By Ivy Ken (auth.)
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Extra info for Digesting Race, Class, and Gender: Sugar as a Metaphor
What he says, essentially, is that people facing common conditions come to behave alike. He describes French women’s orientations to the rooms in their homes as another example: “Nothing is more alien to workingclass women than the typically bourgeois idea of making each object in the home the occasion for an aesthetic choice, of extending the intention of harmony or beauty even into the bathroom or kitchen, places strictly defined by their function, or of involving specifically aesthetic criteria in the choice of a saucepan or cupboard” (1984, 379).
In my reading, I see at least are three implicit definitions of this cluster of terms—two that deal with categories and one that deals with the larger structures or “systems” of which those categories are but one part. First, the most basic idea is that within race, or within gender, or within class, the categories that constitute these entities are “relational”: black is related to white; woman is related to man; and poor 36 Digesting Race, Class, and Gender is related to rich. ” The meanings of any one of these categories do not stand alone, uncontested, with nothing to do with each other.
Ensembles of people who make up a class series are not united by the commonality of their attributes any more than people who use electricity are. People in a class series are united by the commonality of the conditions they face. Establishing the priority of the common relationship and the resulting common conditions that a series of people faces is important because it helps us understand that people do not experience the advantages and disadvantages of class simply because they are alike. Rich people are not rich because they are smarter or harder working than poor people, for instance.