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:

Tips from Working-Class Activists

Don't Let Guilt Make You Foolish

Middle-class white activists always see the best in everyone, so they get scammed. I see through people's bullshit and I tell my coworkers, and then some of them get upset because they think I'm being judgmental. They say I'm seeing the glass half-empty. "We should believe that people can change." But others are also jumping up and down saying they see the same warning signs, and then it turns out that someone really was taking advantage of the organization. Money gets lent, and some people have a different excuse every week on why they can't pay it back. But my middle-class coworker says, "but they're really hurting," and I say "that's why they talked with you and not me, they know you're the softy."

— Lisa Richards

White middle-class activists go to one of two extreme on black experiences. Either they think they already know all about black experiences, or they assume they don't know anything and rely on any black spokesperson to be their interpreter. There's a middle position, not relying on a racial spokesperson, but also not making assumptions without investigating to learn more about particular black experiences. It shouldn't be "whatever you say" to a black person. They have to bring their critical faculties and their own experiences to bear.

Sometimes they have a well-meaning impulse to include people of color in a coalition, but they sometimes primarily choose a person on the basis of their race and not their politics, and they sometimes get someone with politics contradictory to the organization's. All black people experience racism, but we respond differently to it, some in individualistic ways. If you don't look at politics, not just on racial issues but on class issues, you are going to get into trouble. If instead whites approach coalition politics by simply saying "I need one of these and one of those," then that's problematic.

— Preston Smith