Culture of Class http://michiganradio.org en A recap of Michigan Radio's "Culture of Class" series http://michiganradio.org/post/recap-michigan-radios-culture-class-series <p>From November 14 through November 23, Michigan Radio reporters explored social class in our society.</p><p>We looked at how social class is defined, how people relate to it, and the diverse ways it affects our daily lives.</p><p>In case you missed any of these stories, here is a brief rundown of the topics we explored. Mon, 28 Nov 2011 16:52:57 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 5109 at http://michiganradio.org A recap of Michigan Radio's "Culture of Class" series The Culture of Class (an audio documentary) http://michiganradio.org/post/culture-class-audio-documentary <p>If you think about it, class is a tricky word. What does it even mean? How do you define it?</p><p>Michigan Radio reporters and producers take a look at how social class impacts our lives - from the way we plan our cities and neighborhoods, to the way we&rsquo;re treated in a courtroom.</p><p>We also hear from folks around the state as they share their thoughts on class.</p><p><strong>Part 1</strong></p><p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-994889.mp3</p><p>This idea of class &ndash; class warfare, class resentment. It&rsquo;s everywhere. And yet, how are we defining class?</p><p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 19:06:43 +0000 Jennifer Guerra, Zoe Clark & Mercedes Mejia 5121 at http://michiganradio.org The Culture of Class (an audio documentary) How the media portrays class http://michiganradio.org/post/how-media-portrays-class <p>From the Bradys to the Cosbys, most of us can probably name several television families... some middle class, some working class and some decidedly upper class. But, how do media portrayals of these families affect our ideas about class... and ourselves? We asked Susan Douglas, <a href="http://www.susanjdouglas.com/">author </a>and <a href="http://www.comm.lsa.umich.edu/blog/?tag=susan-douglas">professor of Communication Studies</a> at the University of Michigan, just that question.</p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 13:45:55 +0000 Jennifer White & Zoe Clark 5117 at http://michiganradio.org How the media portrays class Rethinking what - and where - "the good life" is http://michiganradio.org/post/rethinking-what-and-where-good-life <p>For a lot of people, living the good life in America means having money in the bank, and a big house on a suburban cul-de-sac.</p><p>But in a little corner of Detroit, there&#39;s a group of neighbors who say you don&rsquo;t need to be middle class to live a good, prosperous, dignified life.</p><p>When Riet Schumack moved to Detroit&rsquo;s Brightmoor neighborhood, in 2006, she found herself surrounded by blight, drug crime, prostitution, and illegal dumping.</p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 09:00:00 +0000 Sarah Hulett 5115 at http://michiganradio.org Rethinking what - and where - "the good life" is Debtors pay... or stay in jail http://michiganradio.org/post/debtors-pay-or-stay-jail <p><strong>Debtor&#39;s Prison</strong></p><p>When you step into a Michigan courtroom, crime is supposed to be crime, regardless of social class. But whether you go home or go to jail&nbsp; sometimes depends on whether you have money.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s say you&rsquo;re one of the many thousands of people in Michigan who&rsquo;s unemployed. Or, you&rsquo;re working in a job that doesn&rsquo;t cover your bills. Like your rent or mortgage. Or, like child support.</p><p>And if you don&rsquo;t have the money to pay those bills,&nbsp; you might end up in court. Selesa Likine did. Her husband divorced her. He got custody of the kids.&nbsp; She lost her home. Likine, who had worked as a realtor, was ordered to pay $1,100 a month in child support. She couldn&rsquo;t pay it&nbsp; and the court was not allowed to hear why. So she spent 43 days in the Oakland County Jail.</p><p>&ldquo;The jury in the case never heard that during the period when she wasn&rsquo;t paying the child support, she was institutionalized with schizo-affective disorder, was declared totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, lost her realtors&rsquo; license, was unable to work, and was subsisting on disability income,&rdquo; says David Moran, co-director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic.</p><p>Moran took over Likine&rsquo;s Case. In October, Moran and the American Civil Liberties Union asked the Michigan Supreme Court for a new trial. They say what happened to Likine is no different than a debtor&rsquo;s prison &ndash; sort of like Dickensian days, when poor people who owed money were thrown into jail.</p><p>Likine, who&rsquo;s in her 40s, lives with her mother now. She takes medicine for her mental illness and says she&#39;s stable. But she&rsquo;s not optimistic about her future. She doesn&rsquo;t think anyone will want to hire her because she&rsquo;s a felon. Tue, 22 Nov 2011 15:09:29 +0000 Rina Miller 5101 at http://michiganradio.org Debtors pay... or stay in jail Class and the courts http://michiganradio.org/post/class-and-courts <p>There, perhaps, is no moment in life when the difference in class is more apparent than when you are accused of a crime.&nbsp; The wealthy hire the best lawyer they can.&nbsp; If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided.&nbsp; But, the kind of attorney you get in Michigan all depends on where you live.</p> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 4933 at http://michiganradio.org Class and the courts Using the arts to level the playing field http://michiganradio.org/post/using-arts-level-playing-field <p>Michigan&rsquo;s economy is steadily becoming more &quot;knowledge-based&quot; than &quot;factory-based.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>That means, in order to land a job and earn a decent salary, a college degree is that much more crucial. But for many lower income kids, higher ed is out of reach. But an arts group in Detroit is helping to level the playing field among teenagers...with very real results.</p><p><strong>Using the arts as a &quot;hook&quot;</strong></p> Fri, 18 Nov 2011 14:56:21 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 5055 at http://michiganradio.org Using the arts to level the playing field Listener Mailbag: What you are saying about our “Culture of Class” series http://michiganradio.org/post/listener-mailbag-what-you-are-saying-about-our-%E2%80%9Cculture-class%E2%80%9D-series <p>We&rsquo;ve been reading all your comments on our Culture of Class series (<a href="https://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/form/changing-gears/8f3d052610d8/how-does-socio-economic-class-affect-you-or-life-in-michigan">If we haven&rsquo;t heard from you tell us your thoughts</a>).</p><p>We&rsquo;ve heard from people who have enjoyed the pieces and those who have offered, well, constructive criticism.</p> Fri, 18 Nov 2011 14:03:54 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 5053 at http://michiganradio.org Listener Mailbag: What you are saying about our “Culture of Class” series The myth of "Upward Mobility" http://michiganradio.org/post/myth-upward-mobility <p>Upward mobility: the idea that, if you work hard enough, you can climb the class ladder. It&#39;s part of the American Dream, right? That you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps, that you can make a better life for yourself, that your children and grandchildren will have a better life than you do.</p><p>But, the fact is, upward mobility in the U.S. is just <em>not </em>that easy. And, it doesn&#39;t happen nearly as much as many American believe.</p><p>As part of our <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/topic/culture-class"><em>The Culture of Class</em></a> series, we spoke to Economics Professor Steven Haider, of Michigan State University, about why the myth of upward mobility exists and why Americans, in particular, are so apt to believe in it.</p><p><em>Inform our coverage: <a href="https://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/form/changing-gears/8f3d052610d8/how-does-socio-economic-class-affect-you-or-life-in-michigan">Do you believe in upward mobility</a>?</em></p><p> Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:52:59 +0000 Christina Shockley & Zoe Clark 5051 at http://michiganradio.org The myth of "Upward Mobility" Essay: Class Warfare, Codified http://michiganradio.org/post/essay-class-warfare-codified <p>When I was growing up, I knew a lot of kids whose fathers didn&#39;t earn a living working in the bowels of a factory like my dad.<br /><br />Their dads were businessmen, doctors and bankers, but our families lived blocks away, not suburbs apart. So all of us kids attended the same schools. We cheered together at football games, discoed at the same dances and had the same teacher for algebra. Our parents didn&#39;t mingle much, but most of them voted for school levies and showed up for the junior class plays.<br /><br />This is not to suggest I never felt the sting of inferiority. A working-class kid is always aware of other kids&#39; economic advantages, but most of the time they were irrelevant. We were in the thick of it &mdash; together. Plodding side by side through life at a young age teaches us that people have more in common than they sometimes want to believe. Thu, 17 Nov 2011 19:00:01 +0000 Connie Schultz 5042 at http://michiganradio.org Essay: Class Warfare, Codified Bridging the Gap Between Benton Harbor and St. Joseph http://michiganradio.org/post/bridging-gap-between-benton-harbor-and-st-joseph <p>We&#39;ve been talking a lot about class, what it means, and how we define it.</p><p>We took a trip to St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. They&rsquo;re called the Twin Cities, but they&#39;re different.</p><p>In Benton Harbor forty-three percent of families live below the poverty line.</p><p>In St. Joseph it&rsquo;s six percent.</p><p>And, families in St. Joseph earn more than twice as much as their neighbors across the river.</p><p>Here&#39;s a video produced by Meg Cramer and Mercedes Mejia who spoke to residents on both sides of the river.</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3_SAwMzY8I</p><p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 16:49:56 +0000 Mercedes Mejia 5035 at http://michiganradio.org Bridging the Gap Between Benton Harbor and St. Joseph Detroit residents consider Marathon buyout offers (part 2) http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-residents-consider-marathon-buyout-offers-part-2 <p>Michigan&rsquo;s only oil refinery is in the middle of a $2 billion dollar expansion project. Marathon Petroleum is expanding its refinery in southwest Detroit to process more heavy crude oil from Canada.</p><p>That expansion project is moving the footprint of Marathon&rsquo;s refinery closer to people&rsquo;s homes, especially the Oakwood Heights neighborhood in Southwest Detroit. A couple weeks ago, the company made a big announcement. Marathon is offering to buy about 350 homes in Oakwood Heights. The company is offering a minimum of $40,000 dollars plus half of what the home appraises for. There&rsquo;s also money to help people relocate.</p><p><em>&ldquo;We think it&rsquo;s a very generous program. We think the neighborhood is going to be very happy with it.&rdquo;</em></p><p>Tracy Case is with Marathon. He says the company is planning to demolish the homes it buys and create about a hundred acres of green space next to its refinery.</p><p><em>&ldquo;You know, I think if you asked anybody in industry, or if you asked anybody that lives next to industry, they&rsquo;d say yeah, that&rsquo;s a good thing to have, to have the green space.&rdquo;</em></p><p>He says the program is voluntary and no one will be forced to move.</p><p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 15:17:15 +0000 Rebecca Williams 5036 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit residents consider Marathon buyout offers (part 2) Investing in early childhood education http://michiganradio.org/post/investing-early-childhood-education <p>When Governor Rick Snyder talks about education in the state, he doesn&rsquo;t talk in terms of K-12 but rather P-20 education. He describes it as pre-natal through post-graduate.</p><p><strong>Early education increasingly considered key to future success</strong></p><p>Susan Neuman is a Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Michigan. She served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education from 2001-2003. (<a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~sbneuman/">You can read more about her work in early childhood development here.)</a></p><p>Neuman says she can measure an achievement gap between children as early as 9 months. She says&nbsp;birth through age&nbsp;three turns out to be pretty crucial for a child&rsquo;s future. &ldquo;This is when brain development is increasing at an enormous rate,&rdquo; Nueman said. <em>&ldquo;This is when language development is spurting this is when cognitive development and this is when our belief in ourselves is developing.&rdquo;</em></p><p>Nueman says the best early childhood education programs are those that strengthen a parent&rsquo;s ability to become their child&rsquo;s best teacher in those first years of life. Thu, 17 Nov 2011 12:30:18 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5032 at http://michiganradio.org Investing in early childhood education Military service and the upwardly mobile http://michiganradio.org/post/military-service-and-upwardly-mobile <p>The country has been at war for the last decade, but less than one percent of the U.S. population has been on active military duty in that time.</p><p>That&rsquo;s a stark difference from World War II, when just about everyone had a relative serving overseas.</p><p>As part of our series on socioeconomic class, we wanted to find out who joins the military these days and why. And we wanted to know whether their service to our country can help them get ahead in life. Wed, 16 Nov 2011 12:00:33 +0000 Mark Brush 5007 at http://michiganradio.org Military service and the upwardly mobile Thoughts on 'class' http://michiganradio.org/post/thoughts-class <p>All this week, we&#39;re looking at how social class plays out in our everyday lives. Most folks agree that you can&#39;t talk about class purely in terms of income bracket - to do so would be one-dimensional. So, for our series, <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/topic/culture-class"><em>The Culture of Class</em></a>, we asked a number of Michigan residents for their take on the word &quot;class&quot; and how it applies to them.</p><p>You can take a listen <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/term/class-profiles">here</a>. Wed, 16 Nov 2011 11:30:22 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 5009 at http://michiganradio.org Thoughts on 'class' Mixing it up on the dance floor http://michiganradio.org/post/mixing-it-dance-floor <p>On the dance floor at Stiletto&rsquo;s nightclub in Inkster you will find nurses, hair stylists, factory workers, fast food employees, students, professors, and business people. They come from tight-knit neighborhoods in Detroit, ritzy enclaves in Royal Oak, and from university campuses.</p><p>People in their twenties dance next to senior citizens, and there is every shade of skin tone in this place.</p><p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-993440.mp3</p><p>The club&rsquo;s personnel manager Carolyn Sopko calls the crowd diverse and inclusive.</p> Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Kyle Norris 4952 at http://michiganradio.org Mixing it up on the dance floor Living next to heavy industry, pt. 1 http://michiganradio.org/post/living-next-heavy-industry-pt-1 <p>A little more than 50 years ago, Delores Leonard and her husband moved into their red brick ranch in Detroit.</p><p><em>&ldquo;I selected it because the sun comes up over there in the morning and I was thinking about my flowers.&rdquo;</em></p><p>They&rsquo;ve raised their two kids here and now they have four grandchildren and five great-grandkids and they all live nearby.</p><p>But she says on any given day... she doesn&rsquo;t know what she&rsquo;ll smell when she steps outside.</p><p><em>&ldquo;Sometimes it&rsquo;s a kerosene odor. Sometimes it&rsquo;s a horrible stench, like at a slaughterhouse. Sometimes, you&rsquo;re out in public and people will say, &lsquo;where do you live?&rsquo; And they&rsquo;ll say,&rsquo; oh yes, I know that area, that stench, I don&rsquo;t see how those people live there.&rsquo;&rdquo;</em></p><p>&ldquo;There&rdquo; is zip code 48217. It&rsquo;s a corner of Southwest Detroit packed with heavy industry.</p><p>There&rsquo;s the state&rsquo;s only oil refinery, owned by Marathon Petroleum. The salt mine. The city&rsquo;s wastewater treatment plant. DTE&rsquo;s coal-burning power plant. Severstal Steel. And many more.</p><p>Delores Leonard grew up just a few streets over, in River Rouge. She remembers asking her dad why people were covering their cars with tarps.</p><p><em>&ldquo;And he said it was because of the fallout, the pollution. Well, if they&rsquo;re covering their cars so the paint pigmentation won&rsquo;t peel, then what happens to the person who lives and who&rsquo;s breathing all this stuff?&rdquo;</em></p><p>Like Delores Leonard, a lot of people have lived here their whole lives.</p><p> Tue, 15 Nov 2011 05:18:22 +0000 Rebecca Williams 4987 at http://michiganradio.org Living next to heavy industry, pt. 1 How does an economist define 'class'? http://michiganradio.org/post/how-does-economist-define-class <p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-993738.mp3</p><p>The issue of class has been in the news a lot lately. From the &ldquo;Occupy Wall Street Movement&rdquo; which has snowballed across the country, to &ldquo;class warfare&rdquo; accusations coming out of Washington, D.C.</p><p>We&rsquo;ve also heard recent reports that show the nation&rsquo;s middle class is shrinking while the top earners&rsquo; salaries have skyrocketed.</p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 21:36:52 +0000 Jennifer White, Zoe Clark & Jennifer Guerra 4983 at http://michiganradio.org How does an economist define 'class'? Why is 'class' so difficult to define? http://michiganradio.org/post/why-class-so-difficult-define <p>The issue of class has been in the news <strong>a lot</strong> lately. From the &ldquo;Occupy Wall Street Movement,&rdquo; which has snowballed across the country, to accusations of &ldquo;class warfare&rdquo; in Washington, D.C.. We&rsquo;ve also heard recent reports that show the nation&rsquo;s middle class is shrinking while the top earners&rsquo; salaries have skyrocketed.</p><p>Today, Michigan Radio begins a new series<em> The Culture of Class</em>. Over the next week and a half, we&#39;ll explore the idea of &ldquo;social class&rdquo; and how it impacts our lives. But, first, we had to ask: What is class? How do you define it? We put those questions to demographer Kurt Metzger, who runs Data Driven Detroit.</p><p><em>Inform our coverage: </em><a href="https://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/form/changing-gears/8f3d052610d8/how-does-socio-economic-class-affect-you-or-life-in-michigan">What does class mean to you?</a></p><p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 12:14:52 +0000 Christina Shockley, Zoe Clark & Jennifer Guerra 4974 at http://michiganradio.org Why is 'class' so difficult to define? Class segregation http://michiganradio.org/post/class-segregation <p>The divide between the &lsquo;haves&rsquo; and &lsquo;have nots&rsquo; is not just a matter of bank accounts. More and more it determines where you live.&nbsp;</p><p>We&rsquo;ve all heard about racial segregation. Whites live one place. Blacks live in another. There are all kinds of ethnic neighborhoods. But in the last 40 years, racial-ethnic segregation has moderated somewhat--although it is still high. But socioeconomic segregation, segregation by class, is on the rise.</p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 4930 at http://michiganradio.org Class segregation