The Brilliance in “Blue-Collar Brilliance”

Topics: Sociology, Problem solving, Mind Pages: 2 (676 words) Published: March 3, 2014
The Brilliance in “Blue-Collar Brilliance”

As a whole, society sometimes makes many preconceived notions about people, groups and their actions or life choices. These accusations are wrong. Author Mike Rose reiterates this point in his article “Blue-Collar Brilliance” saying, “If we think that whole categories of people-identified by class or occupation-are not that bright, then we reinforce social separations and cripple our ability to talk across cultural divides.”(Pg254), he’s essentially saying if we as a society think that making social divides is acceptable then we only separate the classes more.

Mike Rose begins his article with two short stories to give a base to his argument that he will soon present. The first is about his mother Rosie who used cognitive problem solving and many other skills on the job as a waitress at a local diner. In the second, he tells us about his uncle Joe who moves up in the ranks of the General Motors Company from working the assembly line to being a supervisor. In both accounts Mike Rose tells about how; even though working in the blue-collar profession, his family members used their past experience and current problems to provide themselves with a “kind of rhetorical education”(Pg249).

Rose then gets back on track with his thesis idea, and takes a stab at society. His following argument leaves us with many questions. Why do we create the social biases that we do? Many people state that “we don’t know a man until we’ve walked a mile in his shoes”, but do we practice what we preach? Mike Rose tries to answer this by saying, “Our Culture…separates the body from the mind, so that, for example, we assume that the use of a tool does not involve abstraction.”(Pg250). So is it because an occupation incorporates hard labor do we pass it off as being a lesser of mental challenge?

Working in a blue-collar profession requires so much more mental concentration then anyone gives it credit for. Mike Rose gives many examples as...
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