Thursday, 15 March 2012

Awareness of the Class Divide in America

The site that I have chosen to analyse is The 'Class Matters' site is a small one, which has little information about the organisation and its main figures involved, but seems to be very popular. As well as including a small section about how the slightly mysterious group has been covered in the media, a great deal of the content on the site involves surveys and responses from the public. This immediately shows us the democratic nature of the group. There is something very calm about this politically and socially driven group, which differs from many of the groups supporting similar things. They don't try and drag you into their organisation or demand payments for further viewing of the page which is exclusive for "members". The ethos seems simply to educate people about the importance of the Class divide in America in a relax, informative way, through articles and interviews that relate the situation to ordinary people.

The idea that the organisation is there primarily to educate people continues as you take a closer look at the pages' content. After clicking a link on the sites' homepage connecting to an article written to a member of the organisation you can see how little emphasis they put on the organisation itself. In this example, Betsy Leondar-Wright uses her own experiences to tell stories about how the situation in the lower classes is plagued with poverty and unequal opportunity. By writing in this way, Betsy and the rest of the site contributors create a more personal and relevant atmosphere for the reasons, informing them about the controversial topic that is the Class System, particularly for those in the middle class whom many of the readers will belong to, without putting them under too much pressure in an impersonal tone.

The site is divided into 5 sections exploring the different areas displaying the issues and questions surrounding the Class System. Within each of these sections are articles, surveys, interviews and workshops, as well as other things, which give the reader an informed understanding of every area of the Class System. The range of different resources offer not only interpretations about how Class has affected and continues to affect America, but views on the subject from people outside of the organisation. This is extremely effective as the reader doesn't feel swarmed by the organisation and can gain a genuine, non-biased response to the situation, as well as that that they gain from Class Matters.

The section that caught my eye the most was 'Class & Other Identitites'. The true personal nature of the site is identifiable as early as the first sentance in the section, which reads 'How do you experience class differently because of your race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, or other identity? What class dynamics do you notice within your identity groups?' Following this are links to surveys and interviews from Class Matters website visitors on a variety of ethnic, racial, gender and social groups. This shows how the organisation is interested in seeing how class can affect every area of society, and not just in the Poor, Middle and Rich format. They are trying to understand the complexities of the class divide and seeing how experiences change according to a range of circumstances. The people who we recieve stories from come from a range of backgrounds; such as Julie, 'from a working class background' and Chuck from the 'broader middle class'. This diversity means that everyone is able to visit the website and find it relevant and helpful.

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