Philosophers for Change

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by Henry A. Giroux

I have often thought about when that moment came in which my working class sensibility turned into a form of critical class consciousness. For most of my youth, I was defined by ruling-class types and mainstream institutions through my deficits, which amounted to not having the skills and capacities to do anything but become either a cop or firefighter. For many working-class youth, this is standard procedure. We are told that we are too angry when we display passion, and too dumb when we speak in the restricted code. Our bodies for both sexes were the only cultural capital we had to define our sense of agency, either through an expression of solidarity, over determined masculinity, or through a commodified and sexualized notion of the body. The message was always the same. We were incomplete, unfinished, excess and disposable. For many of us that meant a…

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