Deepen your class awareness and become an advocate for change
Class and Caste. We talk about the former but reserve the latter word for rare discussions of groups and people in other places, not in the U.S. But, class and caste are very much alive. Our cultural conditioning growing up and our socioeconomic status as children and as adults shape our mindsets and sense of wellbeing in subtle but powerful ways. It influences our sense of self and how we relate to others, our cultures and our worldview.
Explore the following tips influenced by Class Action to deepen your awareness of how class privilege manifests in your life and how you can leverage your privilege honorably:
- Build and foster friendships and relationships across class and race lines.
- Integrate the words “class” and “classism” in your daily conversations.
- Discuss your class situation and class of origin.
- Acknowledge the class implications of decisions that you make.
- Support the leadership of poor and working-class people.
- Don’t assume that others have the same level of resources as you do.
- Don’t assume that “everyone can afford.”
- Notice what clothing you wear and why.
- If you find yourself making assumptions about people based on their appearance, ask yourself why?
- If you view “nice” as always a positive trait and “angry” as always a negative trait, question these assumptions.
- Notice who you judge and why. Notice what judgments you fear about yourself.
- Break the taboo and ask people questions about their own money and class stories.
- Go to activities and events that are outside of your class comfort zone.
- Be aware of your class in a global context, in thinking about how much is enough?
- Encourage young people to dream -and think outside their class box.
- Maintain an attitude toward working on classism and other oppression issues which is both urgent and maintains a long-term perspective toward change.
- Keep track of the numbers that describe inequality
- If you have more than enough money, share it with organizations working for justice.
- Respectfully interrupt classist jokes, slurs, comments, or assumptions.
- Offer alternatives or accurate information when you hear classist stereotypes or myths, e.g. welfare bashing.
- Listen for and challenge “Not Our Kind of People” statements