Imagine two men: Toby and Alex. Toby is the son of a teenage single mother called Jane. Jane dropped out of secondary school, and relied largely on state benefits for the first few years of Toby’s life, with some help from family. He grew up in council housing (I guess this is called public housing in the US?), went to a mediocre state school, and eventually got into a good university by getting decent grades in his late teens. Alex comes from a family of academics - two of his grandparents are professors at prestigious universities. He had a lot of help with schoolwork from family, his mother and father both had good degrees, and although his father, Tom, wasn’t particularly well off when Alex was born, Tom eventually lands a six-figure job at an accountancy firm and is able to buy Alex expensive gifts during his childhood. Toby and Alex ostensibly have very different backgrounds - but they don’t actually, they have the exact same background. Because I am both Toby and Alex - all of these things are true of one person
Within the US and possibly the UK, it's not cool to come across as privileged. In the US, the race issue is many times more important than the class issue. In fact, many US elites find it appropriate to mock the white working class' and especially rural or Southern white's accent, habits, mannerisms, etc. I think many have contempt for them and see them as the stereotypical uncouth racist.
Race is much more salient than class and in vogue probably cause of the US. That's why I imagine they wouldn't pick on class. I don't think people should be ashamed of their class but for reasons, some people are ashamed to be rich and feel guilty just like the people who feel ashamed to be white.
Sam, if you're interested in class in the UK, there is an interesting book by Gregory Clark called The Son Also Rises about the preservation of class across generations using the last name of people. I think he spends a good portion on England.
People typically feel guilt--I think--because they have something that is unearned and thus their success is discounted. But I think that people have something that is unearned--their genotype--which plays a large role in their success in life. Authors on the left share this view in The Genetic Lottery by Kathryn Paige Harden and Cult of Smart by Freddie deBoer. This sort of inequality is still taboo and they'll be attacked for it.
Another way bullshitting about class or "privilege" broadly could be bad is if it causes everyone to feel like the victim and no one to accept responsibility and try to change things.
Some of my friends talk about how there *is* a class system in the US, we just pretend like it doesn't exist. This causes wealthier people to treat people in service roles much more poorly than if they had been raised to understand wealth, their privilege, and how they were supposed to care for / support people at different socioeconomic levels.
A possible way to identify the problem is through the lens of Michael O Church, Venkatesh Rao, and Alex Danco, and that "class" has always been incongruent with wealth accumulation, industriousness and intelligence, but instead on charisma, dominance, and deception. The mistake that "the 1% is the enemy of equality" fails at separating the working rich vs mid-professional class vs the "elite". https://alexdanco.com/2021/01/22/the-michael-scott-theory-of-social-class/ https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/4/8/1200263/-Examining-social-class-in-the-US-Church-s-3-ladder-system https://danco.substack.com/p/michael-dwight-and-andy-the-three
This problem will extend to the ideological realm. John Derbyshire and George Packer both identified a system similar to Curtis Yarvin, where there are four classes and base ideologies: Armigers (intellectual elites), Yeoman (free idealists), Lazzari (hard labor), and Autochthons (subjects of welfare). https://americanmanifestobook.blogspot.com/2020/04/three-layers-in-brief.html https://graymirror.substack.com/p/5-the-land-its-people-and-their-dogs
From the screencapped picture, it can be seen that these people are by definition from a "working rich" family with access to university (but not "elite" universities), instead of being directly streamlined into the system, they do not have land ownership or trust funds, they do not value intellectualism over menial labor. Therefore they are not as privileged as one think compared to the ethnic-conscious class or war-inclined class.
If I have to conjecture a way of avoiding culture as a reference point (since every country is different), Samo Burja presented a good substitute: High (those with veto power), Mid (those who can contend for near majority), Low (those who contend for plurality or critical minority), and Out (those who want to play). Some have money but no veto power or sway, whilst others the reverse. https://samoburja.com/empire-theory-part-i-competitive-landscape/ https://samoburja.com/empire-theory-part-ii-power-dynamics/
>Britain has a maturity that America doesn’t have yet. Right now, [America] has about a class and a half, it will take us another couple of hundred years to get to three classes … if a class system is what you use to discriminate against people who look like you, that’s an advanced form of racism. Britain also has actual racism, it’s just not very good at it.
Oh boy, "actual racism", as if the word "racism" were remotely meaningful in any way.
In the US, at least, it's common to come across people who assert that middle- or upper-class white people, regardless of what they've accomplished, have not actually earned anything--that they were "born on third and thought they hit a triple."
That's not really how it works, but the talking point is common enough that there's a strong incentive to downplay your parents' SES.
More people identifying as working-class is a good thing, imo. Professional class people should still provide class solidarity to the working class because their interests are united in opposing the owning class.