the Disillusioned kid: Chav War
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Friday, March 11, 2005

Chav War

I doubt it will come as much of a surprise if I tell you that there are a lot of things which piss me off: the war in Iraq, racism, violence against women, the inequities of the global economic system, the treatment of the Chagossians and chart music. It wouldn't be difficult to think of more. Over the last year or so I've written about a lot of these things here. One thing I haven't mentioned is the "chavs". So here goes.

For those of you who don't know what a chav is, Wikipedia defines the word as
a derogatory slang term currently in popular usage throughout England. It refers to a subculture negatively-stereotyped as being uneducated, uncultured and prone to antisocial or immoral behavior. The label is typically (although not exclusively) applied to teenagers and young adults of white working class or lower-middle class origin. A male chav is sometimes referred to as a chavster and a female as a chavette, although chav is typically used to refer to both sexes
Related terms apparently include barry boy (East Anglia), ned (Scottish), scally (Liverpudlian), scrote, scuffer (West Oxfordshire), spide (Northern Irish), and yob (or yobbo backslang for "boy").

I draw your attention to this phenomenon because chav hating has become increasingly trendy amongst many of the people I hang around with, even some ostensibly progressive types. To get an idea about the kind of sentiments people express check out this site which makes mine look almost positive...

Those of you unfortunate enough to know me, will be aware that I am about as far as one can be from the paradigmatic chav. Nevertheless I have a real problem with the wholly derogatory way in which the term is used. As I mentioned above, chav hatred seems to be particularly concentrated amongst the middle-classes. This should hardly be surprising. chavs are onverhwlmingly working-class. It is my opinion that most of the hatred directed towards them os fuelled by nothing more than good, old-fashioned classism.

This is acceptable only because of the extensive efforts to deny the continuing relevance of class in modern British society. Imagine if people openly expressed similar sentiments about black people or muslims or even gays.

"But wait," I can here some of you call, "Aren't we all middle-class now?" Which can only be responded to by a curt, "No." Even if you don't accept a Marxian interpretation of class focusing on relationship to the means of production, it is clear we live in a starkly inegalitarian society. Inequality has got worse since Blair ascended to power in 1997, flashy policies be damned.

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