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 visitors answered those questions:

And answers from the Class Matters book:

Class and Other Identities

Women and Class

If you look at the mission statement of any women's studies department in the country, they talk about "gender, race and class." That became the holy trinity of the feminist movement. But the consciousness-raising process used so effectively by the early women's movement has been extended to race but not to class. Women talked about their experiences growing up in a gendered society as girls and the differential experiences of males and females. And when the issue of race was raised, feminists started to meet in same-race groups, with consciousness-raising for white women about white privilege. One National Women's Studies Association conference was entirely about race, and every single participant spent a lot of time in a small group to examine their lives from a race perspective. There were groups for Latina women, African American women, Jewish women, etc. And yes, our gender identity does impact tremendously on our experience of the world, our race identity does impact tremendously on our experience of the world — and our class identity does as well.

There were also times when homophobia had its day, when everyone was examining their sexual orientation privilege. But it has never happened in any widespread way about issues of class.

The feminist movement does include class in saying the phrase "gender, race and class" and talks about it on the theoretical and structural level. But there's hardly any dialogue on the personal level. There hasn't been a women's studies conference devoted entirely to class where women all broke up into class of origin groups and talked about the impact of class on our life, our relationships and our choices. The kind of thorough examination starting at the personal level, looking at the curriculum, the reading lists, and the mission of the enterprise, has happened in a serious way around those other issues, and I don't believe to this day has happened around the issue of class.

— Felice Yeskel

I'm still grateful that my experience [on women's issues] started from working with a group of Third World women in America. We were struggling around infant mortality in the black and Third World community. And that was probably my first understanding of the difference between classes, because we didn't care if we could take our bras off, and we weren't struggling for a job. My mother worked for 43 years at a union job at Raytheon. So it wasn't like we were struggling for the right to work.

In terms of cross class alliances, the women's movement was really, really, really screwed up from the beginning, because it was dominated by white middle-class women. It was their game. Colored woman got some stuff, like childcare access. But in terms of access to education so you could better your capacity to work, we didn't get any of that. We got some rape crisis programs. But in terms of making big changes in woman's lives, it didn't, not for colored women who had to work anyway. Because we weren't June Cleavers. We could walk with more shake in our walk. The white girls felt like they couldn't do that. They had severe, severe class restrictions. They tried to say this is what the movement is. And we watched them move up these ladders, so a few more women were in positions of power, but they didn't do anything for most women.

Some black women from SNCC had a newsletter in 1970 called Triple Jeopardy, which made it very clear that we weren't struggling for the same thing as the group that became NOW, we were struggling against racism, sexism and class. That was "triple jeopardy." Some white women were doing great stuff, but how it came out, in terms of who got what, and who got the credit, that wasn't right.

— Attieno Davis