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Anti-Prejudice & Hate: Classism

Internet Resources

Social Class & Poverty in the US

 

Today we’re breaking down the five different social class in the United States: the upper class, the upper middle class, the average middle class, the working class, and the lower class. We’ll also go over what poverty looks like in the United States.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8PEv5SV4sU

Books & Films: Check Out at McKee Library

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

In White Trash, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society and shows how poor whites have been deeply ingrained in the country's history for the past 400 years. They were central to the both the Civil War itself and the rise of the Republican Party, and still today feature in reality TV as entertainment. White trash have always been an integral part of the American identity, and here their history in both culture and politics in explored in depth. A fascinating work that's timely to today's public debate about rich and poor.

Caste

"As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not."   In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.   Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class

An urgent testament to the trials of life for women living without a financial safety net Indie icon Michelle Tea -- whose memoir The Chelsea Whistle details her own working-class roots in gritty Chelsea, Massachusetts -- shares these fierce, honest, tender essays written by women who can't go home to the suburbs when ends don't meet. When jobs are scarce and the money has dwindled, these writers have nowhere to go but below the poverty line. The writers offer their different stories not for sympathy or sadness, but an unvarnished portrait of how it was, is, and will be for generations of women growing up working class in America. These wide-ranging essays cover everything from selling blood for grocery money to the culture shock of "jumping" class. Contributors include Dorothy Allison, Bee Lavender, Eileen Myles, and Daisy Hernáez.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

The New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked about books of the year, Nickel and Dimed has already become a classic of undercover reportage. Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

The Great Divergence

For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are increasingly drastically unequal- the top 1% of Americans collect almost 20% of the nation's income-more than double their share in 1973. We have less equality of income than Venezuela, Kenya, or Yemen. What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms 'the Great Divergence' has until now been treated as little more than a talking point, a club to be wielded in ideological battles. But it may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimes-a sharp, fundamental shift in the character of American society, and not at all for the better. The income gap has been blamed on everything from computers to immigration, but its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration. In The Great Divergence, Timothy Noah delivers this urgently needed inquiry, ignoring political rhetoric and drawing on the best work of contemporary researchers to peer beyond conventional wisdom. Noah explains not only how the Great Divergence has come about, but why it threatens American democracy-and most important, how we can begin to reverse it. The Great Divergence is poised to be one of the most talked-about books of 2012, a jump-start to the national conversation about what kind of society we aspire to be in the 21st century- a land of equality, or a city on a hill-with a slum at the bottom.

The New Poverty Studies

Stock market euphoria and blind faith in the post cold war economy have driven the topic of poverty from popular and scholarly discussion in the United States. At the same time the gap between the rich and poor has never been wider. The New Poverty Studies critically examines the new war against the poor that has accompanied the rise of the New Economy in the past two decades, and details the myriad ways poor people have struggled against it. The essays collected here explore how global, national, and local structures of power produce poverty and affect the material well-being, social relations and politicization of the poor. In updating the 1960s encounter between ethnography and U.S. poverty, The New Poverty Studies highlights the ways poverty is constructed across multiple scales and multiple axes of difference. Questioning the common wisdom that poverty persists because of the pathology, social isolation and welfare state "dependency" of the poor, the contributors to The New Poverty Studies point instead to economic restructuring and neoliberal policy "reforms" which have caused increased social inequality and economic polarization in the U.S. Contributors include: Georges Fouron, Donna Goldstein, Judith Goode, Susan B. Hyatt, Catherine Kingfisher, Peter Kwong, Vin Lyon-Callo, Jeff Maskovsky, Sandi Morgen, Leith Mullings, Frances Fox Piven, Matthew Rubin, Nina Glick Schiller, Carol Stack, Jill Weigt, Eve Weinbaum, Brett Williams, and Patricia Zavella. "These contributions provide a dynamic understanding of poverty and immiseration" --North American Dialogue, Vol. 4, No. 1, Nov. 2001

Research & Reference Materials (Log in Required)

The Impacts of Social Class

This week we are building on last week’s outline of American stratification to explore how class differences affect people’s daily lives. We’ll explore variations in everything from values & beliefs to health outcomes, and look at how these things can perpetuate inequality across generations.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a21mndoORE

Income and Wealth Inequality

Inequality is a big, big subject. There's racial inequality, gender inequality, and lots and lots of other kinds of inequality. This is Econ, so we're going to talk about wealth inequality and income inequality. There's no question that economic inequality is real. But there is disagreement as to whether income inequality is a problem, and what can or should be done about it.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xMCWr0O3Hs