So I found a new blog to follow. Yesterday, John Scalzi published a blog post titled Why I Wear What I Do, in which he cataloged his outfit choices, as well as the privileges they confer and the privileges inherent to being a white male that allows him to make those choices. He was writing as a reaction to a post called The Logic of Stupid Poor People, on the blog of Tressie McMillan Cottom, who describes herself as "Woman. Friend. Daughter. Scholar. Armchair activist. Hell-raiser. Intellectual Catfish.* Not particularly in that order." She appears to post several times a month. I'm looking forward to trying to keep up with it.
Here's an excerpt from the post I just read, The Logic of Stupid Poor People, which explores the rational but hard-to-measure reasons a person living in poverty might buy something significantly more expensive than the most aggressive stoicism might require.
[...] Another hiring manager at my first professional job looked me up and down in the waiting room, cataloging my outfit, and later told me that she had decided I was too classy to be on the call center floor. I was hired as a trainer instead. The difference meant no shift work, greater prestige, better pay and a baseline salary for all my future employment.
I have about a half dozen other stories like this. What is remarkable is not that this happened. There is empirical evidence that women and people of color are judged by appearances differently and more harshly than are white men. What is remarkable is that these gatekeepers told me the story. They wanted me to know how I had properly signaled that I was not a typical black or a typical woman, two identities that in combination are almost always conflated with being poor.