3

Class and the Politics of Living Simply

At church we were taught to identify with the poor. This was the spoken narrative of class that dominated my growing-up years. The poor were chosen and closer to the heart of the divine because their lives embodied the wisdom of living simply. By the time I was in junior high school, I was reading to my church congregation during the morning offering, choosing scriptures from the biblical Book of Matthew, which admonished believers to recognize our oneness with the poor and all who are lacking the means for material well-being. I read from the twenty-fifth book of Matthew passages describing a day when we stand before the divine and all the angels seated with him in heavenly glory.

On that day of reckoning, scriptures shared, “all the nations will be gathered before him.” In the presence of witnesses, joined in common community, those who had identified with and cared for the poor and needy would be chosen to dwell among the godly. Those who were not chosen were to be told: “Depart from me, you who are

-38-

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Where We Stand: Class Matters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents vi
  • Where We Stand vii
  • Class Matters 1
  • 1 - Making the Personal Political: Class in the Family 10
  • 2 - Coming to Class Consciousness 24
  • 3 - Class and the Politics of Living Simply 38
  • 4 - Money Hungry 50
  • 5 - The Politics of Greed 63
  • 6 - Being Rich 70
  • 7 - The Me-Me Class: the Young and the Ruthless 80
  • 8 - Class and Race: the New Black Elite 89
  • 9 - Feminism and Class Power 101
  • 10 - White Poverty: the Politics of Invisibility 111
  • 11 - Solidarity with the Poor 121
  • 12 - Class Claims: Real Estate Racism 131
  • 13 - Crossing Class Boundaries 142
  • 14 - Living Without Class Hierarchy 156
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