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Essay on Classism: The Concept

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At first glance it might appear that a study of first generation students would naturally reflect a racial relationship and race would be the “ism” that is most influential on first generation students’ university attrition. This is especially true when the focus of the study is turned toward historically black colleges and universities. Additionally, a case could be built for the racial “ism” aspect of the study by focusing on the history of HBCU and the large concentration of first generation African Americans that attend predominately Black schools. However, in developing the idea for the proposed research, the “ism” which has the most meaning and connectivity to the topic is classism.
Historically, classist behavior has been present since the very inception of our country. This may be documented by the deplorable treatment and marginalization of the Native Americans by the early colonists’ (Zinn, 2009). Again, the classism topic has found renewed media interest with political candidate Romney’s 2012 forty-seven percent comment (Good, 2013 ) and the controversy rapper/entertainer, Kanye West’s television interview reference to “classism as the new racism” (Kanye: 'Classism' Is, October 9, 2013). Sam Fulwood (2012) in his article, The Brick Wall, affirms that on today’s campuses, indeed, “Class Trumps Race” (p. 15). In an interview with Fulwood, Thomas J. Espenshade, Princeton author, states that on his campus the backlash against affirmative action and race-based attempts to attract nontraditional students have been displaced by class-based diversity as the coveted form of recruitment and admission and race-based effort foci are now passé.
Janet Zandy (1996) describes class as “an aspect of shared economic circumstances and s...


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...ess. National Postsecondary Education Cooperative. nces.ed.gov/npec/pdf/Tinto_Pusser_Report.pdf‎
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Profile of undergraduate Students 2007-2008. National Center for Education Statistics [NCES]. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010205.pdf
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). The condition of education 2013 (NCES 2013–037), Annual Earnings of Young Adults.
Woods, T. A., Kurtz-Costes, B., & Rowley, S. J. (2004). The development of stereotypes about the rich and poor: Age, race, and family income differences in beliefs. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34(5), 437–445.
Zandy, J. (1996). Decloaking class: Why class identity and consciousness count. Race, Gender & Class 5 (1), 7-23.
Zinn, H. (2009). A people’s history of the United States: 1492 – present (Epub Ed.). New York: Harper.



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