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Old 09-04-2010, 01:52 PM
 
Location: London
1,068 posts, read 869,024 times
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Yes, he would consider himself working-class no matter how much he achieved in life as in the UK people are immensely proud of the social backgrounds in which they are born.

There was actually a high profile experiment where a young black child was taken from his underpriveleged background in Lambeth and given the opportunity of a first class education at one of England's oldest boarding schools. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2...hools.equality
Ryan Bell, dubbed in this article a 'Harry Potter for social improvers' excelled at rugby and came top in biology and Latin but sadly the whole noble experiment (or shameless publicity seeking charade depending on how highly tuned your cynicism levels are) ended in tears after a third infraction led to Ryan Bell being expelled from his education and sent home to return to life living with his mother in a bed and breakfast in Lambeth.

I missed the television programme but do recall the positive articles in the press around the stage all was going well and the clash of cultures was intriguing. Ryan was a popular figure at the school but couldn't get over the fact that many of the posh schoolboys at his boarding school were fascinated with his background and seemed to find it 'cool' that he came from a rough part of London. "Can you introduce us to some real gangsters?" they asked and perhaps it was Ryan playing up to an image of notoriety in a bid to fit in that led him to be expelled for drinking Vodka. What is certain is that though Ryan liked his fnew friends at the boarding school, he never wanted his two seperate worlds to collide and openly admitted he'd be embarrased to introduce his posh schoolboy friends to his pals in Lambeth ("They'd get eaten alive, he said") . The same would be true if that scenario was reversed and he said he would never like to see his friends from Lambeth turning up at the gates of his posh boarding school either. The shame of his friends watching him partake in the pomp and rituals that make up life at a top performing Private school would have been too much for Ryan ("My street cred would be destroyed", he claimed, or words to that effect). It seems that Ryan didn't want to abandon his identity as a kid growing up on the streets of Lambeth and I think that when it comes to a choice between roots and newly found success or opportunity an intelligent boy like Ryan would always put his roots first, no matter how well he acclimatises to his new enviroment.

What is sad is the fact that Ryan failed not because he lacked intelligence or that he didn't have the talent or application but on the back of a string of rather forgivable misdemeanours. However, such guinea pig social tests are not much of a revelation really. Given the backing and opportunity from a young age it's no surprise to find that a black child could perform and outperform many other pupils at a top ranking school. The media element added a touch of farce but if you fund education you reap the rewards and society saves in the long run. What this whole episode achieved is hard to say. The whole laboratory guinea pig test through the glare of the media can't be totally healthy for a child's educational stability though and leaves something of a bitter taste though in my opinion. Kind of like those mystery millionaire programmes where an indulgent businessman is portrayed as a saint for giving away a sum of money that is (to him) tantamount to loose change. "Gawd bless yer cotton socks, master".

Last edited by Fear&Whiskey; 09-04-2010 at 02:30 PM..
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
1,315 posts, read 1,311,513 times
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Default and include "British" Columbia!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iolo View Post
I am seldom in England. I do think you'd get a better picture of attitudes if you included the whole UK.
I just had to say because up here we have the British "class system attitude" and even West Vancouver city council talks about it on camera.
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:04 AM
 
174 posts, read 188,065 times
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Originally Posted by thedwightguy View Post
I just had to say because up here we have the British "class system attitude" and even West Vancouver city council talks about it on camera.
Good. The British class system is based on very long experience: people who can afford to buy their children success are not very nice , by and large, though their children do learn good manners at public schools, and sometimes use them even with ordinary people. Observe them drunk after, say, a Pitt Club dinner at Cambridge, or listen to them talking about 'chavs', however, and you soon know very well that these are not the sort you'd want your kids to associate with. A working-class boy sent to Eton would be like a black servant amongst the Eighteenth Century aristos - a pet at best. It's the poor that helps the poor!
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Howard County, MD
2,216 posts, read 1,265,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear&Whiskey View Post
Yes, he would consider himself working-class no matter how much he achieved in life as in the UK people are immensely proud of the social backgrounds in which they are born.
Very interesting.

As some of you may have guessed "John" is not a wholly fictitious character, but as close an approximation of an English version of my father as a could create. He grew up in a rough part of New Jersey, the son of two Puerto Rican parents, neither of whom fhad a high school education. My grandfather, worked in manufacturing- back when you could still support a family in that industry. They weren't starving, but they didn't have much. Anyway, my father received a scholarship to attend an elite Connecticut boarding school, the kind which essentially modeled itself after Eton. Afterward he went to Yale, and then earned his law degree.

He was a pretty avid chess player for a while, and we frequently discuss societal issues or interesting things we've read, but we can also drink beer and watch football, or go see summer action flicks. He's a well spoken, sensibly-dresses guy, but hasn't become a carbon copy of former classmates who grew up with money, and in casual conversation will still sometimes use more "ghetto" phrases.

My point is this: nobody considers my dad working class these days, and he certainly doesn't look at himself this way. I guess in England, class is more of an identity than an indicator of current socioeconomic status. A lot of people who self-identify as working class in England would probably consider themselves middle class over here.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:05 PM
 
Location: NJ
2,197 posts, read 4,152,487 times
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Originally Posted by Johnbiggs View Post
My point is this: nobody considers my dad working class these days, and he certainly doesn't look at himself this way. I guess in England, class is more of an identity than an indicator of current socioeconomic status. A lot of people who self-identify as working class in England would probably consider themselves middle class over here.
Working class in Britain is seen in some way as being more "real" or down to earth.
My families neighbor (in the UK) is an architect and one of the wealthier people in our town. The eldest daughter went to Cambridge and married into low end aristocracy. The mother likes to always mention that she is working class and that she is disappointed that her daughter has become a "snob" and forgotten her roots.
Financially they are middle class, the daughter has become upper middle class/upper class, but the mother has always held that it is better to be working class, as if it imparts common sense or some form of humility.

As someone mentioned above, the UK has a fair amount of reverse snobbery.

It's important to remember thought that it isn't an immigrant nation like the US is and while the culture may now be as mobile, there is less of an atmosphere of complete reinvention.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:22 AM
 
174 posts, read 188,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyB View Post
Working class in Britain is seen in some way as being more "real" or down to earth.
My families neighbor (in the UK) is an architect and one of the wealthier people in our town. The eldest daughter went to Cambridge and married into low end aristocracy. The mother likes to always mention that she is working class and that she is disappointed that her daughter has become a "snob" and forgotten her roots.
Financially they are middle class, the daughter has become upper middle class/upper class, but the mother has always held that it is better to be working class, as if it imparts common sense or some form of humility.

As someone mentioned above, the UK has a fair amount of reverse snobbery.

It's important to remember thought that it isn't an immigrant nation like the US is and while the culture may now be as mobile, there is less of an atmosphere of complete reinvention.
It's not inverse snobbery at all - it's a dislike of pushy, bullying snobs based on generation on generation of experience.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:13 AM
 
3,062 posts, read 3,990,413 times
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Originally Posted by AnthonyB View Post
...It's important to remember thought that it isn't an immigrant nation like the US is and while the culture may now be as mobile, there is less of an atmosphere of complete reinvention.
You are joking right? The percentage of immigrants per capita may be lower in the UK than in the USA, but to say that it isn't an immigration nation is incorrect. In 2001 in the UK, 7.5% of the population was born outside the UK BBC NEWS | UK | Born Abroad

In the USA (comparable figures from 2000) there were just over 31,000,000 foreign born people living in the USA out of 281,421,906 people or about 11% of the population. http://www.census.gov/population/cen...oreignborn.pdf

Both reports only indicate legal immigrants, and the US and the UK both have large numbers of illegals.

Additionally, in the 10 years between 1991 and 2001, the percentage increased from 5.75% to 7.53% and recent statistics indicate that immigration has increased by 36%. Immigration is currently having a huge impact on the UK economy.

'We must act now to cut immigrant numbers' - Telegraph

t/j over
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:49 AM
 
174 posts, read 188,065 times
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Dont forget that a lot of British people were born, of British parents, abroad. It has always been so, but is now being used to pretend there are vast numbers of 'foreigners' here.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:49 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Americans tend to round up whereas Brits tend to round down. In the US, the term "middle class" is used so broadly that it's meaningless. Everyone who is not a billionaire or on welfare is middle class. Brits are much more selective.

In early 20th century British usage, middle class meant haute bourgeoisie (business/factory owners), professionals (doctors and lawyers), military officers, and high civil servants. C. Wright Mills discusses such people in "The Power Elite," but to him they are the American upper class.

Brits round down because the demarcation of the upper class is so stark: you're either closely related to someone with a title or you're not.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:36 PM
 
Location: NJ
2,197 posts, read 4,152,487 times
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Originally Posted by sunshineleith View Post
You are joking right? The percentage of immigrants per capita may be lower in the UK than in the USA, but to say that it isn't an immigration nation is incorrect. In 2001 in the UK, 7.5% of the population was born outside the UK

:
No, but you misunderstand me. I'm not just talking about first generation immigrants but an immigrant culture. Here in NJ there are plenty of "Italians" who are second and third generation. I know people from the Carolinas who call themselves "Scotch-Irish" whose ancestors came over 250 years ago. Because every American outside of the Native-Americans came from somewhere else there the adoption of past familial nationality as ethnicity and culture.
On the other hand, the vast majority of Brits are Brits back for numerous generations. With Scots, who had less immigration traditionally (even though Eastern Europeans are beginning to come), even more so. My class in school in the '70s had one Hindu (India) one Muslim (Pakistan) and one Jew (me, father American). That was it for diversity and it was pretty much the picture all over.
Outside of the Irish in Glasgow, a few Pakistanis (the "Paki" store of old, no offense) and the occasional Italian ice cream shop owner (yes, my childhood was full of stereotypes), Everyone I ever saw growing up was gazillionth generation Scots. We didn't have much ethic discord because we didn't have many ethnicities.

It's just a difference of perspective. I find Americans of Scottish descent much more obsessed with their heritage and clan status than anyone I ever grew up with. Many American Scots will describe Scottishness as an ethnicity while Scots from Scotland will consider it a nationality.
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