About This Issue
By Kathryn Peltier Campbell, Editor
On an abstract level, the United States is a country
fixated on socioeconomic status. Americans routinely
note the growing divide between rich and poor while
immersed in a wealth-obsessed culture that those who
talk of “the American Dream” frame as widely
accessible. Yet on an interpersonal level, Americans
are quiet about class, a still-taboo topic in polite
conversation. This silence extends to the halls of higher
education, where belief in meritocracy and discomfort
with one’s status can quickly shut down discourse.
The history of class-based critique in education is
rich and complex. But as economic pressures and political
maneuvering deepen socioeconomic divides, it is more
important than ever that we all join the conversation.
Socioeconomic status influences where students are likely
to attend college and how they fare when they arrive.
Student success depends not just on programs and policies,
but also on campus climates—and new innovations
in liberal education cut across all these domains. By
opening the door to conversation, this issue of Diversity
& Democracy suggests methods to create more inclusive
campus cultures, while providing students with a lens
that enhances their ability to effect change, both in
college and beyond.