January 24, 2009

As reported on Snookcocker the Runnymede Trust have released the findings of a new study on classism in the UK. The paper, entitled ‘Who Cares About The White Working Class?’, the report states…

The white working classes are discriminated against on a range of different fronts, including their accent, their style, the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the social spaces they frequent, the postcode of their homes, possibly even their names. But they are not discriminated against because they are white.

The real force behind this blatant prejudice is – and has always been – the UK’s open tolerance of rampant and institutionalised CLASSISM (in fact classism is so neglected that even your spellchecker will not recognise the word).

The Barnsdale Brigade hail from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, which is officially one of the poorest areas in Europe. 80% of the children who attend our local school are from deprived backgrounds and a third of families are ‘breadline poor’ – a level of poverty that excludes people from participating in the ‘norms of society’. Local children are bright, happy and fitter than the UK average, but they still struggle in adulthood; one of the main reasons for children ‘failing’ in this area is the lack of aspirations instilled by parents and the wider community. This is not the fault of the parents; it is the legacy of classism.

At work, in school and especially in the media we’re bombarded with negative class stereotypes that most people would find truly shocking if the focus of attention were on race, sexuality or gender. Middle class kids indulge in ‘Chav Parties’, people who live in poverty are treated with unconcealed disdain and the BBC frequently reinforce class based stereotypes in their comedy, drama, arts and even documentary scheduling. It is this constant barrage of classism is ultimately responsible for the low levels of aspiration and self-belief that cripple social mobility in poorer areas – that and the fact that the middle class constantly rail-road attempts to address the issue by leeching off the schemes that were created to help poorer families.


Hilarious middle class hijinks or blatant fucking classism?

Inspired by the work of U.S. based ‘Class Action‘, we are going to focus our attention on raising awareness and promoting positive action against classism. We want to mirror the work of Class Action in the UK, this would help raise class awareness, raise levels of aspiration in poor communities and fight against the institutionalised classism of schools, employers and the media. To these ends we would like to develop workshops, collate any relevant data and develop a UK website. We would also offer free/low-cost practical community education designed to help counter some of the problems that inequality and classism helps to create. We’re not planning to head down the charity route, but if anyone out there can help provide a postal address and/or office equipment (or money towards a PO Box and equipment) then we would, of course, be very grateful. Likewise anyone who wants to help get this idea off the ground please email us at





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