US Social Forum: A Sour Taste of Classism

A month has gone by since I experienced my first-ever social justice conference, the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit, and I’ve been trying to erase my memory of that time ever since. The lack of logistical planning we experienced had a classist effect that seemed antithetical to the forum’s message, and I was left with such a bad taste in my mouth for the progressive left that I will carefully reconsider attending any conference in the future.

B&B Breakfast Classism

It was the usual chit-chat among strangers encountering each other over breakfast at a Seattle bed-and-breakfast: “where are you from?,” “how’s the weather there?” Three middle-aged couples and a 20-year-old son who immediately set off my classism alarms. The first red flag was his face, a sneer usually seen on sulky teens much younger than him. While the rest of us oohed and ahhhed at each food item presented proudly by the proprietor (berry scones with homemade jam! eggs with local tomatoes!), he appeared deliberately unimpressed, as if he’d seen it all before. I took an instant dislike to him,... Read More

Blind-sided by classism

There was an upset in Hollywood this March when the Academy anointed Sandra Bullock best actress for her role in "The Blind Side." The controversy hinged on the fact that she, an historic B-level comedienne, bested Meryl Streep, a far more Serious Actor who has a standing relationship with Oscar.

Faking your way into a working-class job

Laid-off professionals are “dumbing down” their resumes to avoid being rejected as overqualified when applying for jobs outside their former field, reported the Boston Globe. Job seekers are deleting graduate degrees and high-level jobs, and revising titles (for example, from Marketing Director to Marketing Manager). It was Globe reporter Katie Johnston Chase who chose the classist phrase “dumbing down,” not one of the jobseekers she interviewed. I understand that the pain of endless recession has even hit highly educated professionals who suddenly become financially insecure and have to scramble for work outside their familiar fields. But what makes them or... Read More