Cultural deprivation


I have posted on this blog about the study of “cultural deprivation” as a sophomore in college as being my epiphany about what Ayn Rand didn’t tell me, and what was wrong about her philosophy. This was back around 1963.

It just dawned on me that there is probably still some literature floating around about this topic.

You can do a Google search on cultural deprivation theory definition. At the time I did this search there were only “About 1,410,000 results (0.40 seconds)” according to Google.

Wikipedia has a very short article Cultural deprivation. Part of the article states the following:

Proponents of this theory argue that working class culture (regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or other factors) inherently differs from that of people in the middle class. This difference in culture means that while middle-class children can easily acquire cultural capital by observing their parents, working-class children cannot, and this deprivation is self-perpetuating.


Some of the other Google references try to blame cultural deprivation on the parents of the deprived. This misses the whole point as far as what I studied. You cannot blame people for not teaching what it is that they aren’t even aware of. That is the self-perpetuating part of the Wikipedia definition. “Self-perpetuating” is not a value judgment on parenting skills, but it is a description of the facts of life.

If your parents didn’t educate you on cultural deprivation, then it may be that they were not aware of it themselves. Does it help to think about that to understand what it means for the cultural deprivation of others less fortunate than you. People whose parents have no experience nor any inkling of the importance of books and magazines in the home (now connection to the internet), can’t blame, and wouldn’t even know to blame their parents? This doesn’t even cover the fact that these parents are unlikely to be able to afford nor have the time to provide these amenities.

When you are working multiple jobs just to feed your family, and you are separated by distance from the support structure of the older generations of your family, then it is more difficult to provide these cultural amenities.

It is much easier for society to try to fill in some of what is missing at home. This is the basic premise of the Head Start program.

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