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Learning to Serve

Posted January 27th, 2011 by hansene

After reflecting on how I identify in the sense of social class, I have started to pay more attention to my access to wealth.  My immediate family is a low income family in a manufactured home neighborhood, aka a trailer park. My extended family, on the other hand, has an abundance of resources. I have been struggling with identifying as lower class, based on my immediate family, or upper middle class with this new consideration of my access to wealth through my extended family.

I paid the most attention to this predicament during the holiday season where my family takes part in the traditional gift giving and celebration with respect to Christmas.  Every year we make Christmas lists during Thanksgiving, and we email them out to one another so we have some clues what to buy. This year, I put a range of items that I have always wanted or needed, but they were too expensive for me to purchase on my own (or have my parents purchase for that matter). Nonetheless, when Christmas came around, I received many of those various things on my list.  This made me affirm my identity as upper middle class. The reason being, In my particular case, although my immediate family does not have the necessarily high income or go to fancy restaurants, etc. it is my ability to partake in the lives of my extended family members and experience an affluent through them.  I have gained an understanding and fluency of life of the upper middle class that I would not have been able to do without them.

As a result, I am left in a position to serve. Recognizing my status in upper middle class gives me the opportunity to serve others.  My problem now is that I have lived a life claiming that I was from a lower class family that I do not know how to do all that. I do not even know what it looks like.  So for the next two weeks, I am going to do a lot of reading and research, so that in my next article, you can see how you can serve the people of a lower social class identity.

Kameron Beeks
Community Relations Facilitator
Eastside and Co-Ops/RHA Liaison

The comments shared by the Community Relations Facilitator program are strictly the point of view from the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of UHDS. If this article has inspired a desire to dialogue, the author, or another CRFn and/or any Resident Assistant or Resident Dreictor  would be happy to participate. Please contact Victor Santana-Melgoza (, UHDS Multicultural Resource Coordinator, to assist in making arrangements.

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