The WASP/Working Class Divide

I was having drinks with my friend Jackie a couple of weekends ago and we were talking about how we’re more aware than ever before of the pervasiveness of people who cannot take any personal responsibility for themselves.

They truly believe that their failures in life can be blamed on other people, rather than taking a hard look at how where they’ve ended up is a result of decisions they’ve made.

I thank heavens almost every day that I was born into an immigrant, working class family, even though it was not an ideal situation for any child for reasons I have gone into in other blog posts.

Lately I’ve really begun to understand that the adversities I faced have made me a very solid adult. Even though I grew up working class, it has been in my adult life where I’ve met and interacted with a lot of men and women of my generation who were raised in wealthy homes where they’ve never been told ‘no’.

Anything they ever want, is provided for them by their parents. Even in middle-age. They all have summer homes. They also have similar character traits. They are often really entitled, arrogant, delusional, smug, condescending, patronizing, indifferent and hostile to the working class who they see as “trash” and uneducated, contemptuous to those with limited education, all of whom they look down on.

But I’ve also noticed that they are often hoarders who consume constantly and are apathetic about cleanliness. They believe that what they want is what they should get and do not compromise or sacrifice because they’ve never been taught those skills from their folks.

Most of all, they cannot take any responsibility, ownership, accountability for how their actions disrupt other people’s lives and create chaos, insecurity, mental health problems etc. I have observed this personally, including from a woman whose massive WASP-y control issues affects every single one of her relationships, even with her own daughter, who under such constant, strict mind control, has attempted suicide more than once.

There’s a real arrogance to her actions, and she can’t see it because as I wrote earlier, she has never been told no, “you can’t always do what you want”, or been told that she can’t always get her way. She second guesses everyone, creates paranoia through mind games, playing people off of one another behind their backs and essentially never relinquishes control of how she believes a situation should be handled. It’s her way and her way only. She doesn’t care if her stubbornness will benefit anyone else. She simply wants to benefit herself.

It’s about ensuring that no matter what, she comes out on top, and gets her way, because she has always gotten her way. She wears people down, even her own daughter, to the point that they just let her get away with whatever it happens to be. They believe it’s easier, but when you continue to do this for someone, resentment builds.

She’s just used to this type of behavior. She was born into wealth, never faced any real adversity. There’s a real ego to how she operates in life.

I can’t relate to this mentality. I have not received a penny from anyone since I was 16 years old and from that time worked in odd jobs to pay my way through life. I do not have anyone to fall back on, or anyone to help me if I fail. Even if that isn’t true, it’s how I was raised to think. If I fail, it’s my own damn fault, but I also happen to know how to make compromises and how to sacrifice what I want to make someone else happy or to benefit the greater good.

Most working class people, even if they somehow transition from that class, never forget how for so long they went without, and therefore believe it can all be taken from them in an instant. So they kind of live like their poor still.

I remember in the 1990s when Canada was in a deep recession and my father was worried he’d have to close his barber shop for good. It was so bad, he even told us, his kids, to prepare for a harder road ahead. I don’t know what he did to keep that shop going, but he did it, and had food on the table every night for his family. That’s a real accomplishment to be proud of.

I think being raised working class builds character, because what one has achieved in life one has built for him or herself, and therefore they have a deeper emotional range than those who weren’t raised working class.

They can empathize better, and they’re also so used to compromising and making sacrifices that they continue to do so throughout their lives, which benefits those around them.

Of course, there are exceptions to all of these rules, which I shouldn’t have to say, but in this climate of not taking any personal responsibility for anything, one now has to do so as not to offend.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I have a point here other than to write about an observation I’ve held for many years. I guess in talking to Jackie I was happy to hear from someone who shared that observation. It made me feel less alone.

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