Tuesday, February 05, 2002

For me, notions of class in America have heavy regional nuances. For instance, in the highly segregated northeast (oh, we were taught the south is segregated--wait a minute...) class distinctions are very tied to race, ethnicity, and even religion above money. Western New York, anyway, and most of Upstate New York has tight boundaries of where people can and should live, work, shop, speak, worship, and be. It's not a mandate of any sort, and most would deny the existence of such class/race/religious boundaries, but that doesn't mean you don't trip over them every day. What's "he" doing in this neighborhood?

I am not as steeped in southern notions of class, because I now live in Altanta, which is itself an anomoly. Here class is absolutely tied to money. And we all know it. We tailor our lives around it. There is a stringent link between the work you do, the money you earn, the place you live, and your self-worth. Or at least the pressure to link those things is strong. Self dubbed "The City Too Busy to Hate," (and a city proud of this motto), Atlanta's class distinctions are based on color--the color green. Renters are a different class than home owners. CEOs and Chairmans of large corporations live almost exclusively in a single neighborhood (Buckhead). Or a nearby suburb (Dunwoody). It doesn't matter their ethnicity or religion (although you are in the Bible Belt, son), it's all about the dime. Because Atlanta enjoys a popluation that is still African American in majority, it is not as susceptible as many other cities to definitions of class based on Race. Rich assholes of all colors prevail. Ain't life grand?

Having traveled a good bit by car--which means convenience stores, motels, moms and pops--through all of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, I have had the "uncitified" view of class distinctions in the south as well. I've been through the tiny little towns you read about or see a documentary on. [Glimpse Carol O'Connor in his sheriffs jacket.] There, they stay away from the big cities. They like knowing their neighbors. In many rural towns of the south a mono-class society exists--people are linked together by the commonality of poverty and lack of education. And they are overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming, aside from the few rednecks who give as much flavor as bad rap to the south.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop now. All of what I wrote could be summarized in: I think the subject of class inequity is ignored because the message doesn't tailor well to a micro level. On the net--assuming you have the economic and educational means to BE on the net--I think it's intellect and ideas that replace the class distinction of the offline world. Ideas, the new currency and all that.

Shit, this post got out of hand and I have to go interview an important executive just now, so throw stones at me and we'll pick it up later... -j.

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