Filters for power are rarely presented as such.
What does it take to get certain jobs, to get into certain schools, to get into the ‘room where it happens’? A lot of times it’s not explicitly stated. A lot of times the requirements of what will actually get you these opportunities are designed to keep those who don’t already have access to money and power.
Professionalism has always confounded me. If it has nothing to do with how well the employee can accomplish their tasks, why is it a requirement?
What this can look like in practice:
- getting etiquette lessons so you send the ‘right’ power signals
- wearing the ‘right’ clothes
- having the ‘right’ vocabulary
It’s actually just elitism. These factors are all measurements for how much power and/or money you have.
cultured vs crass
Who determines what is art, and what is not? What makes the mona lisa art more art than this (it’s mona lisa makeup)? What makes Elvis a legend, but not the black church choirs where he learned his style? Why is ballet and opera high class, requiring formal wear, but house and hip hop less so?
Often times, what is considered high culture, good art, stylish, or fashionable, is arbitrary.
It’s a constantly rotating repertoire of ideals. I can’t be sure, but my guess is that it’s because once something that’s ‘high culture’ is imitated and trickles down to the masses via cheap reproduction, it is no longer seen as ‘exclusive’, aka only attainable by those with wealth and connections.
The goal is to signal your power, and once that signal becomes noise, it needs to be replaced with a different signal.
‘well connected’ or ‘from a good family’ or ‘from a good school’
Proximity to powerful people is an approximation of power.
There are those who seek confirmation of power before engaging in employment, education, etc. A check on network, family, or education is a check for power.
What this means in practice is that those who are not born into power or money cannot engage in these employment/education opportunities that would bright them more power and money.
A lot of times these filters legitimate sounding filters are rooted in elitism, and keeping power within certain circles.
Work is work.
Art is art.
Every person is an individual and shouldn’t be colored by those they do or don’t know.