Achieving the New Economy not only requires transforming our financial, political and commercial systems, but also transforming the systems of privilege and inequality that continue to divide communities. When we commit to envisioning a more just world, we must also explore how our own class backgrounds affect our work for change. Our New Economy must ensure long-term success that benefits entire communities, not just those of race and class privilege. Below are some qualities that class privileged individuals can cultivate to enable stronger cross-class alliances.
Top 10 Qualities of a Cross-Class Ally in the New Economy
- Sense of humor, warmth &/or charm to connect across differences
- Bilingual / multilingual ability to understand varied class dialects and to communicate with those who speak them
- Ability to quickly form bonds of trust; Loyalty to people, not just causes
- Dedication to the cause; willingness to be uncomfortable and make sacrifices for social change
- Willingness to use all one’s advantages and all forms of capital to further social justice; creativity in finding ways to deploy them without dominating
- Ability to see human strengths through unfamiliar trappings; knowing and valuing the specific strengths of working-class and poor people’s cultures
- Self-awareness of how things might look to someone of another class and/or culture; flexibility to blend in on inessential things
- Courage to be true to oneself on essential things and to admit one’s differences, including revealing privilege factually (without dramatizing emotions of guilt/shame or arrogance)
- Accountability to working-class and poor membership organizations, activists, and leaders; Listening openly to political input and direction, while also keeping own brain turned on and trusting own clearest thinking
- Humility; conviction that the most effective ideas can come from those of any class, including from working-class and chronically poor people
Interested in learning more about how you can incorporate anti-classism efforts into your work? Check out our resources for organizations page here. Or email us to set up a consult.