Intuitive recognition of social position

Page 1 of 2 [ 26 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

maldoror
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 955
Location: Denver

01 Apr 2007, 4:02 am

I think somewhere I remember reading a passing remark about our lack of intuitive understanding of social position. It's one of the more confusing aspects of life for me, personally. I remember when I moved in 8th grade the only group of people at my new school willing to talk to me and engage me was that group that would eventually become the druggies. During all the time I spent with them, I was vaguely aware that they were at the bottom of the social rank, and I couldn't understand why. I couldn't understand (and still can't) the class system. To illustrate, when I think about two people, in my mind, one of working class and one of upper middle class, and strip them of their occupation and education, I can't understand how they are intrinsically different. Something must have led to the difference of education and income, but I don't know what. Well-to-do people are often amazingly stupid, for example.

I don't see how there are people that are unanimously designated as popular. I can't fathom the difference between a punker and a jock. I mean, I'm aware of the functional definition, but I don't really have an understanding of the essential difference. I don't think anybody does, and they just go off of intuition.

Does anyone else feel this confused when they look at the world?



poopylungstuffing
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 8 Mar 2007
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,618
Location: Snapdragon Ridge

01 Apr 2007, 4:12 am

i have had issues as an adult..a party I went to a few months ago for example..I had a hard time dealing with the fact that certain foods being served were designated for one section of the party goers and other stuff was designated for the rest of us...as a result I reacted in a chaotic and not very mature manner..(that involved food stealing)...ummm.....I hate the notion of social position..who am i to judge or assign?..Who is anyone else to do that????there are wealthy people who are scumbags and poor people with terriffic manners and hearts of gold... I prefer the notion that no one is "more important"...



giaam
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 4 Mar 2007
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Posts: 356
Location: Best place on earth, Canada

01 Apr 2007, 5:35 am

I had, (and still have) similar problems. I was in the army some a few years ago. I understand the rank structure, but have major difficulty when out of uniform, 'senior' staff still held on to the idea that they possesed social/intelectual/moral superiority. There is a saying in the army that one must repect the rank, the person is optional. I still tend to do address senior staff at work as I do my peers (I am a uniformed civil servant in the UK). This is often seen as me being disrepectfull. At least I say what I think to their face, not behind their back. You would think that at least they appreciate my honesty. Am learning to be quiet, and let the NT's get on with it. 8)


_________________
mostly harmless


fresco
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Sep 2006
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,291

01 Apr 2007, 5:59 am

I think everyone should be treated the same with equal respect, ranks and hierachy just anger and confuse me.



Claradoon
Supporting Member
Supporting Member

User avatar

Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,106
Location: Canada

01 Apr 2007, 6:37 am

I used to work for lawyers. Talk about hierarchy! It's amazing to see that they believe that passing the Bar Exam makes them superior human beings, to whom the rest of us should grovel. I never got the hang of that.



calandale
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Mar 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 15,131

01 Apr 2007, 6:52 am

I think it's way worse at a university, as there are so many different layers.



alexbeetle
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,388
Location: beetle hole

01 Apr 2007, 7:58 am

I really struggle with this. In my last job I kept asking the lab techinician for permission to do things as he was the oldest man there but was apparently the bottom of the pile and I was supposed to be nearer the top.
I think Universities are bad and also hospitals, no one questions those above them and covers up mistakes. I have had some very bad experiences for failing to go along with this.


_________________
Any implied social connection is an artifact of the distance between my computer and yours.

It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.


HolidayonIce
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 85
Location: Eastern USA

01 Apr 2007, 8:57 am

And here all these years I thought of myself as merely egalitarian! Who knew?

I've lived big cities & small towns in the US, in the NW, NE, SW and central states and have been comfortable everywhere, with everyone, primarily because I simply don't acknowledge class differences. I've made an effort to work and live in multi-cultural environments, too, where everyone was different so in that we were all alike.

Variety of experience can't be oversold, either. Jobs I've held include dishwasher, waitress, housecleaner, housesitter, retail clerk, factory assembler, food prep, Avon lady (what a hoot!), gardener, house painter, retail manager, property manager, market research interviewer, office manager, telephone company slave, government worker... and more. I've volunteered at hospitals, a blood center, been a reading tutor, hospice patient companion, and rape crisis counselor - all dealing with the most vulnerable among us. It's been a blessing and a privilege to benefit from a tender heart and uncannily accurate intuition while gathering evidence that there's something valuable to be gained from every human interaction.

I credit my mother with setting the tone that made me so curious about human behavior and the motivation behind it. Early on, as a toddler, she began teaching me to read faces and body language -- in the 1950's, can you believe it? Now there are DVDs of some 400+ facial expressions identified by mood and tone, but mom had the foresight to do it on her own... in stores, on the bus, in restaurants, while we walked even. She's say things like "Oh, that woman looks sad. See how she isn't smiling and how her eyes look like she might have been crying. When we leave. be sure to catch her eye and smile at her, OK?" Or, "Well, HE certainly could have been more pleasant, couldn't he? He must have troubles."

I wasn't raised to practice any particular religion, by the way, and I credit that for my complete bafflement of the idea of "us and them"; everyone's human, everyone's been broken in some way or other.

I do go on. I'll end this with some parental comments from decades ago that have served me well to this day:

* It's not fair to pick on someone who isn't at least as smart as you are; it makes them feel bad and makes you look bad.

* If you can't do a good job at a bad job, who's ever going to give you a better one?

* You'd better develop some job skills because you can get by on your sweet smile for
just so long.

* There are few things worse than a smartass with a good vocabulary.

Have a great day, all, wherever you are.


_________________
When two elephants fight, the grass and trees suffer. -- King Sunny Ade


SteveK
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,417
Location: Chicago, IL

01 Apr 2007, 9:22 am

maldoror wrote:
I think somewhere I remember reading a passing remark about our lack of intuitive understanding of social position. It's one of the more confusing aspects of life for me, personally. I remember when I moved in 8th grade the only group of people at my new school willing to talk to me and engage me was that group that would eventually become the druggies. During all the time I spent with them, I was vaguely aware that they were at the bottom of the social rank, and I couldn't understand why. I couldn't understand (and still can't) the class system. To illustrate, when I think about two people, in my mind, one of working class and one of upper middle class, and strip them of their occupation and education, I can't understand how they are intrinsically different. Something must have led to the difference of education and income, but I don't know what. Well-to-do people are often amazingly stupid, for example.

I don't see how there are people that are unanimously designated as popular. I can't fathom the difference between a punker and a jock. I mean, I'm aware of the functional definition, but I don't really have an understanding of the essential difference. I don't think anybody does, and they just go off of intuition.

Does anyone else feel this confused when they look at the world?


There are TWO ways to rank class! The OLD way, which deals with customs and manners, and the NEW way which deals with INCOME and ASSETS.

Frankly, I don't like the NEW way. It is silly and arbitrary. ALSO, there is REALLY no way to see what class someone is that way. People are judged almost by papers.(like pure bred dogs!)! USUALLY, people end up determining it by dress and tangible assets, or fall back to the old system.

The OLD way is determined by manners, behaviour, and appearance.

Drugs are considered low class(By the OLD measure), and low class people ARE more likely to use them, but even some high class people might.

BTW I generally fit square in the middle class by either measure, although I could probably pass as upper class either way. A LOT of movie stars would be considered low class by the old measure, and high class by the new, so the fact that they are taking drugs is understandable.

BTW NEITHER has any relation to jobs. Middle class/Upperclass are expected to work white collar jobs, but may not.

Claradoon,

Lawyers OPENLY view the bar exam as a sort of IQ test. They feel that passing it makes them geniuses! SERIOUSLY! That is true EVEN if they flunked it 30 times, and CHEATED!

At least we don't have the caste system! With class, anyone can work anywhere, and can move up.

Steve



Jacob_Landshire
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Gender: Male
Posts: 213

01 Apr 2007, 9:28 am

maldoror wrote:
I couldn't understand (and still can't) the class system. To illustrate, when I think about two people, in my mind, one of working class and one of upper middle class, and strip them of their occupation and education, I can't understand how they are intrinsically different. Something must have led to the difference of education and income, but I don't know what. Well-to-do people are often amazingly stupid, for example.


A person’s class can be surmised in many ways, but here are some major points:
  • How a person understands culture and how they communicate it is a strong indicator.
  • A person’s class is most revealed when they speak. What does he say? How does he say it? Talking reveals more about persons social standing then anything else.
  • A hallmark of being upper-class is not having to take any crap from local officials, like with zoning and permits for example. Even the police are reluctant to intrude on the affairs of the higher caste.
  • People in higher classes tend to be better dressed and better groomed then those of lower status.
  • Wealth and intelligence tends to indicate higher status, but this can be misleading. A filthy rich individual can be middle-class.


People are essentially born into a class. It’s a genetic/hereditary thing. Modern political and philosophical teachings have us falsely believe that environmental factors, like privilege and education, determine a persons social standing. A person is middle-class because, almost certainly, mom and dad were middle-class. Sometimes an individual can be born up or down a “class rank” from their lineage, but this is uncommon. And even rarer, if not impossible, is a person of upper-class quality born from lower class parents.

I know this sounds very elitist and some will get angry and passionately disagree with me, but its just plain true. I use to practically obsess over class status. I tried to figure out what I had to do in order to be considered a higher class. I would try to conceptualize the upbringing of the upper-class and contrast that to my childhood. I thought that it was purely environmental, and if the generations in my family that came before me had understood the upper-class ways of doing things, then I would be upper-class. It is this dogma of egalitarian thinking that so confuses people, especially in America where such beliefs are strongest. Understanding the true nature of class is much better than believing in fallacy and less antagonizing then trying to fit in where you can’t.


A highly recommended book on this subject is Class, A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell. Some of the books chapters were available on line at one time, but I can no longer locate them.


_________________
There is no reason to suppress a viewpoint unless it is true, because a false viewpoint can easily be combated with facts and logic, while the truth cannot be combated except by lies which are vulnerable to refutation.


SteveK
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,417
Location: Chicago, IL

01 Apr 2007, 9:54 am

Jacob_landshire,

I can take SOME umbrage with what you say. People are "born into a class" because that is what they start with and, whether money or culture, they will likely be afforded the same opportunity as their parents. That CAN be affected by a lot of criteria though. My fathers family, and maybe my mothers, certainly had more money, and perhaps better upbringing.

Even a POOR person can communicate well, etc... A LOT of rich people don't.

As for "taking crap" from local officials, in most cases a higher class person WILL work through channels to take care of it. Rodney Dangerfield in "back to school" played a LOW CLASS jerk that happened to have money. Although, granted, his business teacher there was an idiot that thought he was high class.

As for intelligence and wealth? I only WISH that was true. A lot of rich people today have NO class.

Steve



SeriousGirl
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Mar 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,067
Location: the Witness Protection Program

01 Apr 2007, 10:15 am

I refuse to let the construct of "class" define me or how I deal with others. I don't suffer fools gladly, no matter what perceived class they belong to.


_________________
If the topic is small, why talk about it?


KimJ
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 10 Jun 2006
Age: 50
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,540
Location: Arizona

01 Apr 2007, 10:34 am

I don't like the class system either. It brings a lot of assumptions with it, akin to racism. I was college-educated but never moved up the social ladder, and thus treated like a low-life.

I know people that have passed the bar, and people that were professors that didn't project their elevation of class. They are made uncomfortable. Being a lawyer or professor doesn't automatically assign upper middle class, you have to adopt and maintain some amount of egotism and condescension for recognition. I dated one that was embarassed to be addressed by anything other than his first name.

On the other hand, there are people that will lord over their Bachelor's degree in order to win an argument. And there are people that think once you get a degree, you should follow through and climb the social ladder. I got my BA and kept working as an aide in a nursing home. I'd get treated like crap for the job, but my coworkers were incredulous that I stayed, "when I could have done better".

There are also people who deny their class, not out of ignorance but some kind of bogus morality. They are middle class, inherit their family fortunes, but go on and on about "struggling to make ends meet" "just one of the folks" etc. I don't like this because they ignore that they are priviledged and they belittle the people who really are hungry, homeless and the working poor.



unnamed
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Feb 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 622

01 Apr 2007, 10:49 am

I can't read subtle facial expressions or body language worth a toot, but I can somehow usually distinguish between genuinely friendly vibes and fake vibes. I think it's extremely amusing that many NTs in my neighborhood will avoid a checkout line in which the cashier is an immigrant with a heavy accent, and yet I go out of my way to get in their line because they're usually so friendly and patient! I spent a wonderful 2 years as a volunteer, teaching English as a Second Language to Latino/a immigrants in my community. That was the first time in my life I'd ever felt welcomed, accepted, and appreciated by any group of people. I've never had a notion of class distinction anyway, and I never felt any kind of cultural or socio-economic barriers between us. It was good for me to get up in front of a group and do my best to help them without giving way to my social paranoia and fear that someone would think I was "stupid." The pivotal moment came early in the first semester. I was staring right at a taped-up sign with an arrow pointing down that said "use these wipes to erase the board," and I kept saying "where is the eraser?" These folks spoke very little English, but they still figured out what was going on, and they all just busted out laughing. I felt that old terror knot up in my stomach, but when I got up the nerve to look out at them, I saw by the looks on their faces that they were just laughing because it was funny, not because they were passing judgement on me (like someone of a higher "class" probably would have done). Those people taught me the difference between social "rank" and real class.



SteveK
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,417
Location: Chicago, IL

01 Apr 2007, 10:54 am

SeriousGirl and kimj,

Frankly, I have known billionares, and people that were happy to have $20,000/year(That was little more than 1/2 the national average, and close to poverty level) working a menial job. Some of the people I least respect are millionares(And HECK, I don't respect billgates or steve jobs!), and some of the people I most respect are poor. As I said, TRUE class(by the old measure) has no relationship to wealth.

And the idea that a Bachelor's degree by itself means ANYTHING is ridiculous. It isn't the slip of paper, but what you actually know that means something.

I have to laugh every time they give some idiot an "honorary degree", and they advertise this person as somehow instantly being smarter and more respected. People may refer to that degree for the rest of their lives. That degree means NOTHING to them in reality. It is just a token gesture and is mere paper. Giving them that degree, however, devalues all the other degrees, and lends suspicion to them. The ones others paid for and worked hard for.

Besides, a Bachelor's degree in Math doesn't mean you know anything about psychology. A masters in psychology from a lesser school may not mean as much as a Bachelor's degree from a better one. I even met a person with a masters degree in ENGLISH who had VERY bad grammer. Even HE freely admitted it!

Steve