The C Word

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15 thoughts on “The C Word

  1. Then is class only divided by materials owned? What about the poor winning the lotto or the millionaire banqrupt in the street. Even the upper middle class married to a poor Mexican. Where do the classes start and stop and is it all about material items. You still will hold your class with you when you economically change class, no? If it is about materials, then if you are wealthy, you belong to the upper class? And poor is lower class. Then why do people say that they are treating Mexican Americans as if they are second class? What exactly is that. Is it cause they are not owning something? Maybe it could be more than ownership of items, spiritual or not, it could be more. Power hungry. A want of power, more of it, keeping what they have, not wanting to share or give any power away, befriending for the sake of having friends with power. Is this also not class labelling characteristic. My relation above for the poor family – there seems to be a certain release of desire for the class seeking power struggles when handing over the problem to God and just letting life happen as it should. And the upper class family I will say that I didnt mean that they were faithless. However, the pollution of being in the upper class comes with walls that stand firm to keep in and keep out for the protection and preservation of that class status, and therefore losing out on freedom to see beyond the material. Ok so maybe it is truly power that keep the class. With power is money and money is class, so it is a circle or is it a parallel? Where there is money there is ability to relax. Where there is not, there is less time for love, more time to wash clothes by hand for the love of the family. If one is relaxing in wealth, how much do they do for others as opposed to self, and what effects does being self centered have on a persons soul.By the way I would like to add that I find you very interesting. Tenemos cosas en comun. I plan on checking out all that you have done here. Thank you for sharing and bringing us all together. I am also hoping that you are living in happiness. I want to know how we can converse back and forth if possible. Do you have a facebook? I hope you understand my needs for connection with women like me who love their husbands enough to go the extra length to cherish and are part of the path of the future change. I have babies' futures counting on this change. And I also value the friendships that I have formed so far enough to feel protective for our challenges. I am sure that my God will put his blanket on all of our shoulders. Live, love, laugh and cry sometimes. Take care.

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  2. Thanks for posting, R. While a deep sense of connection to higher spirit is extremely important to me, I'd ideally want the family who honors God to not lack the basics in a material sense. And I'd want the family who has too mcuh materially to reconnect with something/someone bigger than themselves. Saludos, TDW

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  3. true poverty – when a family has concrete floors, block walls made of dirt mix, one sink that sits outside, dinners/lunch/breakfast of rice, 3 pairs of jeans all with holes patched, cheap silverware and mix match plates, shower curtains for doors from the rain outside, never a vacation from washing the clothes by hand….but when the family sits down each night together reflecting on their day, there is love, a very wealthy full flavored love. Love that runs so deep and strong that they would stand firm for their family members, do whatever it takes. Honor God and their family with respect backed by their souls.Another family that had everything that money could buy or at least charge,the usual…rarely sat down to dinner with each other as they are passing each other in the halls on the way out to mesh into the society walls of wants. Forgetting love forgetting God, and forgetting why we are here.True poverty.

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  4. Hey J-Great to hear from you! I appreciate you talking about the "churning." It is an ever-evolving process! I think that a place that has been a good place for me to start is acknowledging the class differences between myself and R. My instinct was to ignore them, or pretend that we were raised in the same class. I think that, "true poverty is a lack of options," is an excellent way of stating the situation. I look forward to continuing htis dialogue as well! Saludos, G

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  5. Giselle– Thanks for speaking on this and keep it up! I've been subconsciously ruminating on this topic for awhile (talking to you in July helped me put my finger on what had been churning about in my head). It's still there churning . . . and I still don't know how to reconcile these economic differences that are so in-your-face here in Mexico. In the US it was easy to pretend that everyone had it as easy as I did. Here, I get constant reminders that life can be so very hard for far too many people. Clearly, reconciling all this economic disparity in my head is an ever-evolving process. Outside of my head, in reality, how we relate to others of different classes (be it "higher" or "lower") . . . where to we even start? Years ago, when I was participating in a border immersion experience in El Paso, we visited a house for migrants and chatted with the founder. He defined true poverty as a "lack of options". That really threw things into perspective for me. Thanks for starting the dialogue, Giselle. I look forward to seeing where this discussion goes!

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  6. Hey SB:) Yeah, the comments from the readers mean the world to me and really add to the conversation! I hear you when you say that you previsuly had the privilege to not think about it, becuase you were surrounded by people just liek yourself. The Kleenex is a great example. It truly is key to the political debate. Saludos, G:)

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  7. Great topic Deportee's Wife and great comments! As someone who also married a man from a different economic class I think it is the key to many of our marital “challenges” not just because of the $$ but because of the expectations that go along with it. I like what you said G about some of the things you expect even the “fun” things or in my relationship things that are considered luxury items. Something so simple as kleenex is seen in such a different light. Growing up in my family, there was always a box of Kleenex in every bathroom, bedroom, kitchen etc. When I started grocery shopping with my now husband, I would always buy Kleenex, to me it was like buying toilet paper, milk, or bread, and yet to my husband it was clearly a luxury item that was not necessary and something he never had growing up. So everyday expectations, “norms” to each of us are constantly challenged because we come from different classes. You asked if we talk about class and I would say, yes, now I do, everyday when before I had the privilege not to because I was surrounded by people just like me. I think it is so key to the political debate today and key to discussions like health care and welfare reform. I want to say to some middle class Americans who are not in favor of “socialized” health care, take a walk in someone else’s shoes, spend a day with someone who does not have health insurance, someone to whom Kleenex is a luxury item and see it you see the world differently. One more thing, I also want to say YES, YES, YES about social capitalism that Sumiclu mentions in his/her comments. Again, that is something I never realized before because of my privilege. I could spend all day giving examples of that. So thanks G for the topic, lets write a book on it!SB

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  8. @ Sumiciu Good to hear from you. I also am really interested in opening up debate and dialogue around this issue, particularly from people like ourselves who have traveled through the class system. I don't feel shame as much as I feel frustration about being working poor right now. But it's a process, and I'm working on it – I'll definitely be reading your blogs as well. Gracias por la visita! Saludos, TDW

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  9. @ Laura Thanks for your post. I think that it's very interesting how class issues get dragged through families and generations. I definitely have stories like your in-laws in my own family. It really is such a complicated issue! Saludos, TDW

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  10. It is really courageous that you spoke about class. Nowadays we spend so much time speaking about other domination issues that are certainly important most of them started later than the class issues, like race, gender or sexual orientations. I would like not be misunderstood, all of these issues are important as class but my question is why we stop speaking about class.Societies have made a good job trying to give equal opportunities for everyone but even societies with really good welfare systems didn't get rid of classes. A French Sociologist came up with a notion that is pretty clear, Social Capital. People not only inherited money from their parents, they also inherited know-how and network connections.I thought a lot about class because by my personal situation I went down from the upper middle house to the working class in Spain. I have spend my weekends at the Madrid Opera House when I was a child and early teenager and after I spent weeks with empty fridges and cuts in the land-phone. I think people, like us, that have “traveled” through the class system are the ones that think about it, the debate is really silent. Also it represented a shock enter in the university and moving around the world with totally funded scholarships that I realized more, at the very beginning it awoke in me a deep feeling of jealousy but now I understand that I can do nothing good with that feelings so I made up my mind and I incorporated to my political principles and I start the debate everywhere I can.Good Luck with your situation being poor is nothing to be shamed on… I understand the frustrations that can produce but for lucky life is more other things than material ones

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  11. Good topic. In my upbringing in the US I feel like I wasn't very aware of class. My family was middle class – definitely not upper middle class but all of our basic needs were met – in direct contrast with my husband's childhood. I never thought class was an issue between us – but it was (and still is at times) an issue for my husband – a concept that was burned into his brain from a young age by the world around him. His father was from a "better" family and his mother was from a "poorer" family, so he was constantly reminded, strangely enough, by his mother's family that they were all "less than" – less than his father's family, less than others in general. It's the difference too, of feeling stuck – not upwardly mobile in terms of class, whereas in the US it's drilled into our heads that we can "be whatever we want to be." It is a very complicated issue – and very interesting.

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  12. P, Thanks for taking the time to post your comments. I always appreciate hearing the Canadian context! I think that there are many similarities in terms of class the cut across a country's border. I really want to explore in this blog the things that I'm afraid to talk about/show/write. So thank you for the honesty comment – it means beaucoup coming from you! Big Hug, G

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  13. Interesting. You've really made me think about the word "class." I agree that the true divisions are economic and unspoken since it isn't polite to admit we aren't all equal. But I think in Canada you also have to be white and urban (though you would certainly have a country home)and be educated (all the education money can buy). I think we also have some colonial notions of aristocracy. It's possible to have class and no money or money and no class. Though that's maybe just a myth.At the same time we have this notion that we are a classless society. That anyone can grow up to be anything they want. Our previous Governor General was a Haitian refugee. In the US anyone can grow up to be president. But in reality people hardly ever leave their class. They don't achieve much more than their parents. Working class kids grow up to be working class parents. And they marry working class people. Though there are always notable exceptions. Education is supoposed to level the playing field, but the truth is the rich are better educated because they can afford more education. And though we note when people rise; we seldom talk about when people go down. Though the bottom continues to drop out from under the middle class. I think these days more people get poorer than get richer.I think you are (always) astonishingly brave to talk about this. Especially in personal terms. I mean it's one thing to talk generally or abstractly. Another to talk about these differences in terms of your own relationships. People of the same class have the same assumptions about life. The same expectations. You put a human face and a human voice to these abstractions. We can't just talk about them academically. Your honesty won't allow that. Patsy

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