Wednesday, December 19, 2007

1970 - 2005 -- Class Consciousness

I am not surprised anymore about class differences but I am surprised by the lack of sensitivity to class differences especially among the privileged. One of my first real experiences with this goes back to being an undergraduate in the late 60s. Periodically there would be meetings of all sorts of leftish, anti-war types. It occurred to me then that the group could be broken down into three categories. There were the rich kids for whom being a “revolutionary” was fun. Like a role playing game. When the marches and arrests were over they headed to Europe or on ski trips. The working class kids, those who could pay a heavy price of being too revolutionary, struggled to find summer or holiday break jobs. In these groups were also Blacks – a handful of students and some towns people. What did they think? My sense is that they rightfully were not fully trusting of their allies. They understood that, at least for the rich kids, nothing was on the line. Grow long hair, smoke dope, get laid, paint your face, march, and the safety net was always there in form of mommy and daddy. Only the rich kids seem to be completely ignorance of these differences.

Now flash forward 35 years and the same rich kids are in charge of legal education and still protected by one safety net or another. More importantly, they still remain utterly insensitive to class difference. They is by design. To recognize class difference is to accept the fortuity of their status. If a seed of recognition creeps into their consciousness their instinctive reaction denial. For most privileged people, recognition the their current status is a result of the luck of the parental and genetic draw and not merit can result in ego free fall. Think of it. Where to they go – emotionally, that is – when they give up the idea that they are entitled to what they have.

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