Class Dismissed: Identity Politics Without The Identity
Smith, Michael K.http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/05/class-dismissed-identity-politics-without-the-identity/
Date Written: 05/12/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21799
In a capitalist society, work is at the core of identity, In the United States there are sharply divergent attitudes between professionals and the working class.
the working class often just sees more value in its traditional jobs than in professional work. Many workers want to work with their hands and think that being a fire-fighter, for example, adds more value to a community than learning how to boost superfluous consumption with manipulative ads. So there are lots of good reasons to be skeptical of the college track, which is always going to be a minority option no matter how much we praise it.
But this leaves working class families trapped in an insoluble dilemma: (1) higher education is either unattainable or undesirable; (2) middle-class jobs are increasingly unavailable; (3) accepting government help is outright shameful. And gaming the welfare system in order to receive extra benefits (like buying sodas with food stamps and then selling them for cash) is doubly shameful. So working class people are often unwilling to use government benefits even when they are available to them. In fact, they tend to resent poor people who eagerly snap up any government benefit they can get. (Working class blacks are an exception to this. They tend to have a non-judgmental attitude towards those in need, recognizing from bitter experience that being in need has nothing to do with lacking personal merit.)