Writing the Self Analysis: Socioeconomic Status and Classism

i) Normative Narratives

In Janaya’s blog post about socioeconomic status and classism, she talked about an experience in her first year of high school, in grade nine. A friend and herself were attempting to meet new people, and they began talking about where they went to elementary school. With no hesitation, she and her friend said, “It’s in the east end in the Windsor Park area” (Fraser, 2021). The other student immediately inquired if they each had a garage, and they promptly yes, thinking nothing of it. The fellow student began to call them rich; Janaya and her friend were very stunned because they never thought of having a garage could classify them as rich. Talking about the garage, Janaya said to her friend, “We are provided with that safety net from our parents whereas I guess he is not” (Fraser, 2021), understanding that not everybody is given the same things in life. Janaya’s story signifies that people often do not realize what they can make them privileged and a part of a higher socio-economic class; for example, in this story, it is something as simple as a garage. Many people can have different things and think of them as minuscule and normal to have, but that is not true because the socio-economic class can prohibit some people from obtaining “normal” things.

In Tadyn’s story, she initially talks about a Christmas gift exchange in her kindergarten class, and then it leads to her and her parents talking about different family’s financial situations. A girl in her class gave Tadyn a singular doll while most people got multiple little things. Tadyn gave the girl “some hot chocolate, candy Cains, a pair of socks, and a my littlest pet shop toy” (Martinook, 2021), not just one doll. She later went home and spoke to her parents about how her classmates were disgusted with the present she received, but and she loved it so much, and she “did not understand why they were so rude” (Martinook, 2021). Her mom explained that some people do not have as much to give as other people might have. As a little kid, Tadyn loved her doll no matter what and didn’t care that she didn’t get as much as some of the other kids in her class. I assume this was one of Tadyn’s first encounters with learning about socioeconomic status; her parents taught her from a young age that not everybody has everything that they have or what other people might have. However, the other kids in her class were “laughing at the present [she] got” (Martinook, 2021), which means they did not understand that the girl Tadyn wrote about came from a lower socioeconomic status than they did. Kids often assume whatever they get as gifts and such, others will get the same thing. It is seen as normal for a child in a higher socioeconomic status to get lots of great gifts, and not normal to get small amounts of presents. When people get older and more mature, they understand that this is not true. The lower and higher socioeconomic status will differ in what materialistic things they can afford based on classism.

In my self-story about socioeconomic status, I talk about a Christmas toy drive. I was young and in elementary school, dropping off toys to give to less fortunate families. At first, when my mom told me to drop off the bag of toys in the foyer, I did not really understand why but I did it anyway. When I dumped the bag of toys by the school tree, I looked at all the pictures on the tree, noticing it was families. I then realized that “I knew I was giving toys to other kids who did not have the luxuries that I had” (Hollstein, 2021). This was my introduction to classism and status. As a child before this instance, I did not think twice about other families during the holidays. Most kids’ norm is to think about their own family on Christmas and obsess over all the possible new stuff that they’ll be receiving. I now realize I was in higher socioeconomic status, so I was donating new toys to kids who needed presents for Christmas. Janaya’s, Tadyn’s and my story about socioeconomic class are all about realizing what classism is and who it affects. We all either mindlessly said or accepted something without even thinking then learned about others. For me, it was dumping the toys on the floor seeing the families the toys were going to; for Janaya is was when she said where she went to school and when she said her family had a garage, and for Tadyn, it was openly accepting a smaller gift from someone who didn’t have lots to give. The normative narrative about the socioeconomic class is that all people are given a chance to be equal and have equal things, which is not true, “class is about money and power” (Sensoy, DiAngelo, 2017). Janaya, Tadyn and I were all apart of this normative narrative because at first we all thought people had the same things as we had.

ii) Counter Stories

Francios’s blog post is different than mine, Janaya’s and Tadyn’s. He mentions that normally he and his brother bike home at lunchtime “for a bologna sandwich and soup” (D’Auteuil, 2021), but this particular day was going to be different; they were going to get pizza and a juice box at school because he brought a signed note. As he waits for the bell to ring, he drifts into thoughts about previous times where he “had walked into the office empty-handed and presented a note just like it, each time that I had been told no or apologized to and sent away, I wondered if anybody else had to do that” (D’Auteuil, 2021). Shortly after the bell rings, Francios lines up for his pizza and juice says his name and gets the items. He later hears his brother cuss at one of the teachers and sees him steal some juice boxes, so he runs to find him. His brother explained that when he got to the front of the line, they said his name wasn’t on the list. Francios then gave his pizza slice to his brother and went back to class. He “felt helpless at the fact that was just how life was for [them] … this was what [they] were born into” (D’Auteuil, 2021). Francios’s story is different from mine, Tadyn’s, and Janaya’s because he is on the other side of the socioeconomic status. We three knew what it was like to have things and not think twice about them, and something like a slice of pizza and juice from the school would be looked at as a simple small thing. But for Francios and his brother, it was a big deal that they finally got to have one, and when his brother was turned away, it upset him and upset Francios because they were often turned away. Francios’s story breaks the normative narrative because he is on the other side of our stories and tells his experience firsthand; he was not given equal things as other kids were because they were a part of different socioeconomic status.

Chapter 10 of, Is everyone really equal?, talks about classism and who and how different people are affected by it. It states, “Different class groups have different cultural norms and patterns associated with them” (Sensoy, DiAngelo, 2017). For example, this means that people in the owning class vs the poor have different cultural norms. Janaya, Tadyn and I most likely come from different class groups, but I would assume none of us are from the poor class based on our stories and how we told them, whereas Francios told his story through a perspective of either the working class or the poor. Chapter 10 in this book educates people on the structure of classism and how deeply it wedges into people’s lives. This chapter states an example of a misconception about socioeconomic status, which is, “We live in a classless society, and anyone can make it” (Sensoy, DiAngelo, 2017). This misconception/normative narrative is relevant in Francios’s story because, in his story, he stated, “This was what we were born into and, like many things that we had no hand in deciding (D’Auteuil, 2021), which proves that society is not classes. Francios experienced not having little things, such as pizza when other kids could, like Janaya, Tadyn and I, all because of classism and socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status and classism divide people, and many are either not exposed to this or do not believe it is prevalent in today’s society. All four of us understand the difference between class groups now that we are mature, but Francios was the only one who experienced the counter normative narrative.


Fraser, J. (2021, March 18). Self story #3: A day in high school. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://edusites.uregina.ca/janayafraser/2021/03/18/self-story-3-a-day-in-high-school/

Martinook, T. (2021, March 05). A Christmas gift exchange. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://edusites.uregina.ca/tmartinook/2021/03/05/a-christmas-gift-exchange/

Hollstein, T. (2021, March 12). The Toy Drive (self-story 3). Retrieved March 29, 2021, from https://edusites.uregina.ca/torrihollstein/2021/03/12/the-toy-drive-self-story-3/

Sensoy, Ö, & DiAngelo, R. (2017). Understanding Intersectionality Through Classism. In Is everyone really equal? (Second ed.). Teachers College Press.

D’Auteuil, F. (2021, March 09). Writing the Self #3: Pizza Day March. Retrieved March 29, 2021, from https://edusites.uregina.ca/franciosdauteuil/2021/03/09/writing-the-self-3-pizza-day-march/

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