Thursday, February 12, 2009

An Old Meme

This is an old meme meant to point out class distinctions and middle-class privilege.

I came across it a while ago, but being the blog snob that I am, I never completed it.  I was thinking about it recently when comparing my own background to that of my kids.  I'm going to bold the items in the first list, which represents my background, then I'll do a second list which will apply to my children.

1. Your father went to college

2. Your father finished college

3. Your mother went to college--she started an AS degree in accounting, never took more than few classes. 

4. Your mother finished college

5. You have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

6. You were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. You had a computer at home

8. You had your own computer at home

9. You had more than 50 books at home

10. You had more than 500 books at home

11. Were read children's books by a parent--not positive, but it seems likely when I was a young child. I became an independent reader very early.

12. You ever had lessons of any kind--musical lessons, alto sax

13. You had more than two kinds of lessons before you were 18

14. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

15. You had a credit card with your name on it before you were 18

16. You had less than $5000 in student loans--ugh...I try to forget those now that they're paid off.

17. You had no student loans

18. You went to a private high school

19. You went to summer camp

20. You had a private tutor

21. You have been to Europe

22. Your family vacations involved staying at hotels

23. All of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall before you were 18

24. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

25. There was original art in your house

26. You had a phone in your room

27. You lived in a single family house

28. Your parent owned their own house or apartment

29. You had your own room

30. You participated in an SAT/ACT prep course

31. You had your own cell phone in High School--uh..these weren't invented yet

32. You had your own TV in your room in High School

33. You opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College

34. You have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline

35. You ever went on a cruise with your family

36. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries

37. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.--didn't know how much it cost but was constantly being told we couldn't heat the whole outside.

Total score for me--9


Now for my kids, so far:

1. Your father went to college

2. Your father finished college

3. Your mother went to college

4. Your mother finished college

5. You have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

6. You were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. You had a computer at home

8. You had your own computer at home--not purposely, an old cast-off from a family member

9. You had more than 50 books at home

10. You had more than 500 books at home

11. Were read children's books by a parent--

12. You ever had lessons of any kind--swim lessons 

13. You had more than two kinds of lessons before you were 18

14. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

15. You had a credit card with your name on it before you were 18--never in a million years!!

16. You had less than $5000 in student loans--geez, I hope they don't have to take loans

17. You had no student loans

18. You went to a private high school

19. You went to summer camp

20. You had a private tutor

21. You have been to Europe

22. Your family vacations involved staying at hotels--sometimes, though rare

23. All of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall before you were 18--new, but usually Target, not the mall.

24. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them--yeah, right.

25. There was original art in your house

26. You had a phone in your room--once again, never!!

27. You lived in a single family house

28. Your parent owned their own house or apartment

29. You had your own room

30. You participated in an SAT/ACT prep course--probably likely, though they won't need it.

31. You had your own cell phone in High School--probably not gonna happen

32. You had your own TV in your room--another cast-off, no cable, just used for DVD's

33. You opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College--grandparents have started an educational fund

34. You have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline

35. You ever went on a cruise with your family

36. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries

37. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

My children's score--21

It could be even higher than that. Several of the items listed I wouldn't want to provide my children simply out of wanting to instill a work ethic, or feeling that teenagers don't need cell-phones.  Very dramatic difference.

Some of the items are clear indicators of class.  Others, I think can be attributed to the lower cost of items like computers, TV's and cell phones.  20 years ago those were high-price items. Now, relatively cheap versions are available.

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