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About Class in the USA

May 8, 2017

About Class

Age, race, gender and ethnic origins are often cited as the basis for discrimination, but class is rarely mentioned. Yet class can be as much a factor in hiring, promotion and selection as the more readily evident race, sex, ethnicity or national origin.

Class is a social stratum sharing basic economic, political, educational or cultural characteristics and influence and having the same social position.
Classism is prejudices and/or acts of discrimination on the basis of social class. It includes individual attitudes, behaviors, systems of policies, and practices that are set up to benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class or vice versa. For example, middle-class and upper-class individuals in the U.S. referring to working class, white Americans as "poor white trash" can be regarded as a form of class prejudice. It’s the systematic assignment of characteristics of worth and ability based on social class.

Classism is based on often minimal indicators of class that can be as simple as a manner of walking, a choice of words, a piece of clothing, a look, or a joke. The way a person enters the cafeteria, orders a meal, eats, and relates with the staff are often indicates his or her class. Of course, this prejudice lies not in the acknowledgment of the difference but in the preference of one way over the other; discrimination occurs when we act on this preference. We are seeking comfort by associating with the person who comes from a background similar to our own. We tend to place more trust in persons from our own social class. Thus class becomes a factor in the tendency of people to hire and promote people that look, talk and walk like them (clonal effect).

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