Tag Archives: classism

Fighting Ingrained Assumptions, Or: In Which I May Be a Racist, Classist Asshole

Twitter seemed a better medium for my disorganized thoughts on this matter.  I posted the following this morning:




It’s hard for me to sort it all out.  Because obviously, my safety and the safety of the people I’m going to be living with is of paramount importance to me.  But when does wanting to be “safe” cross over into being bigoted?

Another thing I didn’t mention in the tweets is how . . . out of place I felt walking around the new neighborhood.  The demographic was literally 100 percent Hispanic as far as I could tell.  I was acutely aware of how different I looked, how differently I presented myself.  It was an uncomfortable feeling.

Which, HOO boy, privilege check.  I’m a POC, but I benefit from a great number of the trappings of what we usually consider white privilege.  Moving to this neighborhood would be signing up to give up a very small part of those trappings: being able to walk around my neighborhood without anyone looking at me suspiciously or considering me an outsider, being able to communicate fluently in the dominant language (Spanish) or with the dominant speech patterns in English, having the closest grocery store stock foods that are familiar to me . . .

Now, I am fully aware that these things are such a tiny percentage of the overall privilege I do enjoy.  It’s not like moving will make people less likely to employ me, or make employers pay me less, or make cops more likely to stop me, or make security guards more likely to follow me around at the mall.  I’m not going to be less likely to get a bank loan or more likely to be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit.  But I still felt acutely conscious of the privilege I would be giving up by moving . . . and part of me was nervous. Another part of me thought it might make me a better person.  And the largest part of me was almost angry at myself, because the biggest manifestation of my own privilege is that I have the choice here to give it up or not, and I can make this decision all about me and my comfort level if I so choose, and I was so, so, so aware of that and how much thinking about this at all felt very much like #PrivilegedPeopleProblems.  So to speak.

I also worried that moving into a dominant-Hispanic community is invasive, offensive to the community by intruding on a safe space people have carved out for themselves from the majority society.  That my new neighbors might be unhappy about me moving in, and with good reason.  (To be clear, everyone I spoke to in the neighborhood was very friendly, but I still worried.)

We didn’t end up going for that house for other, unrelated reasons (too bad, too, as it was a beautiful house), but we may still end up moving to a similar neighborhood.  I’m still trying to sort through what I think of my reactions here, but at least on the matter of crime rates and safety, I’m going to go only with statistics and talking to the people in the neighborhood—and I’m going to ignore rumor, “what everyone knows,” and the average melanin content of people’s skin in the area.  It’s the least I can do—and I do mean the least—to combat my institutionalized assumptions in this case.

Thoughts?  Has anyone else come up against this?  What did you do?

Miscellaneous Links of Madness or Awesome

The Cool and the Sciency:

A brine lake under the ocean.  It’s an underwater lake.  A lake!  Under water!

Zombie bacteria.  They’re dead.  But they’re ALIIIIIVE.

Participate in a word association study!  (Only takes a minute or two, and it’s fun!  And it’s for SCIENCE!)  My favorite of my associations was “probability” associated with the word “replacement,” because I’m so used to seeing “with/without replacement” in combinatorics problems.  Also, “crenellations” was one of my top three associations for “fortify.”  Too much fantasy, yo.

Nice, undeniable visual of how effective vaccines are at saving people’s lives.

Mount Doom exploded.

The Humor (Some a Little Sciency):

The Avengers go out for beers and shawarma.  Batman expresses confusion that they don’t sit in a dark basement and brood over their dead parents.

The Oatmeal’s take on being a freelancer.  This is SO TRUE.

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Math and Grocery Shopping, Part 2: a Follow-Up for Stupid People, or, Why This Relates to Classism

I was catching up on John Scalzi’s blog today, and he linked to a story on CNN that referenced his enduring “Being Poor” piece (it’s an excellent and sobering read; go take a look if you haven’t seen it).

Of course, then I made the mistake of looking at the comments on the CNN article.

It’s generally axiomatic that Internet comment threads are the home of some completely moronic fuckwads. So I don’t know why I looked. But one piece of asshattery stuck out at me as being particularly odious, namely, that some of the commenters began castigating the people pictured in the photo for daring to be overweight while simultaneously being poor.  Here’s a (incredibly gross) sampling of the commentary:

I love how almost all of these “poor” people in the photo are OVERWEIGHT! What a JOKE.

Even if they eat unhealthy, if they eat less they won’t be fat. It is a fact.

Seems like every “poor people” line I see are FILLED with overweight and usually obese people.

Every single person in that picture is fat and overweight. Doesn’t look like they are starving that is for sure.

If people would just take time to cook and not stuff themselves and their children with fast food, it would cost less and be way healthier. “Healthy foods are expensive” is a myth perpetrated by lazy people.

One might eat cheaply from the dollar menu, but you won’t get fat or stay fat by eating reasonable amounts of food, whether it’s a burger or a salad. They are still consuming too much food. If they ate less from the dollar menu, they’d lose weight and have more money to spend on other things […].

Okay, let’s set aside the raging snobbery of privilege going on here. I’m going to step away from the emotional response of “BWUH YOU IGNORANT IDIOTS!!” that I want to shout at these commenters, and address this coldly and logically instead, with:


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