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May 14, 2005

Comments

Yvette

"This brings me back to a central question in my new life- How do you call yourself a working class girl as you country hop all over the world?"

You adopt a distinctly "upper" class stance of choosing to call yourself whatever you wish (e.g., George W. Bush as a "common man.")

Saurav

The interesting and insidious thing about the idea of "meritrocracy", Wenona, is that it's all about social mobility for talented individuals, not about your community of origin progressing.

I noticed the New York Times article with interest--and I took the online poll which I can safely say is fairly inaccurate given who I am and what my prospects are and how much family support i get (even if it's mostly in kind and not a cash handover to me). However, I was overjoyed, nontheless, that they're running a front-page series on class; it's been a topic that's been bubbling more and more on "the left" for a few year, but now it's entering the mainstream (thank God).

Debra Dickerson...interesting reference. Have we ever talked about The End Of Blackness? I read it last year and liked that it was personal, emotional and (my favorite) individualistic, but I thought it suffered from
the same (the xenophobia, the obvious but largely (not totally) unaddressed point that gender seemed to matter to her as much as class, etc.), and the negativity. Still, it was a good emotional problem statement, and a nice wake up call for some, I'd imagine.

what did you think of it ms. thang?

Wenona

The reality of being working class is inescapable, not that you are looking to escape it. The constructs of class are similar to those of race, it is a human construct- an idea, a way of seperating out the "group" from "other". One can no more "transend" class(in one or two generations) than one can transend race. Suppositely there is a meritatocracy in the US; that people can progress according to their acheivements, hardwork, intellect and wit. But we all know this isn't really true or people who climb up wouldn't be so villified and hunted, pulled down at every turn, reminded that their place on the social ladder could be snatched away at any moment. While those who have done little to deserve their titles and offices can serve poorly and receive praise at every turn, as long as they perserve the interest of the ruling class. (FDR was an example of the ruling class becoming a villan to his own class. The ruling class is still trying to undo this work a half century later)

The interesting thing about America is that the people have been co-oped in to perseving the interest of the ruling class, with the unrealistic promise that they or their children could one day join them. Being of the gritty working class does not nor ever has precluded education, travel or exploration. Motivation and desire is driven by a need to better ones situation, who else but members of the working class. American once define their own definition of success. What the ruling class learned was how to make the masses desire access to a way of life they could not attain, in order to control them. The desception and mass self-delusion is the thing that really sad and somewhat maddening.

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