Class Matters Workshops

Download this brochure for more information on Class Matters workshops.

If you're interested in hosting a workshop, please click here for a brochure, or contact me about booking an event.

Order Class Matters

Class Matters book cover

Order Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists by Betsy Leondar-Wright (New Society Publishers, 2005).

Press Coverage of CM

Classist Comments

What's the most classist thing you ever heard someone say?

(I'm not talking about someone like Bill O'Reilly or your right-wing uncle. More specifically, what's the most classist thing you ever heard a liberal or progressive person say?)

Read five interviewees' answers — and my own.

Class and Other Identities

How do you experience class differently because of your race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, or other identity? What class dynamics do you notice within your identity groups?

Here's how a few ClassMatters.org visitors answered those questions:

And answers from the Class Matters book:

Class and Other Identities

Middle-Class Women of Color

Many Taiwanese American families are like us whose parents are professionals and who are in the U.S. not for economic reasons but to give their children "better" education. Which places us on the higher side of the socioeconomic ladder and is a side of me that I feel ashamed of often. I feel ashamed compared to my friends whose parents came with nothing. It is hard to ask my Cambodian or Laotian American friends what their parents do for a living because of my privilege. I am ashamed to be a stereotypical Taiwanese person in America with an affluent background. Of course there are those who don't fit this description but how often is Taiwanese voice heard anyway? We are considered a subgroup of the Chinese despite the fact that our experiences and many aspects of our cultures are totally different. What I am most deeply ashamed of is people within the Asian community labeling and judging the Asian groups with less money or social status. There are many of those people in the Taiwanese community, forgetting that their own ancestors once lived in deprivation, oppressed by the Chinese and Japanese. When others use the "people of color vs. whites" dichotomy to discuss disparities and inequalities I often feel funny because in many ways I fall on the "white" side, because I'm light-skinned, have a college education, write and speak eloquently if I want to. I notice that alot of middle upper class Asian kids like to act "lower than their class" and I am not sure what is the psychological motivation behind that but I know that when I do the same, it is comforting. When I display "ghetto-ness" in speech and act, I feel closer to my Asian peers who face discrimination more often and who struggle economically, and don't feel like I'm "selling out" to be more white... I feel more empowered when I identify with people of color who do struggle a lot to pursue the American Dream.

— Betty Kuo

As a woman of color who does capacity building, training, organizational development, and facilitation work in a variety of communities and contexts, I find that people often ask for a "person of color" to do the work, assuming that I "get it" about class as well — even though I am from the professional middle class. I've applied myself to the process of learning to "get it" about class, so it's fair for a person to assume that I can work effectively and respectfully across income lines. But, that's only been partly facilitated by race. I find that folks often use race as a proxy for class, and are often less willing to make a generous assumption that a white colleague "gets it" about class, particularly in a community of color. While it's not always a fair assumption, I have experienced folks over the years who confirm the wisdom of the assumptions. At the same time, I also have experienced folks who challenge the a ssumptions; that is, white colleagues who have really understood the class equation and colleagues of color who have been blind to the way that their own class background contributes to disempowering dynamics when working with low income people of color.

— Cynthia Parker