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Translating class

I was reminded of how I have not been in America for a while when I stumbled on the introduction to a US senator's press release, about how educational reform is intended to "protect the middle class".

There's a phrase which would alienate an enormous swathe of class-conscious Britain. It left open the question of who could possibly be excluded if public education is for the "middle class". It took family members to translate for me.

The "middle class" is the 99%. The only people who aren't middle class, in current American political rhetoric at least, are the richest 1% of the population. Under the circumstances, it seems odd that there's still reason to use the word "class" with regards to distributions of Americans.

Comments

tisiphone
Oct. 16th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Actually, there's a good reason for this - it's not only political rhetoric that positions almost everyone in the middle class, but Americans themselves who almost uniformly identify as some part of the middle class. "Protecting the middle class" is the perfect American political lie, since everyone will assume it applies to them.
owlfish
Oct. 16th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
I've always known that most people in America think of themselves as middle class. But that's different from the realization that perhaps *everyone* does.