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Modern Classism Theory and the Context Essay

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Classism is seen at both institutional and individual levels and in many forms. Institutionally, it may surface in the manner financial aid is handled versus traditional tuition on a university’s campus. Individually, on that same campus, it may be displayed in the manner students from different backgrounds are received by a Greek organization. Classism can be insidious as stereotypes and myths, contempt and dislike, or contact avoidance, or as menacing as discriminatory practices in housing, employment, and schooling. One of the strongest stereotypes associated with low-income persons are those which equate members of this group with laziness, uncleanness, immoral behavior, deviance and limited intelligence (Spencer Ontario (LCO), 2009; Woods, Kurtz-Costes, & Rowley, 2004)
Classism frequently functions off stereotypes. Classism can lead to an individual being socially excluded, not visible, or marginalized. This causes the other individual/group (the haves) to be treated as the norm and to be more valued. “To the extent to which people do not fit the perceived social norm, they are treated as ‘less’, which may include less valued and less visible. They become relegated to a second class status; their needs and their lives are treated as if they do not matter as much.” (p. 350).
Classists’ perceptions are often entrenched and systemic. Classism can inhibit people’s objectivity and subsequently influence decisions at every level of human interaction. This can happen without the person discriminated against or the person discriminating even realizing this is the case. In fact, the prejudicious feelings of others may be so solely anticipated by the individual with the vilified condition that they are automatically susceptible to nega...


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...ser, B. (2006). Moving from theory to action: Building a model of institutional action for student success. 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.



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