If you mean poor, say poor.

Stop asking how you can get more “young people” to classical music, or “urban youth” (although that one is usually a progressive shorthand for “black”), or “non-English speakers” (they mean “Latino” here) … when what you mean is “people who aren’t rich.”

Non-country-club types. People with one car, that they bought used from a friend. People who have no clue what a “summer home” is. People who buy homes to live in, and not as an investment.

Note that this overlaps the majority but not all of the above more forthright categories, and also enormously overlaps some other ethnic, linguistic, and religious categories that do not function very well as progressive political arm candy.

If you mean “How do we get more poor and working-class people, people without as much money as we’ve got, to enjoy classical music?” then just say that. Stop talking about money and using the words “urban youth” or “non-English speakers” as a way to avoid saying “people without money.”

And stop saying these words to avoid admitting that there are some people in this world who share your current lack of melanin who are also quite disadvantaged. Those people might not function very well to make you look “hip” and “socially aware” in your social circle and may even be thoroughly and conveniently disdained as evil, but they count.

Unfortunately, for any and all of the above poor and working-class people, they do not overlap the category of “people who can afford to take an unpaid internship with their local city orchestra to help them do outreach to people who can’t afford to take an unpaid internship with their local city orchestra.” This is a self-referential problem. Donation-funded arts organizations often need people behind their desks who can cadge other people into writing very large checks. A machinist’s kid doesn’t have rich relatives he or she can hit up for big checks on the golf course, nor can they afford that internship. It’s a problem. I’m not sure how to solve it without organizations hiring or creating a patronizing “Chief Outreach Officer” type who is religiously or ethnically diverse enough to look good … but who is just one more guy or gal with college professors and surgeons for parents and who couldn’t understand the working-class or poor life if they tried. It’s a toughie. I don’t know if organizations that run on cultural capital can even manage to successfully communicate, as an established practice, to those who have none.

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