Working-class Problems

I read a paper that made me angry today (but not really today because I wrote this a while back). 

It talked about working class people versus middle people and the differences in the struggles we face. I enjoyed the paper in the beginning. It talked about the issues low-income people face trying to succeed in America. It had terms to define what I was feeling in a more academic way and research to back up that these feelings were real. It felt pretty progressive until I reached the discussion part of the paper. 

Something the paper mentioned as an “answer” to low-income people being disproportionately affected by systemic issues was “to provide them with cultural capital.” At some point, I know that this ideology was the “standard” for progressives but I have always resented it a bit. I think it’s demeaning to assume that all low-income people and POC (as this is usually applied to them as well) don’t know anything about what it takes to make it. The “tools” we need to succeed. Yeah, we may not know anything about croquet or whatever, but those things don’t really apply to the real world. 

The reality is that many (not ALL this is important) know the tools we need to have and are taught about them. However, that doesn’t mean we know how to use them. All my life I’ve been taught how to do things so I can survive but I never felt like I knew how to reproduce these things myself. 

Just providing cultural capital to marginalized societies is not as productive as people think. I don’t know the answer specifically but I do know that that isn’t it.

Published by Dolma

Hey everyone! My name is Dolma Rabgay and I am a psychology major and Asian studies minor. I work at the ID House and am a Bridge Mentor, but in my free time, I love to do karaoke with my friends!