Saturday, May 17, 2008

Class Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack

If you've read Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack, you'll know what the title of this post refers to. If not, it's a list of privileges that white folks have in U.S. culture. Google it if you want--I'd prefer to protect McIntosh's copyright.

The lovely woman over at Education & Social Class has posted a parallel list from a social class perspective created by the wonderful folks over at Class Action.

I won't post the whole list here--you'll have to go to Jayne's site for that (and I'd strongly suggest you do so, and add your own suggestions there). If you have additions, please send them to privilege at classism dot org. Here are my additions and questions.

Suggested Additions to Class Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack

a. My ignorance of cultural references, intellectual concepts or academic knowledge are not attributed to my social class.

b. My favorite foods are often served in expensive restaurants where I live.

c. My cultural habits and likes are viewed as appropriate and healthy and are not attributed to my social class by my peers when they deem my habits and likes as unhealthy or inappropriate.

d. The way I talk at home (my grammar and pronunciation and diction) is considered business standard.

There should be an addition about technology, but I couldn't come up with a statement that was exclusive because of social class, other than being always up-to-date technologically. Some not-so-middle-class people I know are up-to-date. Does anyone have a suggestion about a technology indication of class?

On Jayne's blog, I also posted a question about #18 on the list. Can anyone answer this question? Here's what I said:

About #18, that one is very interesting. It doesn’t necessarily get at your social class, but at the social class of your friends relative to you. I *do* worry about whether my friends can afford the things I can afford–I live an owning class life and almost none of my friends can match that. But I grew up working class–does someone who grew up owning class or middle class not worry if they have friends with different means?

Let Jayne know what your suggestions are!