Saturday, 30 January 2010


"Whereas many families on council estates are assumed to be working class, families who find themselves in hostels come from differing backgrounds, are judged on arrival and defined as being poor and subordinate thereafter as Matt was:

"You're stereotyped yeah, especially when you're in the system yeah. When the office worker first saw me she called me a 'yute' boy, a yute boy, a small boy yeah, a boy with a silver spoon in his mouth. She didn't know what I'd been in before. Because I look good they think I've got money yeah. The richest people wear the scruffiest clothes yeah. People are so small minded. Because we live in a hostel we live like a tramp. No-one that lives in a hostel is a tramp."

I was reading parts of my dissertation this morning. This guy was happy to speak to me. He goes on to say:

"The staff don't go on what we tell them, they go on what they see. To our face they say everything's alright yeah, then tell social services because we have a hi-fi, cpu and speaker: "They always put themselves first." Because people in hostels are poor, they're not supposed to have those things. Other people don't have these things but it's not a luxury, it's your entertainment."

Just as I was writing about the CSA, Phil, my lovely book mark follower sent me a text.

"By the way I read your blog. Get the flat super tidy to piss off council and then they can't say anthing about health and safety. hide your laptop and cds and put saver baked beans on the counter...first impressions count... x

I laughed because she's not stupid, she knows how society thinks of us. She knows how acutely we are judged. She knows that I don't quite fit the stereotype. It won't surprise you to know, many families wouldn't talk to me when I did my thesis. Even fewer invited me into their homes.

Next week there's a documentary on Channel 4, Commons in the Tower or something. Politicians are going to trade places with people who live in council estates like mine.

It is my guess that the programme will fuel the existing stereotype. Perhaps not, I've turned down two documentaries.

My blog fuels the sterotype (I smoke, drink, I'm depressed, the lift is a Toilet) and it smashes it (I'm "intelligent", "articulate", I get my full maintenance on top of my income support). I hope that by talking about money, I don't hurt any families, least of all, of course, mine.

Hurt the parents, hurt the child. Every Child Matters yes? Economic wellbeing is one of the five outcomes.

I shouldn't worry, hardly anyone reads this.

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