6

Being Rich

Speaking openly about money remains taboo in polite society. I never meet wealthy people who speak about themselves as “rich.” More often than not people of means display their wealth and the status it gives them through material objects—where they live, shop, what they own. While they may not speak openly about money, many wealthy individuals think about their riches all the time. Possessing wealth in a greedy culture, where millions of poor people live without the basic necessities of life, they work to hold on to what they have, using it to make more. Protecting their class interests takes time. Many wealthy people live in fear that the people they meet want to get money from them and, as a consequence, thinking about money often dominates their personal relationships.

Most individuals from poor and working-class backgrounds do not work directly as servants for the rich and know no wealthy people. Even though citizens of this nation like to insist that the United States is a classless society, we all know that the rich live apart from the rest of us and that they live differently. Growing up in the fifties, I was surrounded by folks who wanted to have more money to buy the things in life their hearts desired. I was most moved by the longings of grown women who worked hard keeping household, doing jobs

-70-

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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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