poor 13-26, and middle class-ish 26-now. Inside, though, I am very conscious that my background is not like that of most of my US born friends and colleagues nor is my present (e.g. co-supporting parents with brother, no safety net) and sometimes I get a bit ragey inside because of the casual assumptions people make (e.g. lose your job and move back to parents - my parents will have no home if I lose my job). I sometimes feel lower SES people are invisible, mocked (e.g. People of Walmart) or demonized
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by kath on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:24 am

I don't think I have a good perspective on that (as I am certainly privileged on that front), but I agree with you that north american society isn't classless, and that the privilege is real and that people (me) make assumptions based on it. And while it makes sense that it's a thing we want* that axis of privilege to be invisible, that also totally makes it easier to be privileged in that it makes it more easy to forget one's privilege when you're privileged on that axis.

*And by want - I think I mean something kinda complicated here, but I am really tired and not firing on all cylinders, so very sorry if this is hamfisted / doesn't make sense. But what I mean by "we want it to be an invisible axis of privilege" is that, if you are privileged on this axis, its invisibility makes it easy to ignore and easy to think no one isn't privileged on that axis, or to other "the people" who aren't. But maybe (and again, I do not have a good basis of experience to speak on here so if I am talking ridiculously, please call me on it, I will retract) ... it can, in some ways, also be a limited benefit that it's invisible for people who aren't privileged on the SES axis because there's an ability to screen others' assumptions. I don't think that's actually a concrete, real benefit of it being invisible, because the invisibility could easily make* the problem worse, but like also it might be a coping mechanism, and any coping mechanism helps?

And of course it's also extremely intersectional with every other issue as well, which probably also makes it easy to ignore / dismiss / put off on other things. Even by "well-meaning" people.

*using non-absolute / hedgey language because I do not speak with authority here.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by The Wisp on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:57 am

reboot wrote: I sometimes feel lower SES people are invisible, mocked (e.g. People of Walmart) or demonized

This is so true, especially if those poor people are white. After all, you can be classist while dodging the racist card. See the popularity of mocking and having disdain for poor rural whites among middle-class people. The invisible part is very much true, as well.

I've been solidly upper-middle class my whole life, though I do have some second hand knowledge as my mom was raised working class by a single dad and knew a lot of outright poor people of multiple races (this was in the 60s and 70s in NYC) and I had a few working class friends when I was really young, though as I was young I wasn't particularly perceptive about that stuff. I'm in weird spot where I feel like I have more perspective on it than many of my upper-middle class peers, but still that I don't really have a deep understanding of it at all, if that makes sense.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by BiSian on Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:33 am

Oh reboot, I feel you about the inner ragey...
I grew up somewhere around lower middle class. Which means I had braces because my grandparents paid for them, but I lived in an RV and then converted school bus when I was 8-11. We always had a full fridge/freezer, but that was because my mom made it a part-time job to shop sales, barter from friends who hunted/had gardens/owned small grocery stores, and annoyed the SNAP office every time we fell below the cut off line. I watched my parents play "musical credit cards" with lower interest rates and almost never bought brand new clothes (thrift stores!) And yet, where I grew up, we were doing better than many of my friends--we always had food, always had a place to live (God knows how my parents made rent sometimes)
I only made it to college because I worked my ass off for 4 years becoming an amazing scholarship candidate, and yes it was intentional. Still had to work 2-3 jobs every year and bust my ass to get out before my scholarship ran out.
And in college I got introduced to the world where asking your parents to send you money was a thing that people did. Where people had safety nets and health insurance (pre-Obama care). My 3 roommates sophomore year were all getting rent + expenses money from their parents. I got $50 from my mom, once and under protest because I knew she couldn't afford it.
I'm now working in a field that tends to attract young, middle/upper middle class people. And I try to not roll my eyes when my friends talk about their parents sending them extra travel money (I live abroad).
In a few years, I'm pretty sure my sister and I will be supporting our parents too.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by Izmuth on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:16 am

TW: Perspective from a rather privileged point of view.
Spoiler:

I know I'm not from the US, but the idea of Western societies being classless is a joke. If you're born in the wrong class, you've got quite a high chance to end there too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socio-economic_mobility_in_the_United_States#Intergenerational_mobility

I myself am rather solidly upper middle class. Because I'm upper middle class, I can pay less for insurance that doesn't cover everything, because I know that if something unexpected happens I've got the buffers to cover it.

I can fight idiotic fines in court, because I know that even in case the judge doesn't see how idiotic they are I'm able to cough up the extra dough to cover the expenses. (Received three fines in my life, didn't have to pay a single one).

When you have money it's easy to keep it. When you don't have money it's hard to keep what you have (especially in conservative countries like the US).

It does get reaaaallly awkward when people see markers of my parent's relative wealth.

For example, I don't have a job, but I live in a house my parents bought so it's waaay too big for my station (lived there with my siblings, but they moved out).

Now my friends (who are rather poorer that I am (at least by proxy)) are hinting they would like to move in because their housing sucks, and I'd have to explain that my parents don't like renters because they're too much hassle and they don't need the money, without sounding like a douche or making my parents sound like Satan.

But even those "poor" friends are higher SES people with good educations.
You simply don't see lower SES people, except in exceptional circumstances. They don't hang with the same crowd, and they're most often in a different life phase even though they may share your age (I'm 25, and just started working, they're 25 and already have a career, kids and so on).

And lastly (the last nail in my coffin of douchiness), it's more easy to make friends with other rich people because you want to be able to complain about your problems to your friends. I want to complain that my parents own me body and soul, because if I don't appease them constantly I lose everything. It's rather hard to complain to friends about that who don't have anything period.

...I'm not sure whether there's a point to my rambling.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by reboot on Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:36 am

Fist bump, BiSain, to this day I do not know how my parents managed rent and keeping 4 people alive on what they made and without credit cards (it was 1980s-1990s so credit boom had not trickled down). Luckily my mom grew up poor, so she knows how to make food from scraps. We always had this giant pot of cabbage soup cooking all day and she would toss whatever scraps she picked up at work in to stretch it and add some variety. It occasionally was a little weird.

One way I lucked out was the majority of the people in HS were in the same boat to some degree and the rich kids were a bit afraid of the mine kids because we had a well earned reputation for defending each other with words and other means. I think it so have been harder being the only one becoming poor.

College was tough, though. The casual assumption that I could ask my parents for money really grated. I gave my parents money, not vice versa, because working in kitchens and the bookstore warehouse part time was more steady an income than they had. And the idea that the fate worse than death was moving back home if you did not get a job? Pfft! I was not allowed to live at home if I had no income (house rule: no loafers 18 and over). If I could not support myself I would have had no home. The casual assumption tat everyone has a mommy and daddy to support them still irks me.

@Wisp that is very true about being one of the two remaining openly mockable groups (the other being fat people). When I call people on it I always get the, "Well look at you. You pulled yourself up." but my brother and I are the only ones in the family who are middle class. And most of that was due to luck since we were entering the job market as a baby bust generation in a growing economy. My brother only got his job as a county sys admin because it was the internet boom and people who had computer skills and college degrees would not work for government salaries. Not that he is unqualified skill wise, but he never went to school after college.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by jcorozza on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:17 am

I...have a lot of thoughts on this.

Granted, I should preface this with the fact that I grew up in a middle/upper middle class family, and while I don't really make enough to live on myself, I'm lucky enough to be able to live with my parents while I apply for other jobs (I do recognize that I'm lucky to have this option, as much as I complain about having had to move back in).

I grew up in a town that bordered on both a very upper-middle class town, and a lower class, poor urban area, and I remember not much liking the upper-middle class town attitude very much, but also feeling like we "weren't supposed to talk about" the kids from the more poor area (or at least, the fact that they were poor, even though everyone knew).

So last year, I decided to do my school counseling internship in a middle school in that poor urban area (which is predominantly black/Latino) - partly because I would get a stipend for doing so, but also because I figured that it would be hard, and that any job after it would seem easy. One of the first things I noticed was that ALL of these kids had nicer phones than I do (granted, I choose not to have a smart phone), and cannot bear to be separated from them. And my god, some of the boys with their sneakers! But then I realized...this is the same stuff that all preteens do. They want to be cool, and have the right "stuff" - and, in this case, I think, they want to not, on the surface, look poor. But then, of course, you have the people who are anti-welfare/safety net/food stamps/etc. who will observe these people and say, "well, they have nice phones and shoes, so how poor are they really?" or "well, they obviously can't spend their money responsibly, so why should we give them more". Which, argh. There does seem to be this socially-ingrained idea that poor people need to look poor in order for us to remotely sympathize with them.

And while my current role in a very different (middle/upper middle class, very white) district isn't quite the same, it's been illuminating to see the different approaches, and the different problem set. At my internship, there were hoards of students who didn't show up for days, weeks, and even months at a time, and we had no idea why. Most of the contact numbers we had for parents were dead ends, because the parents couldn't always pay their cell phone bills. At other times, while the usual protocol with a kid who is suicidal/self-harming is to have them be picked up by a parent and not allowed back in school until they've visited a hospital/clinic and gotten clearance. But with these students, getting a parent to come in at all was difficult or impossible, and telling them that they couldn't come back to school until cleared was dangerous, because it often meant that they were staying home alone for a week or more. We often had to sidestep protocol (like, in one case, I made sure the girl's friend, who was one of my regular visitors, walked home with her and stayed with her until one of her parents was home, and gave them my cell number for the parent to call -she could only make outgoing calls- when he/she got home. Which is really not ideal, but with a lot of these kids, the goals were closer to "keep this kid alive" than the ideal goals, more aligned with my current school, of "help the kid be academically, socially successful, and help them move toward a career". It got to the point where having teachers come and talk about a kids' grades just seemed so...pointless. This kid's mom is in jail, she has no idea who her dad is, and she only gets to see her brother once a month because he was adopted by a different family, and you're wondering why she's getting Ds and cursed out a boy who was picking on her? Really? It's just...a set of problems that so many of us never even had to think about. (I'm actually really hoping to get a counseling job back in a district more like this, because while I like the other work, this just feels so much more...necessary?)

I'm really glad this started: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/04/17/i-wish-my-teacher-knew-poignant-notes-from-students/

I think it's really enlightening for a lot of people, and I also think that more people are willing to be empathetic towards the problems that children are dealing with due to poverty/class/etc. than the same problems with adults. And it gives some visibility both to their individual problems, and to the more general problems faced by students in poor communities.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:46 am

I believe a large part of the reason why class bias and privilege isn't really explored by people who care a lot about the other *isms is that the poor very often will not sign on with the rest of the program.

Economically, it has been said that the poor think and vote like the "temporarily embarrassed rich." They sign on to trickle-down politics, against estate taxes, etc., because many believe that they will one day be rich. Black people are under no illusion that they'll wake up white one morning, many poor people believe that they can be on the other side of the class divide.

Socially, many poor blacks and whites see Hispanic immigrants as competition over low wage jobs, which, in some cases, they are. Immigration generally does not depress wages, except for at the very bottom end of the scale. An unemployed poor black guy isn't going to pass a worksite full of Hispanic men and then sign up for the nearest DREAM Act rally.

The rest of the *isms have spent so much time marinating in academia and away from public policy and popular debate that they have become too dependent on jargon. If you need a six-figure education (or at least 4 hours a day on Tumblr for the bastardized version) to know what the hell anyone is talking about, there will not be many takers among the poor.

The poor will never get on the broader SJ train, and SJ will continue to return the favor.

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Re: Social/economic class

Post by Enail on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:26 pm

I am sort of in the opposite position from many of you in that I come from a solidly middle class family, but am in a position where it looks like I may be bordering on poverty for the rest of my life - speaking of intersectionality, disability and poverty are extremely closely linked, and I would say that claiming that isms are not of interest to poor people suggests an extremely narrow view of what kind of people are poor.

I do agree that middle class social justice is not always terribly focused on or aware of the priorities of those of lower SES, but given that the main social justice interests of my middle class family have generally been things like anti-poverty movements, higher taxation for increased government services, immigrant support and rights of migrant workers, I can't help feeling that people who focus on the tumblr-academic side should step off the internet and see what people care about in other places (ETA: often the same people, focusing on different topics in different contexts).

Back to the more personal side of things, I am fortunate to have family resources to fall back on if need be, as well as many benefits of having been middle class for much of my life - education, necessary items accumulated when I was better off, savings. And I think that's a place where privilege is very invisible, those are things that many people of middle class and above take for granted and project on people of lower SES, which is why you get idiotic articles from well-off people bragging about how they lived on X dollars for a month while ignoring that they used the olive oil and spices and pots and pans that they bought previously, and that they've got the time to cook everything from scratch because they're being paid to write this article and so forth...


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Re: Social/economic class

Post by reboundstudent on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:35 pm

I think another big issue with economic classes being invisible is that it's very difficult to correctly align what economic class you're even in. I still question whether my upbringing was higher-working-class, lower-middle-class or solid middle-class. When my boyfriend and I started dating, he identified his upbringing as "middle class," even though his experiences (parents paid for parent of college, they are able to take one annual "plane trip" a year, they were able to gift him a used car) were very different from me. Come to find out, his father made nearly double what my parents did combined. And our parents lived in smaller Midwestern towns with roughly the same cost of living.

In my introduction to anthropology class, we once did a unit on society and money, and there was a lot of discussion about how the Western tendency to shy away from discussing money ("It's rude") may have really hurt our ability to understand just how privileged/under-privileged we or other people might be.

@Rj3
The way lower-middle-class white people vote is actually far more complicated than just thinking they'll be rich someday. It's a tiny part of a much more complicated puzzle. I highly, highly, highly recommend "What's the Matter with Kansas," which examines how in the world one of the most radical left (and financially stable working class) has suddenly become a right-wing, economically destitute stronghold.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by The Wisp on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:40 pm

rj3 wrote:Economically, it has been said that the poor think and vote like the "temporarily embarrassed rich." They sign on to trickle-down politics, against estate taxes, etc., because many believe that they will one day be rich. Black people are under no illusion that they'll wake up white one morning, many poor people believe that they can be on the other side of the class divide.

This is actually largely a myth (I don't actually follow politics that closely anymore, so I don't have a link, unfortunately). First, whites who make <$20k a year actually vote 2:1 for Democrats, it's just all the the other whites tend to vote for Republicans. Everybody else in these poor areas votes heavily Republican which gives the illusion that poor whites are overwhelmingly conservative.

Plus there are many reasons why a poor person might vote Republican besides the belief that they'll be rich soon (I don't claim these are good reasosns): they prefer a strong national defense, they witness welfare abuse in their communities which turns them off of government programs, they think conservative economics are better for the country as a whole even if not them specifically, they fear racial minorities and see the left as being on the side of only poor people who are also minorities, they see family breakdown in their communities and feel (rightly or wrongly) that social conservatism would help that, they're from a historically Republican area and voting for them is just what you do (e.g. east Tennessee), they fear economic competition from immigrants, promised government programs from the left haven't appeared or didn't help as much as sold and they've grown cynical so they vote on social issues, etc.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by reboot on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:09 pm

reboundstudent wrote:

@Rj3
The way lower-middle-class white people vote is actually far more complicated than just thinking they'll be rich someday. It's a tiny part of a much more complicated puzzle. I highly, highly, highly recommend "What's the Matter with Kansas," which examines how in the world one of the most radical left (and financially stable working class) has suddenly become a right-wing, economically destitute stronghold.  

Cosigned. First off, many poor non-white voters vote differently than poor white voters. Single mothers also vote differently than poor couples. My family (all of whom except my brother) are poor/working class and their voting patterns are all over the place. Sometimes they vote with the Church (Catholic in most cases, Mormon in some), sometimes they go hard core conservative, sometimes they go libertarian, and sometimes they swing hard core left wing. It depends on the topic.

What consolidates them is the feeling they have been robbed of what they had, but they tend to misidentify who robbed them.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by caliseivy on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:21 pm

I don't know what class we belonged in when I was little, because while we had a nice house and my father apparently had a great paying job, we didn't live comfortably thanks to him. Low-middle-class maybe?
from teenager years on, we lived in poverty/lower-class/whatever they're calling it now. Money was constantly borrowed to make ends meet, social services treated everyone like crap as they had to jump through hoops to only get maybe $50 a month to feed a family of 3+ people (I know people who literally gave up on applying because of all the waiting and time that much be taken off to go through it only to receive not enough to survive on and dirty looks for needing it).
While I was in college thanks to financial aid and student loans I wouldn't have accepted if I had ever had anyone discuss paying for college, many of the students I was around were from better situations than I was, judging by the nice stuff they came to college with and the nice cars they took home every weekend to party or see family with and the things they talked about regularly. It did tend to make me bitter and resentful listening to them while I remembered that if my mother couldn't afford to get a rental car I wouldn't be making it home for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Spring Break.

Damn this has become a real sob story.
Anyway, I rage anytime powerful people discuss America and helping the struggling middle class. The middle class is struggling, yes, but you should be worried about helping the lower class too. They fucking exist and have always existed; it's not just upper and middle, and lower class damn sure isn't being taken care of by social services. They eliminate a large population of people because they don't make enough money to qualify as middle class, but then acknowledge them when they need a scapegoat for why there is no money.

I'm writing this as someone down at the bottom (admittedly doing better than many though).
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by reboot on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:48 pm

caliseivy wrote:I don't know what class we belonged in when I was little, because while we had a nice house and my father apparently had a great paying job, we didn't live comfortably thanks to him. Low-middle-class maybe?
from teenager years on, we lived in poverty/lower-class/whatever they're calling it now. Money was constantly borrowed to make ends meet, social services treated everyone like crap as they had to jump through hoops to only get maybe $50 a month to feed a family of 3+ people (I know people who literally gave up on applying because of all the waiting and time that much be taken off to go through it only to receive not enough to survive on and dirty looks for needing it).
While I was in college thanks to financial aid and student loans I wouldn't have accepted if I had ever had anyone discuss paying for college, many of the students I was around were from better situations than I was, judging by the nice stuff they came to college with and the nice cars they took home every weekend to party or see family with and the things they talked about regularly. It did tend to make me bitter and resentful listening to them while I remembered that if my mother couldn't afford to get a rental car I wouldn't be making it home for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Spring Break.

Damn this has become a real sob story.
Anyway, I rage anytime powerful people discuss America and helping the struggling middle class. The middle class is struggling, yes, but you should be worried about helping the lower class too. They fucking exist and have always existed; it's not just upper and middle, and lower class damn sure isn't being taken care of by social services. They eliminate a large population of people because they don't make enough money to qualify as middle class, but then acknowledge them when they need a scapegoat for why there is no money.


I'm writing this as someone down at the bottom (admittedly doing better than many though).

I used to Greyhound to and from college when I could get off work. A couple of times I even hopped a freight train if my friends from Denver were riding (pre 9/11 this was relatively easy) or hitched if there was 2-3 of us heading the same way. I used to envy people who could fly or drive, but have to admit the experience was a good one.

The bolded bit, all I have to say is YES! YES! YES!



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Re: Social/economic class

Post by caliseivy on Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:00 pm

reboot wrote: I used to Greyhound to and from college when I could get off work. A couple of times I even hopped a freight train if my friends from Denver were riding (pre 9/11 this was relatively easy) or hitched if there was 2-3 of us heading the same way. I used to envy people who could fly or drive, but have to admit the experience was a good one.

I did do Greyhound for one trip back to college after a ride bailed out on us at like 4 am the day we needed to be back, and that was the first and last time I had ever seen a Greyhound bus on campus. It didn't even have a sign designating it had a stop on campus. I don't know why there was no information about the bus anywhere on campus or on the site
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by Werel on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:23 pm

Bit of a rich bitch here. Grew up solidly upper-middle or maybe lower-upper (private school, international travel, etc.) I didn't have a very nuanced understanding of this fact as a young person, but I knew I was "rich"; my parents were the only ones in their lower-middle-class families who made it "big," so I understood from time with extended family that our life was not normal. I also had a vague notion that the reason my parents climbed way up and their siblings didn't wasn't anything to do with inherent worth, or capability/work ethic, or intelligence (my aunts and uncles had those things in spades too), but a lot of luck: both my parents were good-looking and charismatic, met the right people at the right times, and made some good coin flips. Not that they didn't work hard or make smart choices--they did--but I think I always kind of got that that wasn't enough. It always looked like luck, and unfair luck, but my attitude as a child was less "BURN THE SYSTEM" and more "well Yahtzee for us, then!" (I know, I know, but you can't expect too much circumspection from a kid).

As an adult, my feelings about my SES are split between shame/guilt (no one, period, ought to have so many resources at their disposal, and I am almost certainly morally compromised by said resources and my failure to work towards BURNING THE SYSTEM) and staggering gratitude (the life I lead is a direct, tangible result of my SES, essentially impossible without my parents' resources, and for the most part I really love said life and do not wish to relinquish it). For example, I know that without the level of privilege I have, I would not be getting a graduate education, and would not be as successful as I am at it-- e.g. going to conferences = $ which most of my peers can't spare, and also = better shots at admissions, grants, jobs, publications etc. because you meet the people who control those things.

I could go on for pages listing the ways in which every single facet of my life flows pretty directly from economic privilege, even (probably) some of the core aspects of my personality: e.g. I can afford to be friendly and outgoing because while growing up, the people around me were not a threat, and usually responded positively to a well-off young white female engaging them in conversation. I do have the "nothing I achieve means anything cause it was all handed to me" thought regularly, but I'm also not that attached to the concept of my own merit-- I'm talented enough to achieve shit given the number of advantages I have, probably not talented enough to achieve shit if I had fewer advantages, and I can live with that. I don't need to be exceptional in order to be happy about my life.

These days I'm "poor" in scare quotes because while life is pretty hand-to-mouth and we're occasionally surviving on ramen for a week, I've got a solid safety net. If my car broke and I needed a loan for a fix, or I needed a place to move home to for a while, or really anything at all, there are people, plural, I could ask. I eat stuff besides ramen a lot of the time, and live in an apartment with just my partner instead of six other grad students. I don't have to work another job besides my school assistantship, and I haven't had to take out student loans. I am flabbergasted by how lucky I am. I also often feel monstrous for consuming all these resources myself instead of moving somewhere much cheaper, getting a Real Job, and diverting all that money to a refugee services center. The fact that I don't do that probably says something troubling about me. But frankly, I expect this gravy train to end soon; I anticipate that my standard of living in the future will be much, much lower, and I sort of want to live comfortably while it's an option. Privilege: boy, is it hard to voluntarily relinquish!

jcorozza wrote:It's just...a set of problems that so many of us never even had to think about.

Yes. The problems I've never had to think about still surprise me regularly. E.g. until recently, I never really understood how impossible it is to focus on other things when you are not sure if you will have enough food for the week. There is no bootstrapping to be done, no great novel to be written, no new resumes polished or community college classes to be taken or whatever the fuck else the poor are supposed to do to Move On Up, when you are laboring under the threat of hunger: it consumes all of your mental resources. I knew that on an intellectual level before, but living it is an entirely different beast. Or when my partner, who's from a rural lower-middle class background, describes the number of girls in his middle school who got pregnant and couldn't afford to properly care for the kid? Jesus, that's not a problem I ever interacted with in any way. Ever. I am astonished by people who manage to hustle hard enough to make ends meet, much less improve their lot, in those circumstances. They seem superhuman. (Or maybe--probably--being rich just makes you too weak and lazy to imagine really hustling. Laughing)
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by JP McBride on Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:03 pm

I think I could make a decent case for my family being anywhere from middle-middle class to wealthy. We never seemed to have really serious money problems, but we never assumed that we couldn't have serious money problems. I've had classmates that didn't have phone numbers, and I've had classmates that have had chauffeurs.

...

When it comes to social justice and poor people, it's worth remembering that "Ellen Pao" gets nine times as many Google News hits as "Purvi Patel."

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Re: Social/economic class

Post by Izmuth on Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:42 pm

This video from collegehumor was too true, I've known people like this Razz

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Re: Social/economic class

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:42 pm

I tend to be. . .I call it "militantly working class" even though my current income and standard of living aren't. I get really pissed off when greasy spoons and flop house apartments get run out of town so that Silicon Valley brogrammers can have their $10 half-caf mocha soy chai skinny latte on their way to the yoga studio, all located in easy walking distance. Downtown Vegas right now has a half dozen former hotels that became weekly-monthly apartments that are now shuttered and fenced off to run out "those people". Our arts district is built in former affordable housing and our Skid Row equivalent is full of people living in tents with full time jobs. I tend to get a bit ragey at people who think that money should entitle them to define the culture, whether that's at the local level or the national, where we also have a stake. Sheldon Addleson is made of casino money.

This whole town exists because cocktail waitresses, valets and card dealers can make a living wage and that's what I love about it.

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Re: Social/economic class

Post by the littlest viking on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:22 am

Definitely identify with this so much. So many of the people I know, who I would have considered friends, have completely alienated themselves to me through the sort of language brought up by the OP. I get it, there are white men out there who basically run the whole world and make a lot of money. I'm not one of them, if there is some sort of secret cabal you're initiated into for being a white male my invitation must have gotten lost or something.

that being said, I definitely grew up in an extremely low income household, in an extremely low income county. The schools were bad, almost everyone was qualified for reduced lunches and there were bag lunches in summer for the kids who depended on them to get a meal every day. Everything came from the thrift store, nothing ever fit right, and we learned to just always consistantly feel ashamed of how we looked. It's something I've still not been able to get over to this day. I still conflate branded clothing with bullies. I consider shopping at walmart or target to be extravagence, I wear my shoes until they fall apart.

yet... because I did claw my way through college I resent the people who haven't.. and I don't associate with them. I try not to make fun of low ses people since I am one of them.. but at the same time I don't want to date one of them, I want to date someone who is in the ses bracket that I will hopefully be in. lower middle or middle middle class. But at the same time, so many of my "poor people" behaviors irk potential dates, and I get frustrated by being told to just buy a new one of something or just charge it..

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Re: Social/economic class

Post by reboot on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:47 am

the littlest viking wrote:Definitely identify with this so much. So many of the people I know, who I would have considered friends, have completely alienated themselves to me through the sort of language brought up by the OP. I get it, there are white men out there who basically run the whole world and make a lot of money. I'm not one of them, if there is some sort of secret cabal you're initiated into for being a white male my invitation must have gotten lost or something.

that being said, I definitely grew up in an extremely low income household, in an extremely low income county. The schools were bad, almost everyone was qualified for reduced lunches and there were bag lunches in summer for the kids who depended on them to get a meal every day. Everything came from the thrift store, nothing ever fit right, and we learned to just always consistantly feel ashamed of how we looked. It's something I've still not been able to get over to this day. I still conflate branded clothing with bullies. I consider shopping at walmart or target to be extravagence, I wear my shoes until they fall apart.

yet... because I did claw my way through college I resent the people who haven't.. and I don't associate with them. I try not to make fun of low ses people since I am one of them.. but at the same time I don't want to date one of them, I want to date someone who is in the ses bracket that I will hopefully be in. lower middle or middle middle class. But at the same time, so many of my "poor people" behaviors irk potential dates, and I get frustrated by being told to just buy a new one of something or just charge it..

MOD

The littlest viking, I am posting this as the mod and the OP of this thread, your comments on the behavior of poor people are skirting dangerously close to violating the forum guidelines and (as the OP) I find them personally offensive because they are bashing people I love deeply, who are still where they started due to luck and circumstances.

You are new and unfamiliar with how we roll here, so I will cut you some slack, but please attempt to learn our culture by reading our guidelines.

/MOD
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by Werel on Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:06 am

the littlest viking wrote:I want to date someone who is in the ses bracket that I will hopefully be in. lower middle or middle middle class.

I found this bit interesting, because so much of what we do is overtly acknowledged to be aspirational--"dress for the job you want" etc.--but dating rarely is, and when it is, it's denigrated ("GOLD DIGGER!") Do you think that your other preferences are also strongly aspirational, e.g. preference for partner's race (which frankly comes off.... pretty gross, but I'd like to hear more about your rationale over in the standards thread) are about trying to break into a specific lifestyle you're imagining that person to come with? Like, when you're advertised a very expensive cologne, you're not being sold on how the thing smells; you're being sold on the chance to be the kind of guy who wears it. Do you think you're looking for a middle class slim white woman because of who she is (which those characteristics don't affect significantly), or because of who you think dates women like that--the kind of guy you imagine you'd like to be?

More generally, I think it's unwise to assume that dating someone of a specific SES will bring you into that SES bracket unless you're at the point of actually marrying without a prenup. What's stopping you from getting together with a woman who's smart, fiscally responsible, curious, and hardworking, but not middle class, if you two are both aspiring to upward mobility? Why not make that journey together instead of requiring that a woman already be standing at your finish line? She's not necessarily going to pull you over there, y'know?
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by The Wisp on Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:29 am

Gentleman Johnny wrote:I tend to be. . .I call it "militantly working class" even though my current income and standard of living aren't. I get really pissed off when greasy spoons and flop house apartments get run out of town so that Silicon Valley brogrammers can have their $10 half-caf mocha soy chai skinny latte on their way to the yoga studio, all located in easy walking distance. Downtown Vegas right now has a half dozen former hotels that became weekly-monthly apartments that are now shuttered and fenced off to run out "those people". Our arts district is built in former affordable housing and our Skid Row equivalent is full of people living in tents with full time jobs. I tend to get a bit ragey at people who think that money should entitle them to define the culture, whether that's at the local level or the national, where we also have a stake. Sheldon Addleson is made of casino money.

I have such mixed feelings about gentrification. On the one hand I totally sympathize with people who feel their local culture is changed and who even have to move somewhere else. On the other hand, the gentrifiers have every right to live in any place they can afford to, and it's not like they are intentionally trying to destroy the local culture. I don't think they think they're money entitles them define the local culture, rather, a critical mass of them arrives or will arrive for whatever reason and then market forces take over for both rents and local businesses. I'm not sure how one stops gentrification without violating people's right to mobility within the country.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by reboot on Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:38 am

The Wisp wrote:
Gentleman Johnny wrote:I tend to be. . .I call it "militantly working class" even though my current income and standard of living aren't. I get really pissed off when greasy spoons and flop house apartments get run out of town so that Silicon Valley brogrammers can have their $10 half-caf mocha soy chai skinny latte on their way to the yoga studio, all located in easy walking distance. Downtown Vegas right now has a half dozen former hotels that became weekly-monthly apartments that are now shuttered and fenced off to run out "those people". Our arts district is built in former affordable housing and our Skid Row equivalent is full of people living in tents with full time jobs. I tend to get a bit ragey at people who think that money should entitle them to define the culture, whether that's at the local level or the national, where we also have a stake. Sheldon Addleson is made of casino money.

I have such mixed feelings about gentrification. On the one hand I totally sympathize with people who feel their local culture is changed and who even have to move somewhere else. On the other hand, the gentrifiers have every right to live in any place they can afford to, and it's not like they are intentionally trying to destroy the local culture. I don't think they think they're money entitles them define the local culture, rather, a critical mass of them arrives or will arrive for whatever reason and then market forces take over for both rents and local businesses. I'm not sure how one stops gentrification without violating people's right to mobility within the country.

I have even more mixed feelings. I hate seeing my family and others like them pushed out of their homes, but I also like the shit gentrification brings. I live in a transitioning neighborhood. One one hand, I hate seeing the halfway houses and low income rentals pushed out. On the other, I like the organic market that opened in the old car dealership and the art galleries and the fact that shootings are much rarer now than 10 years ago.
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Re: Social/economic class

Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:51 am

It is kinda funny how people will assume whatever income bracket you happen to be in is what you grew up with and/or what you would be accustomed to. I learned from my parents' best and worst spending choices, and learned even more from pridefully insisting on getting through college entirely on my own saved up job income and debt.

Good thing, too, ' cause being unemployed for a year turned out to be pretty expensive.

I echo Wisp and reboot's sentiments about gentrification; I didn't grow up that poor, but I had a lot of neighbors and patrons and friends who definitely did, so I feel kinda personally connected to the members of those communities and it's sad seeing them chased out of their own homes all the time. On the other hand, I'm now one of the brogrammers myself (won't spend more than $5 on a coffee, but still). I have to live somewhere, too, and I have to have work....
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