2 February 2018

By Lauren E. White

Class privilege

This week’s column is a little later than usual, but, to be honest, I’m glad about that, because there’s something important to talk about. Class privilege.

I’ve spoken here about white privilege before and how we should all check our own privileges (myself included, obviously), but class privilege is something else that I don’t think is spoken about very often. As a person, I am class-conscious. But I suppose that as a political, working-class female, I am obviously going to be well aware of my slot in the class system that is so entrenched in British society we don’t even realise most of the time.

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Those who are middle to upper class, however, seem less aware of their social class than those of us lower down. Some of them are ignorant to the fact that, oftentimes, they’ve had all the luck in the world (as well as a trust fund, a few grand and a family business handed down) to secure their alleged superior position in society. But they don’t acknowledge that, instead putting it all down to “hard work”. Well, I’m here to tell you that life doesn’t always work that way and for those at the top who look down on others, it almost certainly didn’t work that way.

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Of course, there are people further up the class ladder who have worked hard and who may work hard once they’ve inherited the business. Nice. Good for you. But for those of us lower down, it doesn’t mean we’re lazy. It often means we just weren’t as lucky. Just because you’ve got money does not mean your family worked harder than anyone else’s to get it. There are families out there, like my own, who work just as hard (if not more) to get just half of what another family gets. And they work all hours, any day of the week to do it. It’s often manual labour or mundane work too – not the excitement of running something of your own which often provides motivation for work. It’s the motivation that one has to pay the bills which means they work hard.

So, if you’re middle-to-upper class and reading this column, you are welcome here by all means. But you have to check your privilege and open your mind to reality. Those who are worse off than you are in no way lazier than you, and it is good of you to acknowledge that. Know the truth about your story before judging the stories of others.

See you next week.

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