Health and Cost-savings through Class Privilege and Contacts

Recently our family had an experience of cheaper and easier health care, because of the people that we know and our current financial status. My 19-year-old son was diagnosed with an eye condition, kerataconus, that was causing his eyesight to degrade. His eye doctor recommended that he get surgery – but the surgery wasn’t FDA-approved, thus wasn’t covered by my Blue Cross health insurance. This was the first way class privilege changed this story: that we were able to afford a multi-thousand dollar operation that wasn’t covered by insurance. It would take a chunk of our savings, but we could... Read More

Taken-for-granted Social Class Privileges

CLASS PRIVILEGE MEANS…  A list compiled by the students in my sociology course on Inequality: –I can pay to have dental work and therefore keep my teeth intact. –If I speak out, I am assumed to be worthy of a voice, and people will respond to me in a prompt and respectful way. –I can afford to purchase clothes for a job interview. –It is assumed that I am a good person who can be trusted to not steal, etc. –When I go to thrift shops and garage sales, it is because it is fun and creative, not because I... Read More

Privatizing Driver’s Ed: a Lesson in Disenfranchisement

When I went to high school in Wisconsin, Driver’s Ed was a required course, first in the classroom where we learned in-depth about rules and safety, and then behind-the-wheel in a room of simulators which offered the physical experience of turning a key, and locating the brake, gas pedal, blinkers, and gear shift. Finally, we drove in real cars, not just in the city, but on the highway, dealing with ice and other obstacles. We were well prepared to take a road test. And most of us did. Now my daughter’s of an age to drive in California. But California... Read More

Women “having it all”

It seems not a day goes by when I’m not reading another headline arguing whether women can have it all, or, more accurately, why they can’t. In this week’s New York Times magazine, Jennifer Szalai’s “Had It All” does a fine job deconstructing the very origin of “having it all” as both a myth and misrepresentation of a classic book in the 1970s. While Helen Gurley Brown’s editors coined the title for her 1982 book “Having It All,” the thesis was more self-help than a debate of the sexes, and definitely did not include having children in the equation. But... Read More

We need more than holiday charity to reduce income inequality

The holidays are a time of joy for many. They are when families celebrate being together with loved ones, workplaces honor the accomplishments of employees, and individuals reflect on their personal success. However, this scenario does not apply to everyone. Slowly, over the last fifteen or so years, there has been a dramatic annual increase in the number of individuals and families living in poverty. Usually, the remedy during this season is to give kindly and generously to those less fortunate. However, the number of those able to give is starting to run thin, and even if those with the... Read More

Cultivating the Joy of Gift Giving

When I was a little girl, we never had extravagant Christmases. As excited as we were about the gifts, my mom always reinforced that “Jesus is the reason for the season” by making a Betty Crocker birthday cake for Jesus every year, we didn’t bother to put the right number of candles on, obviously. My parents also didn’t go into debt to lavishly shower us with gifts. My dad, an accountant, was very good at budgeting, and every year we had a budget. And our gifts were modest and meaningful. However, one tradition I always liked was that one of... Read More

Gifts and the American Dream

As I’ve struggled with the incredible pressure of the season to buy in order to prove our love and our worth, I’ve been helped by considering how gift-giving is shaped by people’s relationship to the American Dream. For those who are just too poor to even engage with the Dream, they may not buy much at all, though chances are that they’ll have significant feelings of lost or failure.  Those who are trying hard to get on the first rung of the ladder, tantalized by the glittering prospect, may choose the cheap knock-offs, things that give the appearance of having... Read More

How a low-income-led group handles fees for events

No Class and Resources for Organizing and Social Change (ROSC), our parent group, have a policy of always charging on a sliding scale for our events. In most cases, we just tell people the cost is $0-20 or, in the case of our organizer training weekend, a cost of $10-80, since we want everyone to have a small financial commitment to attending. It sometimes confuses people the first time they see the numbers. “You mean, I can decide what I can afford to pay and pay that?” they might ask. We offer to help them raise that money if they need... Read More
1 2 3 38