January – Classism

Classism is discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping on the basis of perceived, or actual, socioeconomic status or class. Classism is the systemic oppression of people from lower socio-economic statuses to advantage and strengthen the people from upper socio-economic statuses. It is the systemic designation of characteristics of value and capability based on social class.

How America’s public schools keep kids in poverty | Kandice Sumner 

Kandice Sumner, an educator, questions why a good education should be exclusive to rich kids. She talks about her own experience as a child of color from a low-income family in the school system and how our background deeply affects our education. Kandice also talks about the disparity she sees every day in her classroom in Boston, how schools in low-income neighborhoods across the US, specifically in communities of color, lack resources that are standard at wealthier schools—things like musical instruments, new books, healthy school lunches and soccer fields—and this has a real impact on the potential of students.  Ultimately, all of us are impacted by the educational system – we hire people from our schools, we have family members in our schools, and all of us are a product of our schools… 

“School funding should not be decided by property taxes, or some funky economic equation where rich kids continue to benefit from state aid, while poor kids are continuously having food and resources taken from their mouths. 

Governors, senators, mayors, city council members—if we’re going to call public education public education, then it should be just that. Otherwise, we should call it what it really is: poverty insurance.” 

-Kandice Sumner 

Let us ask you this: 

  1. What are your typical initial/first thoughts when you see someone who has a different socioeconomic status or class from you?  Do these first thoughts align with what you believe to be true about all people? 
  2. What is your current experience with classism?  Have you, or someone you know, ever had a lived experience with classism?  If yes, what impact did it have on you? 
  3. Reflecting on the TED Talk, how does the message impact you?  Your environment/organization? 

This month, we would like to remind you that class/socio-economic status intersects with multiple identities and that this can divide us if we don’t reflect upon our own personal relationship with money. 

Every moment is an opportunity to continue learning and reflecting.  There is always room for growth in ourselves, and in our communities.

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