Listening For Change: How to explore aspects of class identity in therapy

Anyone who walks into my office is immediately searching for or noticing indicators of social identity. As a Korean therapist, I’m often tempted to think race is being centered however, it is not always clear which of my identities clients will focus on when they attend therapy. I have also had to make sense of my own experiences of viewing clients through their social locations of class, race, and gender, among other identities. And I see social class as an often overlooked identity that can be centered within therapy for clinicians and clients of all economic backgrounds. Working on how... Read More

Class Action Book Nook: The Privileged Poor

Anthony Jack’s book Privileged Poor offers unique personal insight into the challenges faced by low income, first-generation college students at the nation’s most elite colleges and universities. Although many colleges will pat themselves on the back for the mere presence of these students, what they fail the realize is how much further they need to go in meeting the social, psychological, emotional, and financial needs of these students in order for them to have parity with their wealthier peers. Dr. Jack combines personal memoir, rigorous scholarship, and rich insights to offer us a road map for improving the experiences of this talented... Read More

Crummy nonprofit jobs – and solutions

by Betsy Leondar-Wright Some of the worst pay I ever got was from progressive social justice organizations. No health benefits at one job; no raise for 4 years at another; once a salary so low I qualified for Food Stamps. In an irony of the nonprofit world, their external missions of equity and economic opportunity weren’t put into practice internally. But rarely did I blame my employers, as I knew that their funding was so scarce that the only alternative to low-paid staff was no staff. Many grants could be spent only on a specific project, but not to keep... Read More

Untold Stories: Bringing Class into the Classroom

By: Adj Marshal and Betsy Leondar-Wright Students often respond with confusion to questions about social class—not surprising given the common assumption that the US is a “classless society.”  The fog surrounding class stratification makes it difficult to teach about economic inequality. Why is class so challenging to teach about? Compared with race or gender, class is less obviously inscribed on the body and more poorly understood, with more gray areas and fewer shared terms for social categories, making identity development a slower and more fraught process. Class background profoundly affects an individual’s social standpoint (Collins 2000), but most students have... Read More

Breaking New Ground in the UK

Training of activist trainers on class and classism. The Exploring Class weekend in Gloucestershire in West England, hosted by the radical nonviolence magazine Peace News, was the first training of activist trainers on class and classism that there’s ever been in Britain, so far as we know. About a week before Exploring Class took place in June, a participant got in touch to check if there were other working-class participants coming. She didn’t want to be in a tiny minority of working-class people at the training of trainers, especially a four-day residential workshop focused on class and classism. Would this... Read More

Glide Church Workshop in San Francisco

In July, Senior Trainer Shane Lloyd and Interim Executive Director Rachel Rybaczuk co-led an Exploring Class workshop for members of Glide Church in San Francisco. The training was in support of Bridging The Divide (BTD), a project bringing people from across the political spectrum into dialogue on a monthly basis. Bridging The Divide is a powerful example of the cross-class solidarity-building central to Class Action’s mission. The workshop contained material from our Activist Class Cultures framework and provided insight into the ways class norms may influence BTD. Chris Collins, Bridging The Divide organizer, shared his thoughts about the class issues... Read More

Working Class Studies Association – Poverty Class Panel & Caucus

As a first-generation, low-income college student, I knew that the feelings of inadequacy I was having were my own version of imposter syndrome. I had never been to an academic conference, and here I was standing outside the Centre des Congrès de Quebec, about to present at one of the most prestigious conferences in the sociological field, the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. It was 2017, and my co-authored book chapter Bringing Class into the Classroom had been accepted as an official ASA session and was receiving interest from a number of working-class academics. In speaking to working-class raised academics... Read More

Classism in Our Schools

Students begin to experience the effects of classism in schools as early as kindergarten, or perhaps even nursery school. Elementary school playgrounds reveal the effects of classism on a child’s education. Families living in poverty and even working-class families cannot readily afford the latest toy or gadget that might be all the rage on the playground. When all the other kids are excitedly exploring the newest electronic recreational device, the kid who is without feels excluded and somehow “less than” the others. Sadly, that child cannot possibly grasp that this awful feeling of inferiority is caused by classism. My Story... Read More
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