Council Estate Stigma

This morning I have overheard one of those things that make you really angry. It’s called judgement. The workers outside my property (a leasehold flat) have taken to making an assumption of myself and surrounding residents based on the area we live in.

The area is 1 of 2 areas in Brighton that have Council Estate Stigma attached to them. There are and have been situations that attribute to the stereotypical view of a council estate. However I feel that it’s no reason to be a justification of judging me, my family and other residents.

‘Don’t leave that there, it’s ******, it will get nicked’ Well really?

I often get angry at the way I am thought of. Getting on a certain bus stop without my husband led to those assumptions I must be a single mother.

I live in a council estate therefore

I must get benefits

I don’t work

I don’t own my property

I don’t have an education past GCSE’s

All above are elements that others attach to a council estate create a stereotype that should have been phased out a long time ago. And I am getting tired of it.

(Not that it matters but I have child benefit and have had tax credits, I have worked since I turned 16 and other than maternity leave have never had extended periods out of work, I have a mortgage on my property and we have spent time making the place nice, I have a degree.)

I work hard to keep my business going (employing 6 other mums too), I work hard to educate myself, to grow my own business, to provide for my family. To have a good life. Yes I live in an area where there are lots of council properties. Does that make me less of a person? No it doesn’t. In fact it makes me want to do well. It makes me strive for something more. No stereotypes in my home. Not at all.

So when you ask where I live, come to my home, when you see me get on that bus, why feel the need to judge?

Oh yes and to those workman outside my house fretting about what may or may not get nicked please mind your language. I am trying to teach my daughter how to read, how to write and most of all how to respect those living around you.

Chelle

Manic Mama of 2, wife of shouty singer Gav, blog writer, stationery obsessive, bed jumper, Brighton based social media consultant and semi-pro writer

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3 Comments

  1. November 15, 2013 / 9:40 am

    Go you! My boyfriend is from a similar area of Brighton and when I lived with his Mum there for a year or so I received so many of the same comments! They actually had a lovely little house and are a great family. I saw no trouble around there, just judgement! Good for you for speaking out.

    Lyndsay xx

  2. November 15, 2013 / 10:00 am

    Could not agree more. We live on an estate which was formerly all council/housing association property and the assumptions are crazy. The sharp intake of breath when I tell people where I live, questions about ‘are you sure that’s safe?’ and even my landlord thinks I simply sit at home all day and don’t work.

    I feel your pain!

  3. November 15, 2013 / 2:04 pm

    Great post and I feel your anger!!
    I too live on an estate, and people automatically judge that I’m renting a council house, getting benefits and a single mother. When I’m actually married, own our house and recieve no benefits, my husband works and i work from home. Not that it matters or should make any differene if I was. Those who judge seem to forget that years ago a hell of a lot of properties were council owned, there grandparents probably grew up in one, but most of them are privately owned now though. I actually feel safer living on an estate and I know my elder kids are safer playing outside the front with neighbours, than if we lived in a well to do area by busy roads. It’s like we have our own little community and look out for each other here. Xx

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