Who Is the Working Class?

PRESUMABLY ON THE THEORY that no tree falls if no ear hears it, Americans curry a convenient deafness when it comes to class. A central way we make class disappear is to describe virtually everyone as “middle class.” A recent Bloomberg story quoted an amusement park worker earning $22,000 a year and a lawyer with an annual income of $200,000, both calling themselves middle class.9

I still remember my shock when a close friend, a professor married to a partner in a major D.C. law firm, referred to herself as middle class. At the time, she undoubtedly belonged to the top 1%. And that lawyer who earns $200,000 a year? His income places him in the top 6% of American earners.10 The working class is wise ...

Get White Working Class now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.