Those who have little income or are receiving Hartz IV benefits and are therefore unable to get an apartment have not yet been able to sue. This is called classism – a form of discrimination that shapes society just as much as racism or sexism, explains cultural anthropologist:in Francis Seek.

Educated people are automatically more tolerant people? No, they are not, says cultural anthropologist:in Francis Seek. On the contrary: “We live again in a society in which class is actually important again,” says Seek in the 283rd episode of “important today”. Above all, it should be educated citizens who would exclude other people – because of their social class. Classism is therefore a form of discrimination, explains Francis Seek: “Many people are probably familiar with sexism or racism. And classism is discrimination based on social origin or social status. It is aimed at, for example, working class children, unemployed or homeless people.” Factors can be, for example, the school leaving certificate, a possible inheritance or the professional situation.

Social inequality in Germany is increasing

What sounds like something out of a Jane Austen novel is still firmly anchored in our society today, and it has very concrete consequences. Studies from the last year showed, for example: Out of 100 children of academics, 79 start studying, 64 complete their bachelor’s degree and six complete their doctorate. In contrast, out of 100 working-class children, only 27 start university, 20 complete a bachelor’s degree and two a doctorate as the highest degree. So the difference is significant.

“We also have the myth of rags to riches in Germany”

Francis Seek grew up in a Hartz IV household himself and is one of those two children who ended up doing a doctorate anyway. That is why this research topic is a matter of the heart: “I experienced what it means when you are labeled as antisocial or ‘lower class’ and also excluded.” Seek did it himself with a scholarship, which made it possible to study. The typical American myth that you can achieve anything with work also exists in Germany, explains Francis Seek: “Unfortunately, that’s a myth, because in most cases it doesn’t work.” It is therefore all the more important to become aware of how formative classism is for society. In addition, the topic must also be integrated into the General Equal Treatment Act, demands Kulturanthropolg:in Francis Seek.

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