Class Matters

As a Society we have collectively disapproved of racism and sexism. Some are beginning to take a stand against age-ism. Yet bias against class, against the working class or the poor, is pervasive in a society dominated by Capitalist values. Here are  samples submitted by readers of CLASS MATTERS at

I ate out with a friend — someone proud to call herself a Massachusetts liberal — and the waitress got her order wrong. My friend said, “Well, if she was smart, she wouldn’t be a waitress.”

—Jenny Levison

I heard an African-American university president say that she could not support home-based childcare for low-income families because “we have to get those little children out of those neighborhoods.”

—Kathy Modigliani

I was once part of organizing a radical book fair. It was held in a hall at a local university. At the end of the day several folks started leave, despite the fact that the hall was a complete mess. When challenged to help clean up, one of them replied “Isn’t that for the janitors to do?” Sigh.

—Matthew King

“Of course I am going to be patronizing to workers, I’m educated.”

—Stephen Dempsey

I have heard two different feminist governing boards, when deciding how to set fees for an event, say, “Everyone can afford five dollars. If they are not willing to spend five dollars, then they don’t care enough about the event.”

—Bette Tallen

A faculty friend of mine and I use to talk about classes I taught on issues of hunger and homelessness. The faculty person, who came from working class roots, said “Those homeless people like being homeless; they choose to be that way, and they like living under the bridge”. My mouth instantly dropped!

[Name withheld]

When I was a cashier at a food co-op, I hated it when members would say, “Have a great week-end,” assuming that I had 2-day weekends off!

—Lori Wyman

I recall many years ago seeking to attend a Green Party convention which had an admission charge in the 3-figures. Being unemployed at the time, I inquired if I could pay a lower fee or perhaps provide volunteer labor in the alternative. The Greens’  staffer doubted they could accommodate me but advised that I could appear before the Conventions Committee and “beg” to pay on an installment plan.

I did not attend, and I did not beg for the privilege. When I had previously been employed, I was a sometime donor to the Greens. When I returned to employment, I resolved never again to contribute to the Greens although I have voted for Green candidates upon occasion.



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