Class and Community Organizing

Class in Community Organizations

Class is not brought up as often as issues of race, sexuality and gender in discussions around Anti-Oppression, and yet can deeply impact how we communicate and work with each other.  The Class Matters website is a great resource for thinking through how class operates, specifically in the context of Community Organizations.  As one article notes, “often the paid organizers in low-income communities come from professional middle-class backgrounds” (check out the “What’s the most classist thing you’ve heard a liberal or progressive person say?” section!).

The issue of class came up in our second Portes Ouvertes working session while we were talking about hiring practices affecting the representation on staff and boards of the communities that organizations serve.  Some questions that came up to think through:

  • Where are you advertising your postings?
  • Who is most likely to see them?
  • Does your organization place a higher value on educational qualifications that other forms of experience?
  • And finally, how does your organization define who “fits in” with workplace culture?  What are the class implications of this?