Link: The Mental Burden of a Lower-Class Childhood (from Sociological Images)
This part hit me especially hard:
But I recognize the sentiment expressed in the postcard — the ever-present possibility that you’ll un-self-consciously mention something from your childhood and be met with gleefully horrified looks and giggles, and not know what’s so funny about shrugging and off-handedly saying, “I don’t know if I really need to see a movie about it, I’ve watched my relatives do it tons of times” when someone suggests watching the documentary Okie Noodling. It’s an extra little mental effort you have to expend as you navigate social encounters, trying to imagine whether something as small as honestly answering a simple question like what was your favorite food when you were a kid might open you up to ridicule. It’s not really the laughing itself, which is often good-natured and comes from people who do honestly like you, that’s so bothersome; it’s the realization that you still don’t know the cultural rules, and thus can’t necessarily protect yourself from being laughed at even if you wanted to — or in my mom’s case, that you don’t know what it is you’re doing that makes you a redneck in other people’s eyes.