Friday, June 10, 2016

Do you see your own class privilege?

Despite signs that the middle-class youth had benefited in critical ways from the social class position of their parents, these young adults appeared largely unaware of the advantages that had been bestowed upon them. Instead, they stressed how hard they had worked, implying that they thought they had earned on their own the position of privilege they held. Also, they were very focused on their own neighborhood or school. They seemed unaware that there were youth living less than an hour away who had very different lives. Although the degree to which the middle-class youths' life paths had been structured by their class position was not clear to them, in contrast, the working-class and poor youth and their families were keenly aware of neighborhoods where life was different. 
. . .

Although they were vaguely aware of their resource-rich family backgrounds, the middle-class young adults in theis study did not attribute any of their success to the pure luck of having been born into an advantaged class. Instead, they focused on their own hard work and individual achievement. They could not see the social class privileges that were facilitating their success, every step of the way. Not surprisingly, they mistakenly thought that what was hidden did not exist. 
Annette Lareau, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, 2d ed. "with an update a decade later" (Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press, 2011), ch. 13

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