Middle of the Middle

I'm not for consensus; I'm for conviction.

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Becoming Wealthy: The Myth of Meritocracy » Sociological Images

The notion that rich people are rich because their parents are rich, however, interrupts the American mystique, the one where we are a country of self-made immigrants who pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps.  People, even people who inherited wealth, like to think that they’re rich because they worked hard.  Hence, the romanticization of the self-made millionaire in the ad and the corresponding invisibility of the inheritance loophole.

On the flipside, this narrative also supports the converse idea that the poor are poor because of their lack of personal efforts and merits.  Perhaps they didn’t have a “big idea’ or the “gutsy work ethic” that enabled them to profit from the lucky break that they inevitably encountered, right?

Filed under social class myths of meritocracy Social Mobility structural inequality class structure rich and poor inherited wealth

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What’s in a Name? Everything.

Filed under social class Social Mobility inequality structural inequality myths of meritocracy

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Class Brought to Life | Jacobin

…it is the invisibility of the structural dimensions of class, race, and gender that defines current social relations of power.

The role of our identities in shaping our lives has taken center stage and has been delinked from structural forces. It is only at the level of identity that race, class, and gender are visible and politicized. Identity has become everyone’s own personal construction project, to be molded, shaped, and adapted to the vagaries of the market, independent of the structural imperatives of capitalism. We’re told if we work hard we can be anything we want to be, that if we all just treat each other better and become more tolerant we can solve poverty and inequality.

Filed under class Left identity politics intersectionality class structure neoliberal capitalism

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Inside the Mirrortocracy

The cognitive dissonance on display is painful to see. Clothing is totally not a big deal! Because we’re cool like that! But it’s plain that it biased the interviewers. The team’s disappointment upon seeing the suit was immediate and unanimous. If you truly believe that suit == loser, you can’t help it. Nevertheless, the fiction of objectivity has to be maintained, so he denies it to the candidate’s face, to us, and himself.

Remember that the entire point of his article is to convince candidates to look and act differently: “it’s your responsibility to learn [our] cultural norms.” Presumably that same account exec is supposed to take the hint, dress in mufti, and do better at his next startup interview. But of course, how you dress is totally not a factor in the scientific decision process.

Filed under new middle class us middle class conformity silicon valley