First in the Family: Social Mobility as a
First Generation College Student

As the first in my family to pursue a college degree, I have found challenges in navigating the privileges and isolation encompassed in the system of higher education. Both of my parents moved to the United States in the late 1980s – my mother from Hong Kong, China and my father from Monterrey, Mexico. Neither of them spoke English or ever anticipated attending college. Yet they knew “University” was something they wanted their children to have access to. As they learned to work through language barriers, they brought me into this life as a “third culture kid,” someone who grows... Read More

Finding My Place in Academia as a First-Gen

As the first in my family to attend college and to go on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees, I have definitely struggled to find my place in the world of academia, the class system of higher education, and to understand the worth of my experience. As a child of mixed Caucasian and Native American descent, I often battled the stigma of my poverty and my race. I grew up in a rural country town where my differences were often very clear. Living in Section 8 housing and having to have free lunch and food stamps: The shame was very... Read More

Surviving Rape and then
Surviving the Burden of Class Bias

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here Class Action’s Annie Hamilton writes about the benefit of not actually “seeing” rape survivors, so she and other people personing the telephone lines can be free of class and other bias as they support survivors.  On the rape crisis hotline, I cannot see who I am talking to on the other end. I hold implicit biases just like everyone else. As a society, we are conditioned to judge and group people by social markers that range from race, class and gender to sometimes more subtle markers such as a person’s facial expressions or body language. These... Read More

Class Inequality in Children’s Movies

A new study, Benign Inequality: Frames of Poverty and Social Class Inequality in Children’s Movies, from Duke University sociologist Jesse Streib reveals that almost universally G-rated movies legitimate poverty and social class inequality in a new way – by presenting them as benign. Limited Learning about Other Classes What are some of the first ideas about social class that children are exposed to? For many children, movies provide early ideas about class inequality. About one third of young children watch a movie every day and many watch the same movies repeatedly. Children tend to grow up in neighborhoods, schools and families that... Read More

Classism in the Nurturing World of Early Childhood Education

It might seem strange that classism could find its way into the nurturing world of early childhood education (ECE). Most people think of the ages at which a child is in childcare as the most innocent of times. However, many factors can bring out classism in early childhood education: underpaid and overextended teachers varying quality and prices of child care programs the struggle for families to find affordable childcare social prejudices placed on children at a very young age by parents and teachers. Early childhood education is like any education field, it is wrought with underpaid and overworked teachers. Many... Read More

At What Price Common Core? 

In the Kindergarten Classroom For decades, five-year-olds have been entering kindergarten with varying levels of academic proficiency. Some might be able to read. Others may know most of the alphabet, letter sounds and numbers. Children with these skills are usually ready to learn in the kindergarten setting on day one. However, there are plenty of children who come through the doors with no alphabet or number awareness. Many cannot write their first name or hold a pencil. Many do not know the social expectations of a group or how to sit in a chair or stand in a line. These... Read More

Mental Health Diagnoses
Through a Classist Lens

Many people believe that you’re born with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As a person who has been diagnosed with ADHD myself and treated with Ritalin for years, I started doubting whether ADHD is really a biological-neurological disorder. For those who don’t know the disease, people suffering from this disorder have difficulty with memory and concentration, including not losing things (they have attention limitations). They are known to be hyper-energetic, talking loudly and moving around constantly. Some See Bad Behavior Instead Fewer Advantages As a preschool kid I had a hard time concentrating, and as such was tested by psychiatrists and... Read More

Class, Money and Mental Health

When I was in high school, I knew something was wrong with me. There were many days where I felt like I had lost all purpose in living. I remember crying a lot in my high school years. My chest would feel tight, the air would get thick, and my mind would race with negative thoughts, and then, I would breakdown in despair – sobbing and hyperventilating until I stopped. I was left with a numb feeling. I had this preconceived idea that it was my fault for feeling sad, and if I wanted to be happy, I could just... Read More
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