Tag Archives: classism

Of Michael Kors and Microaggressions

by Rukma Sen, ’15

PrintYou swivel gracefully on your Michael Kors clad ankles, and stare straight at me. Your eyes are blank, and they make me shrivel and curl up inside my head like a dead, nameless thing. We are at a meeting of Stanford’s undergraduate pre-professional community and I have just asked about financing professional schools. The kindly old man talking to us has just paused, and asks us whether we have questions. I do, “What about —- school debt?” I ask.
He isn’t surprised by the question, he merely nods and begins to answer but the other undergraduates turn around and look at me. There is the swish of dyed, coiffed hair and the Gucci, Chanel and Burberry women attached to these heads turn around to stare at me.

At once, I am otherized.

Continue reading

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FLIP Your Perspective Week Catalyzes Conversation About Class

by Destiny Lopez, ’16

FYPWeek2013“FYP Week was my favorite week on campus all year! More please!”

“It began on this traditionally tricky, sticky topic in an open, welcoming manner.”

These were some of the many positive responses to the second annual “FLIP Your Perspective Week.” For the second year in a row, Stanford’s First-Generation, Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) hosted “FLIP Your Perspective Week,” a week’s worth of events aimed at fostering cross-class conversation and empowering the first-generation, low-income community and its allies. FLIP Your Perspective week took place from April 8th to April 12th  and consisted of eight different events, each addressing different topics related to class. FLIP partnered with various student organizations to host a variety of unique events. Some notable events were “Race and Class at Stanford, Challenging Classism: A Workshop for Allies,” and “Classing the Line” (based on the “Crossing the Line” activity implemented in many Stanford residences). “FLIP Your Perspective Week” was well-attended by a diverse group of students: first-generation students, low-income students, allies, grads, undergrads, professors, admissions officers, and other special guests. The attendees’ feedback* was overwhelmingly positive. Continue reading

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Stanford Solidarity With Real Talk Dartmouth

As students committed to resisting sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, and other systems of oppression at Stanford University, we are in solidarity with our peers who carried out a protest at Dartmouth College’s admit weekend.  We are outraged at the violent harassment they have been met with, including threats to their personal safety, as well as other aggressive and oppressive remarks.  They have brought important conversations to the Dartmouth student body regarding sexual violence, harassment, and racism.  The reactions the protestors are receiving demonstrate the need for their action and continued resistance. Continue reading

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10 Signs That Classism Exists

by Danny McKay, ’14

In CSRE 26SI, a student-led course about allyship, students were asked to come up with 10 pieces of evidence to prove that certain prejudices exist. Here are Danny’s 10 signs that classism exists:

1. I recently heard someone I know call someone else a “pleb.”

2. Andrew Mitchell, former Chief of the UK Conservative Party, resigned after calling a policeman a pleb.

3. The average income of the richest 10% of the world’s population is about 9 times that of the poorest 10%.

4. The cost of the Invasion/Occupation of Iraq (i.e., money, lives) falls on the poor, while the rich (i.e., CEOs, politicians) benefit.

5. During Hurricane Katrina, the rich were evacuated, while the poor stayed and suffered. Continue reading

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Microaggressions at Stanford

by Holly Fetter, ’13

Stanford is a pretty liberal place. It’s a sunny university near San Francisco, so everyone assumes it’s a happy place to be different. And it is! There are incredible resources for students of every background, and diversity isn’t just another buzzword on campus – it’s an integral part of the school’s identity. Stanford (unlike some of its peer institutions) has always been co-ed, racially integrated, and was even tuition-free for the first 30 years of its existence. It is, and always has been, an inclusive place.

But such a comfortable environment can make instances of prejudice even more pernicious. They’re much harder to identify, and if they are identified, the victim is often met with raised eyebrows or counterarguments. Many of us with privilege only see the dangerous “-isms “ (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, etc.) manifested in blatant, infrequent, dramatic events, without noticing the subtle ways in which we all accidentally communicate prejudice, even if our intentions are good.

These less obvious occurrences are called “microaggressions.” All those syllables refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults toward a particular identity group.” Continue reading

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The Trouble with Environmentalism

by Christina Ospina, ’12


Being “green” is one of the sexiest trends that has arisen in the past several years, made popular largely by increasing concerns over Climate Change.  People want to buy clothes made from organic cotton, use biodegradable laundry detergent, eat free-range chicken, invest in solar energy, and protest to save polar bears.  But we must ask: who are the people behind this movement?  Realistically, someone struggling to pay rent might not feel compelled to invest in solar power to avoid using electricity generated from coal-fired plants.  Today, the American environmentalist movement’s biggest challenge isn’t Climate Change, it isn’t over-fishing, it’s not rainforest degradation, and it’s not it industrialized agriculture; the main obstacle the environmentalism faces is transforming into a movement for all socio-economic levels.  Environmentalism shouldn’t be a movement for the privileged, it should be integrated in all levels and all communities that comprise the American population.

Historically, lower classes and minorities have been left out or overlooked in American environmental and conservation movements.  Just look back at the emergence of conservation with the Romantic movement in the mid 1800s, with influential figures such as Roosevelt,  Muir and Thoreau, who evoked imagery of the sublime in their writing and praised the powerful beauty of wilderness. Continue reading

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