A thread about class

Discussion in 'Current Affairs & Debate' started by big ron, Aug 27, 2020.

?

I consider myself

  1. Working Class

    34.4%
  2. Middle Class

    59.4%
  3. Upper Class

    3.1%
  4. Other

    3.1%
  1. ZenGiraffe

    ZenGiraffe Anum Rapax

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    I am sad that Upper Class is still sat at 0. Who are Moopy's Landed Gentry, and why haven't they came forward!?
     
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  2. Gangsta Nancy Lam

    Gangsta Nancy Lam mess

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    When I was at university, I had a Mancunian lecturer who asked (in a lecture on CORRIE :D) who considered themselves working class. Hands were raised. She turned around and said 'you're not though. You're at university'. It probably felt a bit antagonistic, especially considering it was an OLD POLY, but it does sort of demonstrate what hard-to-define thing class really is.

    My paternal grandparents were the son of a refugee, who moved to Scotland from (what was then) Russia to escape pogroms, and my Irish Catholic grandmother who had issues with addiction - they had about twelve children, as was the style at the time - and lived in a two bed slum in Glasgow (although two mattress slum would be more accurate). Two of the children died in childhood, lots more died as a result of alcohol or drug-related issues later in life. The last time my dad saw his mother, she was living on the street and didn't recognise him.

    On my mother's side, my nan left school at 14 and worked on the counter at Woolworths before getting married. My granddad refused to talk about work to anyone outside of it, and my mum only found out that by the time he has retired he was a high-ranking civil servant after he died. Whether they started there or not, I think it's safe to say they were comfortably middle class by the time I knew them.

    My dad was in the army, then a labourer. He had about twelve children, again, although with various different mothers this time. My mum left school at 16, became an accountant, got married, bought a house with her husband, broke up with her husband, got a second job so she could buy the other half of her house from her husband, bought the house, met my dad who I believe was a window cleaner at the time, and had children. Being an accountant and a scaffolder in the South East in the 80s, they had LOADSAMONEY (comparably) for a bit, although my dad decided to build a family home and went a BIT TOO FAR, which threw them back down the property ladder. My mum gave up her job to raise the children, and when she seperated from my father she was on benefits, which she says were quite generous at the time. Thanks Tonty Blair. As soon as my little sister was old enough, she went back to work, although wasn't able to pick up where she left off.

    We went on holiday abroad twice, and went to Haven and Butlins with coupons from some RAG which my mum usually refused to buy. I went to a grammar school. There were lots of posh kids there because it got better results than the local private school, so all the OSCARS and ALASTAIRS got private tutoring to make sure they passed the 11+. I was the first in my family to go to university. I never thought about class very much growing up, and although I'm aware we didn't have much money, I also didn't feel like I was poor, or that I missed out on much.

    Now I live in a relatively gentrified area in a major city, within walking distance of my job, I work in the arts sector. I'd say I'm pretty middle class, but my financial situation is also sometimes precarious. My job doesn't pay a lot, I couldn't afford to rent my one bed flat if I weren't with my partner, I have no savings, and I couldn't rely on family members to offer financial support if I needed it. But I think that's really common for my generation - if you can't make a withdrawal from the 'bank of mum and dad' things are going to be pretty precarious, because the system we've inherited is built that way, and there aren't the same opportunities for 'social mobility'.

    And for someone like me, that's a mild inconvenience, but I know there are lots of children growing up in the UK now, in similarly deprived situations to those which my father grew up in, and I worry that we live in a system that has blocked so many of the roads out of poverty.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
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  3. Whatevar

    Whatevar WHAT!

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    Yes! I’ve never understood this. Why wouldn’t you want people to think you’re BETTER than you are?! :D

    (Not your point I know and I’m being facetious)
     
  4. lolly

    lolly Rowena? From Kuwait?

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    @Rita lives in a castle now and owns half of Scotland, doesn’t she?
     
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  5. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    I was out but I was quite, shall we say, discreet in my first two years, because I was already worried about not fitting in. By the time I moved to Moscow for my Year Abroad, I was embracing with my sexuality and my sexual identity (bizarrely, given the cultural context), and I think only in my final (fourth) year, I was in the mindset of "fuck this", but already had one foot in London by that point.
     
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  6. ZenGiraffe

    ZenGiraffe Anum Rapax

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  7. wurst

    wurst User

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    This is interesting, in my personal experience looking back I spent a good deal of my twenties (reasonably unconsciously) adopting traits of my middle class friends to obscure my working class roots. Call me a SOCIAL CLIMBER I suppose :D
     
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  8. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    What even is upper class these days? Do you have to have a title and have inherited a crumbling old mansion or just be given a penthouse in Kensington by Wanker Banker Daddy?
     
  9. Lucille

    Lucille Sniffing in the VIP area

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    I think there’s a big chasm between lower middle class and upper middle class as well, middle class is far too broad a category, I reckon 75% of people would describe themselves as such.
     
  10. Rita

    Rita User

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    What I don’t own darling, isn’t worth owning.:tongueout:
     
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  11. Lucille

    Lucille Sniffing in the VIP area

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    Quite, no one except the titled would describe themselves as that, I know barristers and bankers who describe themselves as middle class, which shows how broad and quite pointless definition it has become.
     
  12. ZenGiraffe

    ZenGiraffe Anum Rapax

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    Rita's housewife quote! :disco:
     
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  13. Whatevar

    Whatevar WHAT!

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    Wow this thread is like therapy
     
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  14. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I guess old money is proper upper class.
     
  15. Logic?

    Logic? User

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    I've experienced this a lot. To me it seems to be a mixture of people, those who have climbed up the social ladder who like to tell everyone they meet about shaking the working class background. OR those who feel like they can't forget their roots and act working class when in reality they really are not.
     
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  16. KindaCool

    KindaCool Kick Rocks. Eat dirt.

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    Wow. These stories are so good. There are so many increasing subtleties to class, it's interesting that we still choose to use the classic model.

    I remember very clearly asking my parents about this exact topic because when they left Iraq, all of our family history stayed there and it became harder to know anything. In the middle of a war, the last thing you're checking for is the photo album.

    But I do know that my family has been middle-upper class since the beginning. Even as early as the mid-19th Century, both my parents' families have professional origins. I don't remember having any laborers or working class family. My maternal grandparents were a gynecologist and a GP. My paternal grandparents were both high school teachers. My parents are both engineers.

    And their respective families were all lawyers, merchants, politicians etc. While not all of them were uber wealthy (by any measure), we were always socially affluent. Someone cleverly touched on this earlier but I can't remember who. My father worked for Hussein, my aunt's family had strong connections in the govt, my grandma was an extremely esteemed women's doctor in Basra and my grandfather even shook hands with Queen Liz during an awards ceremony in the 1950s! (but he had to burn the photos cuz he was afraid Hussein's men would find them and think he was a British spy :D). And that same grandpa's cousin was a politician named Kamil Kazanchi, who was killed during the communist uprising in the 1950s.

    It all changed, of course, after US sanctions took their toll on Iraq and we ended up with the GULF WAR. The whole family scrambled and everybody went in separate directions, mainly America, New Zealand and Britain. ALL of them dropped an entire social class down because of the migration. That generation (my parents') got fucked over so bad. They were still in their working/money-making years but they had lost all their Middle Eastern social prestige. Despite that, my parents never ever lowered their standards for us. They pushed us the same regardless.

    My dad is a business genius and almost instantly bought his own business as soon as we arrived in NZ in 1996. He went into the automotive industry and put us all 3 of us through private Catholic schooling. University was drilled into our heads since we were born. It was absolutely not an option. Both my siblings became pharmacists and I became a teacher. And my brother and I will be the first in our family to have a Masters.

    There was a very interesting moment in 2010 when my gynecologist grandma came to visit us in New Zealand. All the way in the southern hemisphere, decades after the Gulf War and Iraqis still recognized her and thanked her for delivering their children 40 years earlier. And my grandma didn't even bat and eyelash. She KNOWS she's THAT bitch :D Despite her fluctuating wealth, she never let that social affluence disappear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
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  17. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    That’s pretty much the same for my family, both on my mother’s and father’s side. Thankfully however, we had no one that was in the military or had any other government connections. My paternal grandfather was a socialist and one uncle and aunt fled to Soviet and Sweden in early 80’s.
     
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  18. KindaCool

    KindaCool Kick Rocks. Eat dirt.

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    I think people from Mosul generally had a high social pedigree. Their families and communities had been established long before any of the political turmoil began. Jewish people too.

    RS, sorry if I've already asked this, but are you Assyrian?
     
  19. Mats

    Mats User

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    I grew up not even working class (I'm a benefits & projects baby). I had grandparents though who were either working or middle class so the inspiration to "do better" was always there

    as an individual I am working class (I quit uni to do non-academic work instead) but as a household I'd say we're quite solid middle class due to Mr M's career and (future) income. and with lots of upper class connections :disco:
     
  20. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    Oh Mosul definitely served academia realness to the rest of the country, and a lot of its Christians later moved down to Baghdad and Basra. I’m first generation Baghdadi, and actually never really been to Mosul.

    No, I’m Arab (but we’re most probably Arabisized Syriac/Aramaic).
     
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  21. Mats

    Mats User

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    attending university doesn't really cut it anymore, does it, as a guaranteed ticket to the next tier?

    hail the precariat!
     
  22. KindaCool

    KindaCool Kick Rocks. Eat dirt.

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    Omg we have had such similar lives! We are also Syriac Aramaic who migrated to Baghdad during our parent's generation.

    I even remember my Holy Communion, where they 'sacrificed' a sheep :D

    Do you happen to remember the area/neighborhood you lived in?
     
  23. Mugatu

    Mugatu onlyfans.com/mugatu

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    I would have stood up and replied to the lecturer: "well, ACTUALLY, Marx defined the working class by their relationship to the means of production, not by vague cultural signifiers." Then the audience would have applauded and lifted me into the air.
     
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  24. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    The only people more classist than Brits: émigré Arabs!
     
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  25. lolly

    lolly Rowena? From Kuwait?

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    I don’t think it has for a while, but back to my generation I'd say going to university at all was at least a reasonably good indicator of class.

    Between both sides of my family there are 11 cousins of my generation. I'm second youngest. I think I'm the only one to even do A levels, never mind go to university, and class (well, money, certainly) was a factor in why I dropped out.

    I mean I don't think it's because we were all thick. We were all just encouraged to get a trade. For the men, at least.
     
  26. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    Of course, I remember everything. I was 11 when we left. We lived in al Yarmouk/Qadisyah. You?
     
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  27. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    We (as a society, not I... okay a bit) still look down on people that originate from or marry with people from the villages around Mosul or North east Syria. Just hearing their dialects make us cringe despite us not having set foot in Mosul for decades (or ever).
     
  28. KindaCool

    KindaCool Kick Rocks. Eat dirt.

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    Oh I went to pre-school in Al-Qadisiyah, but we lived in Harthiya.
     
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  29. KindaCool

    KindaCool Kick Rocks. Eat dirt.

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    Omg I remember the SCANDAL of having your Mislawee child marry someone from.... Tal-Kef! The snobbery was something else :D
     
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  30. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    Oh God yes! They were the New Jersey to our New York.
     
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  31. KindaCool

    KindaCool Kick Rocks. Eat dirt.

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    I'm not gonna lie. Some of that classism is still really difficult to wash off. Assyrians and Chaldeans always tell me I'm PRISSY.
     
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  32. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    I'm clutching my pearls just thinking about a peasant with the wrong accent.
     
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  33. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    :D
     
  34. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    I have to cancel
     
  35. Tetris-Rock

    Tetris-Rock wo ist der party?

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    100% this. I have basically grown up considering myself essentially middle class but going to a posh university (Edinburgh) and then moving to London, I definitely don't feel like I have come from the same backgrounds as a lot of the people I encountered.

    Where I sit background-wise is a bit of a weird one. Mum comes from a unequivocally working class family - grandad did a lot of odd jobs but was mainly a gardener. But the other side of my family was solidly middle class since my dad's dad was a professor at said posh university. My dad and uncle went to private school and on holidays abroad even back in the sixties.

    I think it's safe to say that my parents essentially met in the middle by both opting to go into nursing, which is where they met. My dad is definitely less affluent than his parents while my mum is more affluent than her's. As for me, I went to a state school and had a relatively unglamourous upbringing eating turkey drummers and Chicken Tonight in a semi-detached house. We went abroad a couple of times but most of my holidays were in the UK until I became an adult. ALL OF THIS SAID, my dad is quite the thrift and I think we potentially lived below our means while I was growing up.

    I don't think I was ever working class but I don't feel like I belong to the same group as the people I have since met at university and in work, who grew up eating houmous and taking piano lessons with parents who made a lot more money than my own. Some of them are set to inherit houses worth a £1m+. You can't put the middle class into one group as it is simply too big - all factors considered, I would probably consider my upbringing lower middle class.

    As for me now, I honestly have no idea. Like GNL and vast numbers of vast numbers of millennials, I am well-educated (to Masters level) and culturally pretty middle class but without the spending power to back it up. I earn about 30k a year which is above the average wage but it doesn't get you far in London. I have a decent amount of actual savings though because mum and dad did help with rent here and there when I was in the first half of my twenties - one of the benefits of my parents living below their means when I was younger is that they are now comfortable. A fair CHUNK of these were wiped out last time I was unemployed though and i've only been able to build this back up because of COVID.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
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  36. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    I would say that a lot of snobbery towards chavs / peasants with the wrong accent comes from our own sense of insecurity. I'm sure the Royals just pity us all, and never worry about such lowly topics as class.
     
  37. lolly

    lolly Rowena? From Kuwait?

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    I agree there is a big divide between upper and lower middle class. And certainly much bigger than the gap between lower middle and upper working class.
     
  38. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    What's interesting is how class only seems to make sense within a unitary culture. I remember being in Istanbul for work with some other Brits. I was talking to my Turkish colleagues, who were dismissively talking about the uneducated Erdogan voter. I remember thinking how snobbish it sounded. The same thing happens when my bf talks about "classes" of Russian. But then I think about the way I think about the average Brexit-voting Brit.
     
  39. Lucille

    Lucille Sniffing in the VIP area

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    Working in fashion the class divide was very apparent, there were a few lower middle class/working class kids at the brand I worked at, but most left or changed industries eventually, myself included, as the salaries were so low, even in quite senior positions, that the only people able to stick it out were posh girls who had flats bought them and were happy to work for sub 25k until their late thirties.
     
  40. Tetris-Rock

    Tetris-Rock wo ist der party?

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    The snobbery comes from the systematic recharacterisation of the working class from the backbone of the country to underclass scum. Governments since Thatcher have essentially worked to get rid of the working class rather than improving their quality of life. Policy has been about offering a select few within that group the opportunity to join the lower-end of the middle classes, whether it is Thatcher and right-to-buy or Blair and his ambition to send as many to university as possible.

    This, combined with deindustrialisation and the destruction of the unions has absolutely battered the working class as a meaningful political force in this country. Because of these policies, many have escaped to the middle class and those left have little quality of life due to poor housing, precarious work and reliance on benefits to survive. I feel this is most exemplified in the role of public/social housing now compared to the past. It used to be for everyone, but now the decline in the quality and supply of these properties means that the only people living there are very deprived.

    The upper middle classes have recognised that the upwardly mobile love a good sneer and have spent the last 25 years using the media and politics to demonise this cohort both as entertainment and to create a convenient scapegoat for whenever times are tough. Even easier when these communities are literally physically separated from the rest of society because of things like housing.

    I think you're absolutely right that a lot of the sneering comes from the precarious situation that the upper working and lower middle classes are in. Deep down, they know that they're more likely to end up relying on benefits than sitting on a million in the bank, and they try their best to separate themselves from that reality.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020

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