I’ve often heard my brothers and sisters of the Great White North patting themselves on the back for our lack of class system. Unlike other countries where class divides are marked.
I always did wonder if we had no class system why we had so many classes. Working class, middle class, lower middle class, upper middle class, blue collar, white collar–I used to ask what very poor was, dirty collar?
There is without a doubt a very strong class system here and the idea that class lines are easily crossed is naive.
A child from a poor or working class home is unlikely to have the same opportunities for post secondary education as a child from a middle class home. This starts right from public school.
A child who speaks out, grabs toys, and is bossy with playmates receives very different attention depending on the income of the parents concerned. One child will be seen as a leader, confident, assertive, the other as aggressive, lacking self discipline and a future behaviour problem.
Interviews will be scheduled and the parents advised to seek help now while s/he is young enough to “retrain” and parenting classes will be suggested.
Even if s/he is gifted s/he will be treated differently. There will be no extra supports or encouragement merely a derisive attitude that you would even consider that your child could somehow be smarter than his/her monied counterparts.
This attitude pounded grade after grade into a childs mind ensures they will have little belief in their abilities. The cycle of poverty is not created by the poor it is forced upon them.
Are there examples of people having lifted out regardless? Of course there are. That doesn’t disprove the reality of most.
Think of the subtle distinctions that are made daily. If you meet two people one in a suit one in shabby casual dress who would you assume is more educate?, monied? perhaps you may even make a judgement on their intelligence.
In situations like the recent school shooting many are of the opinion the parents aren’t doing the right things. These are the moral judgements of the middle class on the lower classes. Who are perceived not to be spending enough time with their children or getting the right care or enrolling them in the right courses.
No thought given to the money that would entail, to the necessity to work long hours and often two jobs. To all the other insults that poverty provides. No thought because there is no understanding or empathy. Two worlds, light years apart.
Basic necessities of life are becoming harder and harder to get.
Children are growing up feeling helpless about their future. They feel the sting of class division at school when they can’t afford the right clothes, or toys. When parents don’t allow children to play together because they don’t live in the right neighbourhoods. When Johnny gets all the prizes in school fund raising because his mom and dad can always raise alot of money.
Conservative politicians have been and continue to cultivate and explore that fear of the lower classes and find it useful to divert attention away from issues which will eventually affect everyone.
As progressive Canadians we should show some class and work toward a society where there is none.