Hidden Rules

Social Classes in America

  Poverty Middle-Class Wealthy
Possessions People Things Legacies, Unique objects
Money Use, Spend Manage, Budget Conserve, Invest
Personality To entertain, Humor valued For stability, Achievement Connections social, financial
Social Emphasis Inclusion of people you like Self-governance, Self-sufficiency Social exclusion
Food key question Have enough? Quantity important Like it? Quality important Presented well?
Time emphasis Present based on feelings, survival Future plans, ramifications Tradition and future
Education value Abstractly but not as reality For relationships, success, money Make & maintain connections
Destiny Cannot do much to affect chance Can choose, change future Continue traditions
Language For survival For negotiation For networking
Family structure Tends to be matriarchal Tends to be patriarchal Depends on who has money
World view Local setting National International
Love based on If liked Achievement Social standing & connections
Driving force Survival, relationships, entertainment Work, achievement Financial, political, social connections
—Ruby K. Payne: Framework for Understanding Poverty