Post by rere26 on Apr 5, 2017 12:43:19 GMT -5
I just finished the book by J.D. Vance Hillbilly Elegy. As part of my work, and the fact that I have always been interested in sociology, I was excited to read it. Basically, he talks about the challenges he faces growing up in the working class. His definition of working class is plagued by drugs, unstable relationships, a violent home life, and people who are so down, they don't take responsibility of their own lives like showing up at work.
Part of this has me confused. He equates these attributes to the working class. I feel that many of my classmates and friends were working class- dad worked at a factory, mom may have stayed home or had a non professional job. The picture he painted of children growing up with childhood trauma not having a chance doesn't resonate with me. I felt we are very middle class. Stable home, kids encouraged in school, hard work was valued, nice well kept homes, vacations.
It also has me questioning my current status. Being able to network on a social basis was one of his big take aways. Know the proper whine, the proper fork, navigate the proper circles. This is not how we live here. If I have a networking diner, you basically have to know which one is the salad fork. Also, you may dine with the mayor and some of the movers in our town, but they will probably be drinking a beer, from the bottle. He made mention of working class being satisfied with community college and not ivy league. Here that is the norm, you may get your basics in community college or go to in state school, and you are considered a success. He also made a reference to working class serving their kids Pillsbury cinnamon rolls which confused me to no end. I love those and so do my kids.
Is this regional, some of these social norms/networking centered around large urban areas such as New York and San Francisco? Are there really social tests that keep the working class down? I have always considered myself middle class, but maybe I am working class? If so his description is not flattering. Maybe I am not successful in the grand scheme of things, but I have felt successful in my little rural southern bubble? What are your experiences? Have you faced these tests in your careers? Did you pass?