Defending my vibrant neighborhood

Recently four people were killed about ten houses away from where I grew up in Mattapan, a neighborhood of Boston. The neighborhood was maligned by the media coverage which plastered the headlines “Massacre in Mattapan” in large print across the 6:00 news every night. That image of Mattapan was permanently emblazoned across the minds of the nation. I was born and raised in Mattapan. It was a predominantly white, Jewish, working-class neighborhood, until it was red-lined. The bankers, the realtors and the politicians tore my vibrant neighborhood apart and made a fortune for themselves. When I was 15, my parents... Read More

Why don’t schools do more to stop bullying?

I have been reading (I am sure you have too) about the many cases of bullying and the awful consequences of being a target for bullies. Kids and young adults committing suicide, suffering chronic depression, choosing to be home-schooled, or quitting school altogether: there’s no doubt that being bullied negatively shifts how a person experiences their daily life. The theme I keep coming across in my reading is the fact that NO ONE within these schools is doing much to stop the bullying. Sure, they do not like it, but in so many cases it is reported that there was... Read More

Living in a rich neighborhood

I’m a kid of a single mom that works very hard to make a living and support her family’s needs. We live in a rich neighborhood. The other kids at my school are richer than us and they have a lot of things we don’t. They can get a lot of stuff that they want. Sometimes I get jealous. A boy in my class called me spoiled even though he is very rich and has a lot of stuff and has one of the biggest houses. I think he said that because he was jealous that I have a cell... Read More

The Bus Stops Here

I have two little boys; they are very bright, good boys. They have never had a babysitter and maybe I have been a little over protective. But their innocence is refreshing. They do not understand that when a bigot sees that our car is dated, and that our address is in the flats, and they are snubbed for a play date, that it is not about them. It’s about the crappy soul of that person. Their elementary school has had dialogues about racism and bigotry. As a white father, disabled, I feel it is more than just racism, although there... Read More

A Wealth of Whammies for Youth in Poverty

It is unjust enough that scores of young people in the United States are denied basic human rights; that even in a country which paints itself as a global model of human rights, kids go without food, safe and affordable housing, equitable schooling opportunities, and healthcare. Heck, in a country with the level of resources the U.S. has, the very existence of homelessness, hunger, and poverty in the face of growing corporate profits is inexcusable. In this way, the U.S. is the very definition of systemic classism: a country in which poverty rates, income inequality, and corporate profits often grow... Read More

The Politics of “Waiting for Superman”

I fidgeted throughout the film Waiting for Superman, through the bells and whistles, the graphs, the close-ups of the five cute kids and their caring single moms, grandmas and parents, having read enough reviews, and having listened to enough critiques to know that I wasn’t going to like the film.  And I didn’t,  but what disturbed me the most wasn’t Davis Guggenheim, the film maker,  playing fast and loose with data and attacking teachers and their unions every chance he had.  As is turned out, for me, the most painful moments of the film were the charter school admissions scenes... Read More

Classed Relationships on the Internet

“Social class and the Internet” usually implies issues of access to high-speed Internet and newer computers. But recent online discussions have me reflecting on how my Facebook friends are divided clearly along class lines, in how we interact online. Class differences in dealing – or not dealing – with conflict show up starkly in my online conversations. Well-educated middle- and owning-class people surround me today, but my upbringing was in a working class neighborhood where Mr. Shoemaker fixed televisions, Mr. Overstreet delivered Pepsi, and Mr. Church delivered Wonder Bread. (No, I didn’t make up the names OR the jobs). My... Read More

Obstructed Views from the Country Club

I was born and raised in New England, half Jewish, half WASP.  Went to the same prep school as my grandmother, and the same college as my great-grandfather.  I ended up in graduate school for sociology, with a specialization in class + race + gender inequalities. I heard the occasional call for studying the unmarked side of those hierarchies (rich / white / men).  I thought, “I could do that – those are my people.” And so I embarked on a dissertation project interviewing members of exclusive private country clubs. They too are acquainted with these inequalities. They are also... Read More