What Liberal Classism Looks Like

BIDEN SPEECHWRITER: Folks, folks, malarkey, folks

JONATHAN CHAIT: a man of the people, the salt of the earth

AOC: colonization

JONATHAN CHAIT: elitist bitch


My mom didn't graduate from college. She was a waitress for most of her life. She's the mythical rural white working-class people like Chait are always talking about when they talk about us.

She's literally outside right now reading The Day of the Locust by Nathaneal West.

A sampling of the titles my mother, a working-class white Boomer without a college degree, has read so far during quarantine without difficulty:

Dune by Frank Herbert
American War by Omar El Akkad
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Humans by Matt Haig
Ubik by Philip K. Dick
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
Methuselah's Children by Robert Heinlein
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

She may not have a college degree. In fact, she lives on a fixed income and has very little money. She takes all of these out of the library. She’s undeniably a member of the rural white working class but she understands what words like colonization and misogyny mean because she’s just literate and makes reading a priority for herself.

That honestly has nothing to do with her class background. This insistent conflation of “working class” with “illiterate and ignorant” does no one any favors.