Classism is prejudice or discrimination based on social class. This often takes institutional forms, such as denying programs to assist those in lower social and economic classes, or making assistance only available after jumping through some dehumanizing and demeaning hoops. Some of the more egregious examples are as follows:


Florida's requirement of drug testing for welfare recipients,[1] since stricken by the courts. Other examples include: ending the Sure Start[wp] program in the UK; repeated cuts to other public assistance programs; jailing the homeless instead of addressing institutional causes of homelessness. A recent lowlight was Hawaii state legislator Tom Brower taking a sledgehammer to shopping carts used by the homeless [2] instead of doing something practical like addressing the institutional causes of homelessness by introducing appropriate legislation.

One of the sick ironies of these policies is these are promulgated by "fiscal conservatives," yet addressing these problems in a humane, caring manner is cheaper than engaging in these punitive measures. An encouraging example can be found in Utah, where the state is seeing considerable savings by helping the homeless instead of jailing them.[3]

See also