Monday, February 26, 2018

Another thought about class

These ladies are far more what the working class in this country looks like than the much discussed notion of "working class" in too much media. They were happy to let me snap their picture as they marched to demand a living wage from Disneyland.

Here's Erik Loomis explaining:

Far too often in our imaginations and in our media, we imagine the working class as a white man, probably with an out of fashion mustache, in a union jacket inside a steel mill. Or some such variation of this.

This has led to the definition of “real workers” and thus “heart of America voters” being the same white guys in Pennsylvania who voted for Trump, as per 10,000 articles since November 2016. This should drive us crazy, but we also need to remember how deep this is in our culture and in our minds.

Take labor history. Even among activists, most labor activism people remember is that of white men. Briefly taking the point that whiteness is fluid out of the equation, it’s almost all white men, in today’s definition of that word: Haymarket, Homestead, Pullman, the IWW, Flint and the CIO. And for that matter, the Hard Hat Riots, which play a way outsized role in liberal memories of labor, considering it was a couple of union locals in a couple of places. But that’s the point–it’s certain types of white men that make up our shared history of the labor movement. ...

The whole post is worth reading. It may be slightly easier to visualize the color-full working class of today in California where political action and relative prosperity have buoyed union activism which is more under siege elsewhere. Or maybe not and I'm just being parochial. Still, this is what the "working class" looks like today!

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Again living a rural life, my vision of working people is women as much as men. My mom cleaned houses as she got into her senior years and my dad, when he no longer could do hard labor, became a school janitor. Women in my family have all worked whether it was their own farm or cooking, cleaning, managing, etc. etc. I am not sure who sees working people as white men but must be those who don't know many.

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