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“Broken Windows” Liberalism

Bill de Blasio has reduced the use of stop-and-frisk, but he still supports the kind of policing that led to Eric Garner’s death. New York City cops are fuming. On Tuesday, union officials gathered to publicly denounce “police haters” and defend the conduct of police officers involved in the apprehension of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who was killed while being placed under arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Last week, the state medical examiner’s office said Garner died as a result of being put in a chokehold — a tactic banned by the New York Police Department. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Aug 9, 2014 - 171 comments

social inequality breeds game

Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 31, 2014 - 30 comments

The death of Eric Garner

Last week, a 43 year-old man named Eric Garner died during an arrest on Staten Island, New York, when he was put in what looked like a choke hold. The NYPD claims that Mr. Garner was selling illegally cigarettes outside a store. The entire encounter, which was videotaped and posted to YouTube, (graphic) has so far resulted in the removal of the badge and gun from the arresting officers, as well as the suspension of two EMTs and two paramedics who were seen on another video taking Garner's pulse but apparently doing little else for about two minutes. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 22, 2014 - 167 comments

Fear is the highest fence.

After years of debates, notoriously contentious public meetings, and the looming specter of a civil rights lawsuit, a federal mediation agreement between the Town of Hamden and the City of New Haven, Connecticut resulted in the removal of a 10-foot chain-link fence that separated New Haven's West Rock public housing projects from Hamden's Woodin Street neighborhood for nearly half a century. NYT's Benjamin Mueller reports: In Connecticut, Breaking a Barrier Between a Suburb and Public Housing. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 14, 2014 - 9 comments

loaded questions

The loaded meaning behind 'What do you do?': [Deb] Fallows says the questions are meant to tease out socioeconomic status, political viewpoints, and cultural background. “You know that somebody’s kind of digging for information to put you into their world – how do you fit into my world?” [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 7, 2014 - 357 comments

What The Poor Deserve

"When our donors met the actual people they were helping they often didn’t like them. During our Secret Santa drive, volunteers sometimes refused to drop gifts at houses with TVs inside. They got angry when clients had cell phones or in some other way didn’t match their expectations. Other times, the donations we got were too disgusting to pass along—soup cans that bulged with botulism and diapers so dry rotted they crumbled in our hands. One Thanksgiving, a board member called from the parking lot, requesting help carrying a frozen turkey from her trunk to our office. “Can you find a deserving family?” she asked. I lugged the bird up three flights of stairs. Somewhere near the top, I noticed the expiration date. It was seventeen years old." Anya Groner talks about working for Hudson Outreach in up-state New York and the sobering, chilling effect it had on her idealism.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2014 - 95 comments

#peakedinhighschool

In March, Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson, the first Black woman to be elected to that position, posted a photo to her Instagram account where she depicted what she described to be a “Lawrenceville boi”: white, Republican, and cockily holding a hockey stick. She used the hashtags “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool." In response to the backlash from the photo, Maya, who is headed to Wesleyan in the fall, chose to step down. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 7, 2014 - 314 comments

Why the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today

"Although the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate by 73-27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes, one of the six Republicans who voted against it was Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who weeks later became the GOP’s presidential standard-bearer and started the long process by which the Party of Lincoln became the party of white backlash, especially in the South. Today, Republicans hold complete legislative control in all 11 states of the Old Confederacy for only the second time since Reconstruction." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 2, 2014 - 19 comments

"It's a privilege to want less."

The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in farmer's markets, healthful cooking, and dismantling the industrial food system, spurred in large part by Michael Pollan's 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma. But the "food movement" of today tends to be dominated by affluent urbanites, and messages from Brooklyn and San Francisco often don't reach--or resonate with--the majority of places in between.
Guernica contributor Meara Sharma interviews food journalists Jane Black and Brent Cunningham about the juxtaposition of American working-class culture, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and the idealized pastoral leanings of the modern-day food movement: Servings of Small Change. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 2, 2014 - 104 comments

Precarity

Generational Poverty Is the Exception, Not the Rule [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Jun 29, 2014 - 65 comments

The reporter called the poverty level wages "Sanbornomics."

Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.

posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jun 23, 2014 - 53 comments

I Am Donelle Woolford

How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
posted by klangklangston on Jun 17, 2014 - 50 comments

Give it 30 years and the overstuffed chair becomes hip and high brow...

Spread from a 1949 issue of LIFE magazine charts what is low-brow, high-brow and inbetween
posted by The Whelk on Jun 14, 2014 - 185 comments

"descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone"

In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has become a hero of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 3, 2014 - 283 comments

“So… do you… do you suppose we should… talk about money?”

Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 51 comments

The Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre

Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."
posted by audi alteram partem on Apr 18, 2014 - 25 comments

For Richer Or Poorer

Ask Polly: Will Our Class Differences Tear Us Apart?
I've been with my current boyfriend for three years. We're really great together—similar interests, senses of humor, great sex. I love him so much—the only issue is that of our respective backgrounds. He grew up in a tony suburb, went to prep school, then to a very prestigious college, and finally the very prestigious graduate school where we met. I went to public school in a bad neighborhood, put myself through a not-so-prestigious college, made a name for myself in my field, then got into that same prestigious grad school. Our families could not be more different. I didn't think it would matter so much, but something happened recently that I can't shake.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 12, 2014 - 86 comments

The problems of economic segregation and US cities.

In the first two parts of a five-part series, The Atlantic looks at US cities with the highest levels of income segregation and US cities where the poor are segregated from everyone else. (dlTheAtlantic)
posted by Kitteh on Mar 24, 2014 - 44 comments

The Pity-Charity Complex

"I say “you” deliberately here, because much of the writing about low-wage workers tends to obscure just that fact — that these stories could well be about you. Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation’s most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. " --Sarah Jaffe on the media's strange ways of talking about low-wage workers.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 20, 2014 - 40 comments

Gentlemen

Gentlemen, Formerly. "A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Feb 16, 2014 - 61 comments

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

The black British actor in America

"To be honest," he says, "I had got to the point in London when I started to feel a little frustrated. I know moaning is part of our national character, but I hate it. And I found myself moaning a lot about theatre. Why did they decide to put that on? How come he got to direct that? And why is it that they only want plays about black people who are part of the underclass or involved in street crime? Is it because those are the only types of plays about minorities that ageing white middle-aged reviewers feel they can understand? I just found myself moaning and moaning and moaning…" (slGrauniad)
posted by Kitteh on Feb 4, 2014 - 12 comments

Rest is a luxury for the rich

Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts. "This is what our lives are like, and here are our defense mechanisms, and here is why we think differently." (SLKinja) [more inside]
posted by Kybard on Nov 13, 2013 - 277 comments

Well reem, innit?

The Only Way Is Essex was the first of a new wave of scripted reality shows in the UK, inspired by their popular US equivalents. Yet what started as a riff on the old joke of the bimbonic 'Essex Girl' has somehow had an impact on linguistics (including a dictionary entry) and what we think of as beautiful. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Oct 24, 2013 - 32 comments

Foundation

"The maths that saw the US shutdown coming". Peter Turchin (Previously) has a mathematical model that shows why the US is in crisis, and what will happen next. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Oct 22, 2013 - 40 comments

A Genre of Surpassing Banality

Thomas Frank discusses the literature of the creative class.
posted by sendai sleep master on Oct 13, 2013 - 59 comments

Who Sits On All The Money?

The Guardian presents an animated video explaining the distribution of wealth in the UK (and how it's getting worse).
posted by The Whelk on Oct 10, 2013 - 14 comments

Ripe For The Picking

Ask A Native New Yorker: How Guilty Should I Feel About Being A Horrible Gentrifier? Passionate response from a Bushwick native.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 27, 2013 - 205 comments

I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with "flemerging."

No matter what time period you are referring to, no matter what country or region of the world you are referencing, there is a single claim that you can make that will always be true and will never be challenged, not even by Malcolm Gladwell himself: the middle class is always in the process of emerging.
posted by davidjmcgee on Sep 12, 2013 - 15 comments

Let’s try and see if that HDTV will fit in my trunk.

The truth is the human race has never been better off. We live in an age of plenty. The problem is one of distribution: Instead of being used for the benefit of all, that plenty is exploited for the benefit of a select, privileged few, who profit from polluting and in some cases sabotaging the commons. If a rich person has something you need, you should take it. And if a big corporation has something you want, you should steal it. Instead of paying retail prices when you go to a chain store, just don’t pay. After all, you earned it. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Sep 2, 2013 - 106 comments

The Beclogged Budgie

Budgie - starring Adam Faith. The complete series one and two is available on YouTube [you may well need your cockney rhyming slang dictionary]. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 7, 2013 - 11 comments

"the correlation between country music and political backwardness"?

One Nation Under Elvis
My own conversion to country music came all of a sudden in 1990, around another campfire, also in Nevada. The great Western Shoshone anti-nuclear and land-rights activist Bill Rosse, a decorated World War II vet and former farm manager, unpacked his guitar and sang Hank Williams and traditional songs for hours. I was enchanted as much by the irreverent rancor of some of the songs as by the pure blue yearning of others. I’d had no idea such coolness, wit, and poetry was lurking in this stuff I was taught to scorn before I’d met it.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 28, 2013 - 108 comments

Are you being served?

A survey by a high-end estate agent has revealed that there are more domestic servants in the exclusive London district of Mayfair now than 200 years ago, and indeed, in the élite London neighbourhoods which have been bought up by absentee oligarchs, often only the lights in the servants' quarters are on at night. For those who fancy a life of serving the super-rich, there are courses to prepare them for catering to their masters' exacting whims. But it's not all rosy at the top; the prices of luxury goods (including foie gras, Patek Philippe watches, paintings by artists such as Cézanne and Rothko) in the basket used to calculate the Affluent Luxury Living Index have been rising at a rate exceeding inflation.
posted by acb on Jul 14, 2013 - 53 comments

How New Yorkers Make It There

New York magazine, via Reddit, compares how much people in New York City get paid to do thier jobs.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 16, 2013 - 86 comments

Mapping transit inequality

Dan Grover and Mike Belfrage have mapped transit inequality in the Bay Area after reading a New Yorker piece on the New York City subway (previously). The ways in which a widening income gap are changing the demography of San Francisco have been widely reported of late (previously, previously). The project's code is available if you'd like to try mapping your own city.
posted by liketitanic on May 8, 2013 - 25 comments

Still far from that digital democracy any utopian could hope for.

7 (well, technically 6) myths of the digital divide.
posted by iamkimiam on Apr 26, 2013 - 8 comments

International Art English

"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 26, 2013 - 45 comments

You Win Fights By Being More Willing to Permanently F-Up The Other Guy*

"I would advise you when You do fight Not to act like Tygers and Bears as these Virginians do - Biting one anothers Lips and Noses off, and gowging one another - that is, thrusting out one anothers Eyes, and kicking one another on the Cods, to the Great damage of many a Poor Woman." Thus, Charles Woodmason, an itinerant Anglican minister born of English gentry stock, described the brutal form of combat he found in the Virginia backcountry shortly before the American Revolution. Although historians are more likely to study people thinking, governing, worshiping, or working, how men fight -- who participates, who observes, which rules are followed, what is at stake, what tactics are allowed - reveals much about past cultures and societies.
"Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch" The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Apr 1, 2013 - 55 comments

Hanging Ourselves By Our Bootstraps

A well-executed and terrifying visual representation of exactly how stratified wealth is in America. It's far worse than you could have imagined. [SLYT]
posted by erstwhile ungulate on Mar 3, 2013 - 147 comments

A Curious and rather difficult experiment

On the November 11, 1954 edition of the US educational program Omnibus, Leonard Bernstein presented what amounted to a 30-minute master class on one of the most familiar of all classical works, the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, to include reinserting some unused sketches. The results are, to put it mildly, interesting.
posted by pjern on Mar 1, 2013 - 18 comments

I don't think Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright will be at all surprised.

It's good to be the Kinga Micklethwait. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a new study of unusual surnames offers some depressing insights into the lingering impact of class on social mobility.
posted by Diablevert on Feb 14, 2013 - 14 comments

It wasn't an aesthetic statement, really.

"American Pastoral" inadvertently reveals Brooks and Halard to be deeply insecure, crass noveau riche, lowballing their renovations by hiring desperate, dirt-cheap Chinese laborers, and whining about maids who can't get to work on time, just because Hurricane Sandy knocked out train service. Where's the Vogue-style profiles of those poor souls? [more inside]
posted by Alterity on Feb 1, 2013 - 75 comments

Saving the Swiss Finishing School

Can the 'Swiss finishing school' be saved? The finishing-school tradition dates from the 1800s, when wealthy debutantes began coming to Switzerland, famed for its clean air, majestic mountains and multilingual population. Here, they would complete their education by acquiring the domestic and life skills needed to run a household – and to attract a suitable husband. The goal was to produce an ideal mate, someone refined and accomplished with impeccable manners. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Dec 9, 2012 - 28 comments

Gategate?

Andrew Mitchell, Conservative Chief Whip, faces calls to resign after he reportedly said to police officers who refused to let him through the main gate of Downing Street: "Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs." [more inside]
posted by Jehan on Sep 24, 2012 - 103 comments

"Jumping the rope is not good exercise, for it jars the body too much"

Obsolessons: selected passages from the self-help and guide books of the past. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 14, 2012 - 17 comments

Design is first and foremost a philosophy, a system of values

This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology, but it was finally cemented into the theoretical mainstream in 1972 when Pierre Bourdieu published his Outline of a Theory of Practice. Bourdieu makes the case that we come to internalize the expectations of our particular social group by analogy with categories, orders and relations of things. Spatial arrangements of objects in the home, for example, or the use of different farming tools at different times of year, come to stand for intangible relationships between genders, social strata and the like, thereby anchoring abstract ideas about social organization to the physical world. ~ Designing Culture by Colin McSwiggen
posted by infini on Sep 7, 2012 - 22 comments

Class of 2016: Mindset

Beloit College examines the cultural backdrop and assumptions of those new college freshpeople headed for, or currently wandering their new college home: Class of 2016 Mindset List
posted by wallstreet1929 on Aug 21, 2012 - 118 comments

A Conversation With Neesha Meminger and Ibi Zoboi

Two writers discusses race, class, feminism and its intersections in this wide-ranging discussion about what feminism can mean for women of colour. Refreshingly substantive.
posted by smoke on Jul 22, 2012 - 20 comments

First Class!

First Class was a titanic "electronic" tea time BBC general knowledge quiz show in the late 1980s, presented by heartthrob Debbie Greenwood (now a regular on QVC UK) with the aid of a BBC Micro called Eugene. Two teams of teenagers represented their schools as they battled for supremacy playing a random selection of arcade games like skateboarder 720 degrees and Hypersports, the ultimate prize an Acorn Archimedes. Now, the nail-biting encounter between Armthorpe School in Sheffield and Montagu School of Kettering is on YouTube [parts 1, 2 & 3]
posted by feelinglistless on Jul 11, 2012 - 16 comments

You eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements.

In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2012 - 16 comments

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