(ClassSpeak: One of a series of events held by a culture group called The Junction). Here's part of a short article by Valerie, the faciliator: "At this Speak, we were naming class reality in our lives. There are many ways to do this, we were doinga particular way which is pretty middle-class in format. This related to the meta-issue of how class is—the people who name something always bring their worldview bias to the naming, and it is the people with power who get to do the naming. We wanted to be aware of this as we were speaking." [February 2003.]

ClassSpeak (Feb 26, 2003) One of a series of events held by a culture group called The Junction.

Here's a short article by Valerie, the discussion faciliator:

workingpoor · owningclass · middleclass · bluecollar · whitecollar · pinkcollar
privelegedpoor · uppermiddleclass · rich · poor · wealthy · well-off

Questions we asked to encourage people to think about this issue:

  • What are Twin Oakers' experiences of being from different class backgrounds?
  • What is good / what is difficult about being from a certain class background?
  • What assumptions do you have about people from different class backgrounds?
  • How does our class background affect who we are and how we live together?
  • What “determines” what class someone is?
  • Have you ever experienced class shame? Class privilege?
  • Are you the same class now that you were raised? Can you switch class?
  • How does class interact with gender, race, the media, economic and behavioral policies of Twin Oaks?

Introductory "food-for-thought" that was raised at the beginning of the Speak:

Class is complicated in the US. We are supposedly a “classless society” unlike Britain where class is/was very pronounced, literally by accent. That is not so true here.

What determines class in the US? It's a complicated matrix of factors, some of which include:

  • money (how much your parents made, how much you make, how you choose to spend it)
  • job (your parents, yours, what kind, not necessarily correlated with money eg. some working class jobs can pay well, some low-paying jobs have middle-class prestige)
  • education (how much your parents had, how much you had, what were the expectations in your family about how much education was needed
  • behavior norms (what were/are behavior norms in your family, your socializing situations, your school, your work—these are often quite different for different classes)
  • what expectations and assumptions we hold about life—what we assume and expect life to hand us, and also our assumptions about what is an appropriate way to respond to what life hands us

At this Speak, we were naming class reality in our lives. There are many ways to do this, we were doing a particular way which is pretty middle-class in format. This related to the meta-issue of how class is—the people who name something always bring their worldview bias to the naming, and it is the people with power who get to do the naming. We wanted to be aware of this as we were speaking.

 

Class Speak

Where class and community interconnect: Class can affect how we make decisions as a community and as individuals within a community, yet this is often unexamined. How does our class reality as a group and members of the community affect how we think and act as we share resources with 100 people?

Books on class:

Where we stand: class matters
by bell hooks

Queerly Classed: Gay Men and Lesbians write about Class
edited by Susan Raffo