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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

steepholm
Oct. 17th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
Does the phrase "underclass" have any currency there, I wonder? I find it hard to believe that the kind of people Barbara Ehrenreich talks about in Nickel and Dimed consider themselves middle class, employed though they be. But maybe I just can't hear the phrase the way an American would.