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A poll about class - read post first please


Who has the highest social class?  

  1. 1. Who has the highest social class?

    • A) and I come from the old world
      3
    • B) and I come from the old world
      12
    • C) and I come from the old world
      2
    • A) and I come from the new world
      17
    • B) and I come from the new world
      112
    • C) and I come from the new world
      136
    • Other
      14


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I chose B, but I don't actually see much difference between A and B. I think middle class = decent education in my mind and has less to do with income. B was presumably brought up middle class, so there's that. But it matters little. C is sort of middle class? I don't know.

 

This is why class is always an odd issue to me. I mean, after my parents divorced when I was a kid, we were dirt poor. Not able to buy groceries, qualified for free lunch, begging money from family to get by poor. But... my parents and grandparents had both gone to college. My mother was in school - we all accepted that it was a temporary situation. I think in an odd way, we were still "middle class."

 

But Americans tend to define EVERYONE as middle class.

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But Americans tend to define EVERYONE as middle class.

 

Nope, I grew up around some kids who definitely were upper class. The type who would "summer" at the family compound on Martha's Vineyard or in Kennebunkport, whose mom was in Junior League, who would head off to a chi-chi boarding school in 7th or 9th grade, and then a prestigious college with a building (or even the whole dang school like one girl I knew) named after the family, and so on.

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New worlder, I voted C. It was close between B and C. I see C as someone who has become successful in their generation and hopefully elevated their security and choices for their family and future generations, hopefully.

 

Much of my family has been in the US since before it was a country. A few of my ancestors were part of the founding families of Boston. I've never been to Boston, there is none of that founding heritage left for me. I don't know if there was any status in that for the people at the time.

 

I wonder if part of the issue is that our country is so large, many people have migrated away from their roots. I think we value people succeeding for their generation. Whether that success ever puts them into a class they were not born into, I don't know.

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I voted C, but mostly because of the luxuries his money affords him. His lack of education and his career don't make me think of him as "upper class". His overseas vacations, and golf course villa probably enable him to socialize with wealthier, higher class people, so I felt that made him in a higher "social class". I'm not in that class though, so I could be way off. :lol:

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:iagree:

 

I can't vote in the poll, there's no information there that I would base a person's class on.

 

:iagree: In my mind, class is more determined by one's family's social position--parents & grandparents & great-grandparents plus various aunts & uncles--than by the individual's education or employment situation. IOW, I think that one's class is determined more by his family's social class than by his economic status, although the two are usually related (i.e. a wealthy "old money" family usually has a high social position). Does this make sense at all? I am new world, btw.

Edited by ereks mom
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Nope, I grew up around some kids who definitely were upper class. The type who would "summer" at the family compound on Martha's Vineyard or in Kennebunkport, whose mom was in Junior League, who would head off to a chi-chi boarding school in 7th or 9th grade, and then a prestigious college with a building (or even the whole dang school like one girl I knew) named after the family, and so on.

 

Well, I didn't mean absolutely everyone. But I think Americans tend to think of the vast majority of people as being middle class. I think not only the people in Laura's example would be considered middle class, but people with even less means and people with even more than person C.

 

My impression, though it could be wrong, is that people in Europe are more comfortable claiming "working class" or "upper class" as their status as people here.

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Not going to even try to justify my choice (I would probably be as far left leaning as you'll find on this board, so I'm not exactly into class!), as I just went with my first impression.

 

I chose B, because to me upper class is somebody who comes from an upper class family. If you're the first in your family to have a tertiary education, you're just an upstart. If you're not highly educated, you're just nouveau riche. Your partner makes no difference. It's mainly about your family of origin, and a little bit about whether you are a "lady" or "gentleman". Therefore B is the highest in my mind. Although none of them is true upper crust because that would mean not needing to work for your living.

 

As I said, I think it's all rubbish and I don't care what "class" anyone is. But that's how my understanding of it goes.

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A) has gone beyond his background and achieved a comfortable position through education, B) hasn't achieved much on the surface, but we don't know any more about the family reasons that may have held him back, C) has earned a lot of money with no family help and little education.

 

What did you choose?

 

Laura

 

I say A... To be the social class is a combination of the person education and job and income. A is upper middle class, b is lower middle class and C is lucky? I don't see how Daddy, mommy's money/education affect the next generation class. Might be when the kids still live with parents, but once they leave the house, they responsible for their own class.

Edited by jennynd
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I must be "own little world," because I really couldn't care less about comparing these people's "class," and I'm truly surprised so many respondants could.

 

Frankly I don't think it's classy to reduce class to these terms.

 

Just because we answered a question/poll on an internet forum doesn't mean that we care about comparing peoples' class status in real life or even think about people in terms of class status in real life. I don't see why you should be reduced to criticizing others because of it.

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A's kids will be solidly middle class, but he's probably not quite there.

 

B may be middle or lower middle, depending on his wife's family background.

 

C's kids will probably be middle to upper middle, depending where they go to school. C is living an upper middle lifestyle but I wouldn't imagine he would actually be upper middle. There's a term here for some people in this position but it is derogatory and I have no reason to be derogatory towards this chap.

 

I haven't voted. My views on class aren't representative of the prevailing ideas on my patch of country.

 

Rosie

Edited by Rosie_0801
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ETA: supplementary question: if you chose B), is it because of his family background, his education or because his partner is a professional?

 

I voted B, because of the combination of his education and his family background. His current employment status, as well as that of his partner (and the fact that he has a partner at all), is likely temporary. His family background and his own education will be with him for life.

 

Edit: Ooops, and I'm "new world," which I guess is obvious from my screen name.

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Not sure how you understand class.

I come from Europe (if that should matter). To me, "class" is much more a question of culture and educational tradition than one of income.

So, with that in mind I selected B.

 

ETA: the information is insufficient. A person from an uneducated background can have become very cultured and educated, whereas the person with the educated ancestors and family traditions may lack class... from your info, I could only predict what I consider likely.

:iagree: This is the closest to my thoughts. I do not think of class in the terms presented in this poll and other respondents. To me it sounds very much like caste systems, you are whatever class you are born into and I cannot mentally understand that way of thinking. I was raised poor, relatively speaking- although rich by the standards of the world, and we were always taught class was in a way someone acted and treated others. Based on the info given I'd have to qualify strictly based on money alone and pick C as without knowing a person I couldn't judge them otherwise.

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(B) because of family background. I come from the new world.

 

ETA: I don't think that social class and socioeconomic class are the same at all. Even when we were dirt poor, I reared my dc to be upper middle class. I think there is a great divide in the thinking of most lower social class people and upper middle class people that goes far beyond money. It's obviously a generalization, but one that played out through the economic recession.

 

Besides, my Dad has done manual labor most of his life. He now works as a building inspector. He lives in a trailer park. However, he is more upper middle class in thinking and behavior.

Edited by Renee in FL
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Just because we answered a question/poll on an internet forum doesn't mean that we care about comparing peoples' class status in real life or even think about people in terms of class status in real life. I don't see why you should be reduced to criticizing others because of it.

 

I have a brain that analyses. I would not treat these people differently according to any perception of their status. It interests me, however, to analyse where ideas of status come from.

 

For what it's worth, I'm B) - I made all the people male in order to reduce the confounding factors. A) is my colleague and C) is my boss. We all get on fine and treat each other as equals.

 

Laura

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Laura

 

You're right. That was a poorly constructed sentence.

 

I meant that his job and his partner's job could be temporary, meaning that either of them might get a new job, stepping either "up" or "down," at any point. And relationships break up all the time, meaning that he might not always have this partner.

 

Employment and relationship status can change overnight. Education and family background are permanent characteristics.

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(B) because of family background. I come from the new world.

 

ETA: I don't think that social class and socioeconomic class are the same at all. Even when we were dirt poor, I reared my dc to be upper middle class. I think there is a great divide in the thinking of most lower social class people and upper middle class people that goes far beyond money. It's obviously a generalization, but one that played out through the economic recession.

 

Besides, my Dad has done manual labor most of his life. He now works as a building inspector. He lives in a trailer park. However, he is more upper middle class in thinking and behavior.

 

This explains my reasoning as well. My family was more upper middle and highly educated. DH's family was lower middle/lower and poorly educated. DH's father has way more money than my mom will ever have with her Ivied education, but in terms of behavior and how they raised their children, they still portray their roots.

 

My readings of 19th century British and Russian literature also affect my answer of "class" having little to do with current economic status.

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I must be "own little world," because I really couldn't care less about comparing these people's "class," and I'm truly surprised so many respondants could.

 

Frankly I don't think it's classy to reduce class to these terms.

 

If you grow up around snobs, you can absolutely make these distinctions, even if you personally think the whole thing is stupid. There are people I grew up with who will always look down their noses at me no matter how wealthy I might become, how prestigious the college degree I earned, etc. simply because I don't have the "proper" pedigree. :rolleyes:

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I have a brain that analyses. I would not treat these people differently according to any perception of their status. It interests me, however, to analyse where ideas of status come from.

 

For what it's worth, I'm B) - I made all the people male in order to reduce the confounding factors. A) is my colleague and C) is my boss. We all get on fine and treat each other as equals.

 

Laura

 

I find the differences in perceptions based on a person's culture, to be fascinating as well.

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Three people work together.

 

A) is the first in his family to go to university and makes a good-side-of-average living from a white-collar technical skill. His partner is a part-time nurse.

 

B) comes from a family that has a couple of generations of professional work (architect, headmaster, etc.) in its history. He himself went to university too but, due to family circumstances, now only makes 50% more than minimum wage in low-level office work. His partner is in a professional position.

 

C)'s family has no university graduates but he has worked his way up as a salesman to his current position as a fairly well paid sales manager. He holidays on another continent, drives a BMW and owns an executive villa on a golf course. His partner has a nursing background and is now a health industry manager

 

 

I would put them all in the same group. No one is a member of the aristocracy or Trump famly, or dirt poor, so to me, they're equivalent in social class, but C sounds wealthier with a more expensive lifestyle so is marginally higher in terms of that. I am in the US.

 

Also, I know tons of people with professional backgrounds and college degrees who make LESS than 50% more than minimum wage. But I see that as the decline of the American economy.

 

If you grow up around snobs, you can absolutely make these distinctions, even if you personally think the whole thing is stupid. There are people I grew up with who will always look down their noses at me no matter how wealthy I might become, how prestigious the college degree I earned, etc. simply because I don't have the "proper" pedigree. :rolleyes:

 

I experience people who cannot seem to deal with me unless they can figure out my ethnic background. If they don't know what it is, it's like they cannot "place" me and figure out where I "go." Personally I think it is pitiful (and obvious), but I have definitely had this experience. Several of the nurses at my kids' pediatricians office have stereotyped me as being an overbearing mother, which fits their perception of an ethnic group I do not belong to.

Edited by stripe
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That depends entirely on family background and social status. "Old money" and long term heritage can mean a lot in terms of whether or not a person will ever be truly accepted into certain groups.

 

 

I really think that attitude exists more on the east coast of the US than anywhere else in the country. I've lived in different regions of the country--mostly the north and and the south. In both of those places, people would be only slightly interested if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower. In regions outside of the east coast, I think there is a higher value placed on the rags to riches-type story.

 

For instance, the Michelle Obama grew up in a working class household. She is the descendant of a slave, and now she is the First Lady. I'm not even an Obama supporter, but I think that is an amazing story and the stuff of which dreams are made. Once Obama is out of office, they will be mixing with the highest social circles in the world.

 

This country in particular has so many amazing stories of people who came from poverty or whose ancestors came with empty pockets to the US and climbed their way up through ingenuity, hard work, and opportunity.

 

There are drastic changes in England now, too, since the future queen of England had a coal miner for a great grandfather. I find that a much better and more admirable story than someone who is well known simply by inheritance.

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Hmmm, read Class by Fussell. In his view there are so many things that indicate class that this post makes it hard. Not that I subscribe to his definitions without question. It is an older book. But he took into consideration 1. desire for privacy as a family 2. obsession with neatness and cleanliness 3. do you like bland, boring food 4. using big words 5. where a person went to school 6 whether they needed a flashy car for self-worth 7. clothes and weight 8. whether or not you have to report to someone 9. if you over-dress for shopping or flying 10. which sports you choose 11. how overt you feel you need to be about your religion 12. how often you eat out 13. how obsessed you are about your yard 14. if you wear legible or fake fiber clothing 15. must you have sugar in your alcohol, or do you like your wine dry? ETC

 

His book is rather snotty, but I can't say it wasn't full of things believed by uppers at the time. The uppers out of sight, not the upper MIDDLE (doctors, lawyers, etc), which he thought are trying too hard to appear to be true uppers.

 

I would rather we all identify as his Class X (the artsy, don't-give-a-crap class, totally outside the normal class system) and not worry about it, but...probably won't happen. We are fallible humans.

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Hmmm, read Class by Fussell. In his view there are so many things that indicate class that this post makes it hard. Not that I subscribe to his definitions without question. It is an older book. But he took into consideration 1. desire for privacy as a family 2. obsession with neatness and cleanliness 3. do you like bland, boring food 4. using big words 5. where a person went to school 6 whether they needed a flashy car for self-worth 7. clothes and weight 8. whether or not you have to report to someone 9. if you over-dress for shopping or flying 10. which sports you choose 11. how overt you feel you need to be about your religion 12. how often you eat out 13. how obsessed you are about your yard 14. if you wear legible or fake fiber clothing 15. must you have sugar in your alcohol, or do you like your wine dry? ETC

:lol: These are funny. Especially the bland food and overdressing.

 

Charles Murray has an interesting series of questions to determine to what degree someone is in touch with the common activities in the US (if you live in a bubble). It's pretty interesting.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/03/white-educated-and-wealthy-congratulations-you-live-in-a-bubble.html

 

I really think that attitude exists more on the east coast of the US than anywhere else in the country. I've lived in different regions of the country--mostly the north and and the south. In both of those places, people would be only slightly interested if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower. In regions outside of the east coast, I think there is a higher value placed on the rags to riches-type story.

 

I also think there has been a backlash against being "hoity toity." Hence the dig at Obama as being the sort of guy who eats arugula or whatever. Whether the presidential candidates are "regular people" / "one of us" has gotten to be very important. People don't seem to want to regal type anymore.

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Because I am not sure we would think social class is linked to how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. Certainly i was not raised to think so.

 

I think (I am guessing) that most of us think that the university education is more relevant. However, in American there are universities that carry a lot of status, and universities that will pretty much issue a degree to your dog for a price. So in my mind, a very second rate education doesn't really mean much in terms of climbing a social ladder.

 

I am not sure that there people are divided by much in terms of social class. But on order to be a good participant, I am voting "b" because in last generations on the states, a university degree really did say more than it does now, cater WWII and the GI bill, lots of farm boys and tradesmen were able to attend college.

 

 

 

In the US, one is rarely defined by how his ancestors were educated or what jobs they held. There are exceptions for the "old money", say the Kennedys or Rockefellers, whose money and accomplishments are legendary.

 

For the most part, Americans are defined by how much they accomplish themselves. They can accomplish much by education, business ownership, or service. An ivy league graduate who is working as a low-paid artist, a successful business owner with a GED, or the president of the Red Cross would be considered highly respected by most anyone over here. Their relatives' education or family inheritance (or lack thereof) would have little to no effect on their reputation.

 

As far as class--that is something money can't buy. One only needs to watch a commercial of "Real Housewives of ________" to quickly ascertain that money and class do not go hand in hand.

 

 

:iagree:

 

In case you are interested in what a hillbilly Tennessean thinks of class distinction...

 

 

Class is not related to where you came from, what your family background is or how much money you make. Class is more related to character than anything else. Classy people are kind, generous, and tasteful. They are honest and don't attempt to seek the limelight. They judge other people according to the content of their character, rather than superficial things like money, race, etc.

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I really think that attitude exists more on the east coast of the US than anywhere else in the country. I've lived in different regions of the country--mostly the north and and the south. In both of those places, people would be only slightly interested if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower. In regions outside of the east coast, I think there is a higher value placed on the rags to riches-type story.

 

For instance, the Michelle Obama grew up in a working class household. She is the descendant of a slave, and now she is the First Lady. I'm not even an Obama supporter, but I think that is an amazing story and the stuff of which dreams are made. Once Obama is out of office, they will be mixing with the highest social circles in the world.

 

This country in particular has so many amazing stories of people who came from poverty or whose ancestors came with empty pockets to the US and climbed their way up through ingenuity, hard work, and opportunity.

 

There are drastic changes in England now, too, since the future queen of England had a coal miner for a great grandfather. I find that a much better and more admirable story than someone who is well known simply by inheritance.

 

 

I don't think anyone said these archetypes *aren't* admirable, and they are true American stories. Despite of all of that, the old classes still stand.

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Charles Murray has an interesting series of questions to determine to what degree someone is in touch with the common activities in the US (if you live in a bubble). It's pretty interesting.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/03/white-educated-and-wealthy-congratulations-you-live-in-a-bubble.html

 

 

 

Interesting quiz....

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:lol: These are funny. Especially the bland food and overdressing.

 

Charles Murray has an interesting series of questions to determine to what degree someone is in touch with the common activities in the US (if you live in a bubble). It's pretty interesting.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/03/white-educated-and-wealthy-congratulations-you-live-in-a-bubble.html

 

 

 

 

 

Those questions...WOW. I never would have thunk. I'm still sitting here shocked at them. I scored as a second generation upper middle. Pretty accurate.

 

I think they docked me for watching Despicable Me. Those minions! :D

Edited by justamouse
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Those questions...WOW. I never would have thunk. I'm still sitting here shocked at them. I scored as a second generation upper middle. Pretty accurate.

 

I think they docked me for watching Despicable Me. Those minions! :D

 

:iagree:

 

Very interesting question.

 

I got "docked" heavily because while I was in grad school I spent a year working at a big box retail store. I wore a uniform, and it made me ache so much to stand on my feet 8 hours a day, often carrying heavy things around. The hours were flexible for school (there were weekend and evening hours), and it was very convenient to where I lived. There were several questions where this job played into my answer, and it's interesting that I think it pretty heavily affected my score because it was really a pretty small part of my overall life.

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I still maintain that these attitudes are far more prevalent on the east coast than other areas.

 

Absolutely. I also think that insomuch as these attitudes exist, they do so because we have allowed them to. It makes me wonder who actually thinks its a good thing to classify people like this vs just commenting on reality as they see it.

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That quiz isn't meant to be used as a scale of social class per se. It was originally published in a book whose author presumed that his readers were nearly all part of the educated upper middle class, or at least tending in that direction. What it's testing for is how much contact and common ground these people have with Americans who aren't part of that class.

 

So, in the author's view, what people are calling being "docked" is actually a desirable thing. Well, sort of. He believes that higher scores for upper middle class people would be a sign of greater social cohesion -- basically, it would mean that they have some personal understanding of the realities of other people's lives and concerns. Though some of those activities he lists (e.g., experiencing hard physical work) have much more inherent value than others. He's not saying that everyone should start watching gross movies and eating at chain restaurants to "save America." :D

 

Hmm, I'm probably not explaining this well. Maybe you have to read the book. :confused:

Edited by Eleanor
emphasis added :-)
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Those questions...WOW. I never would have thunk. I'm still sitting here shocked at them. I scored as a second generation upper middle. Pretty accurate.

 

I think they docked me for watching Despicable Me. Those minions! :D

 

Me too. I took it for DH. He would get first-generation middle-class person with working-class parents, which is accurate for him as well.

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Those questions...WOW. I never would have thunk. I'm still sitting here shocked at them. I scored as a second generation upper middle. Pretty accurate.

 

I think they docked me for watching Despicable Me. Those minions! :D

 

It was so off for me it isn't funny. I don't come from a blue collar family, but I did marry a "redneck"!:lol:

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Those questions...WOW. I never would have thunk. I'm still sitting here shocked at them. I scored as a second generation upper middle. Pretty accurate.

 

I think they docked me for watching Despicable Me. Those minions! :D

 

I didn't see this as a "docking." I think his point is that so many wealthier and educated people are out of touch with so called mainstream America and honestly don't comprehend how most people live. And don't realize that the most common things, ARE that common. So they don't realize many, many Amerians come home from work aching, or go out to eat at certain restaurants, or smoke. These are different worlds.

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Because I am not sure we would think social class is linked to how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. Certainly i was not raised to think so.

 

I think (I am guessing) that most of us think that the university education is more relevant. However, in American there are universities that carry a lot of status, and universities that will pretty much issue a degree to your dog for a price. So in my mind, a very second rate education doesn't really mean much in terms of climbing a social ladder.

 

I am American and your class has a lot more to do with how you act than how much you make, what the diploma on your wall says, or anything else.

its about treating others with respect and teaching your kids to do the same.

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