[excerpt] Working-class cultures are very diverse — by race, by generation, by geography, etc. — and what's
alienating in one setting may be no problem in another. In my limited experience, middle-class activist traits
tend to be more alienating to older, white, recent immigrant, rural, and/or Christian working-class people, and
less alienating to young, urban and/or African American working-class people, who tend to be more cosmopolitan.
The syndrome I'm describing may be most pronounced between young white counterculture activists and older white
working-class people. But I think I can safely say that some aspect of PMC (professional middle-class) activist culture has seemed weird to
some people in every working-class community I've encountered.
We PMC activists have a tremendous resistance to seeing our own subcultures through a class lens. When I said in
that workshop that "tofu is a class issue," one participant said in a puzzled tone, "You mean because health food
costs more?" Whether or not there's an obvious connection with money or status, if these cultural clashes happen
across class lines, then class dynamics are at work. Of course there are also working-class vegetarians, Buddhists
and so on, and when they get culture-shock reactions from other working-class people, it's not a class issue. But
whenever there's a big difference in income, assets, education and/or status, then cultural differences become laden
with class dynamics.