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From Where We Stand: Class Matters, by bell hooks:

Not only do the vast majority of the rich keep their knowledge of basic economic skills from the poor, they invest in all forms of cultural production that encourage endless consumption on the part of those who have class privilege. As individuals without class privilege come to believe that they can assume an equal standing with those who are rich and powerful by consuming the same objects, they ally themselves with the class interests of the rich and collude in their own exploitation. Mass media has been the pedagogical tool used to teach the poor and working class to think like the rich. Ideologically, through mass media seduction, many of the world’s have-nots take on the thoughts and values of ruling classes. In everyday life they ideologically join with the rich to protect the class interests of the wealthy.

The book has been an challenging, thought-provoking read thus far. I don’t entirely agree with hooks, although, I think she highlights a good point in this quote. While she perhaps over-simplifies matters in Where We Stand, I do agree that classism is pervasive in our society and strongly intermingles with racism and sexism.

While hooks’ criticism are harsh and penetrating, I believe her criticisms have been fair. She does not, like many authors I have read, allow blame to rest solely on the oppressors (generally white, middle- upper-class, heterosexual, educated, American males). She criticizes the oppressed for their submission and even collusion to acts of violence perpetrated by oppressors.

It has been a good read so far. I’m about two thirds of the way through it. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a good read with challenging content.

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