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post #201 of 345

When I was with xh we made between 30,000 and 60,000 a year. It was enough for me to stay home if we lived frugally and would have been a lot more comfy if we did not have debt. Which he did have quite a bit and it took us years to pay off...

We bought an 80,000 dollar house, drove a newer car, of course if I worked daycare would have knocked out what I made since I don't have a degree - so it made little sense for me to work.

In our area- it was considered middle class and we lived in a nice subdivsion... 3 br 1 bath ranch house

I dont know- I know living with less like I do now- is different than when I was with him... now I make way less than half of that- and that is including cs and assistance I get...

but I drive an older paid off car, and don't get to do anything- and anything- I mean drive twenty min to go hiking- is not in the budget.

 

post #202 of 345

Interesting twist this conversation has taken.  Everyone has been just about everywhere in life.  These are the kind of people I want my kids to know.  REAL people.  People who understand how to be.  I think I've said this before, but I'm blessed.  I'm blessed because all my hard work is paying off.  I'm blessed because I have what I need.  I'm blessed with a peaceful life.  And when I started making decent money again, I was  and have been blessed by all the people that money has touched.  I know what it's like to struggle and I know what's it's like to have more than I need.  And I refuse to find people less important than how I appear to my peers. 

 

I don't need to fit into with the right crowd and I don't need to follow the "class" rules.  I need to teach my girls to be gracious, kind and responsible.  Not just responsible for themselves but to all around them.  To me that means High Class. 

post #203 of 345

Maybe we should discuss (again) what constitutes middle class, upper class, low class, etc. 

 

Of course, there's the whole family size and COL factor.  $50K might be decent for a single person in Ohio, but a family of four in California may be around the poverty level and qualify for assistance.  

 

Clearly, the OP has decided $100k is Upper/upper-middle class for parents.  Not everyone would agree.  Plenty of families on that income aren't worried about making sure their kids know wines and such; whereas, I'm sure there are families making $30k who happen to give their kids the experience of horse back riding lessons or fancy dining etiquette, or whatever.  

post #204 of 345


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I'm sure there are families making $30k who happen to give their kids the experience of horse back riding lessons


 

Where I live, horse back riding lessons are $50 per lesson per child. Seriously. And they have to have equipment. I don't see how any body making 30K a year could pay for that

 

BUT I do know a teen girl (with a single mom who is a student) who trades for lessons. She spends time mucking out stalls in exchange for lessons. She also attends the same private school my kids do. She's on a scholarship.

 

I think that parents with tight incomes can make very cool things happen for their kids, but it's a lot more work for them to make it happen.

 

The more money you have, the easier it is to make the cool things happen.

 

I know a lot of people who make over 100K, and I only know 1 wine snob. She isn't employed and her DH doesn't earn nearly the kind of money that some of the people I know do. (her youngest child is 17 and she doesn't volunteer at school, so I don't think she counts as a SAHM any more. Realistically, at some point, it's not about spending time with your kids anymore.)

 

It's sort of odd -- in my circle, the more money and real accomplishments someone has, the less they care about status symbols.

 

 

post #205 of 345

OK, maybe the class division isn't so much income level as education level. I teach at an "urban" university. What that means practically is: We get a lot of 1st generation college students. We get a lot of students who are working 2 jobs to be able to pay rent and tuition, because their financial aid (most of it in the form of loans) just doesn't cover their costs. Our students are, by and large, incredibly motivated because many of them have spent years at physically hard jobs or really boring ones.

Quote:

Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I think it is so funny that you think those things are upper class skills. Most of the skills you list are common to all social class. I think what people are offended about is the assumption that lower middle class and poor people don't teach their kids to use manners, write thank you notes, speak another language, go to college, teach them about art, visit museums, travel, etc... I am sure there are some actual differences, but the one I am picking up on is that upper middle class and upper class people make a lot of inaccurate assumptions about other classes. Not that it is all sunshine and roses down on the other end but some of the assumptions are insulting, especially the college one.

 

People who didn't go to college do value college, for the most part. They do teach manners, etc. But first generation college students are at a much higher risk for failing or dropping out (yes, I have numbers to back this up). Why? Because they don't have anyone to help them navigate the system. I had one very earnest undergraduate in my office a couple of years ago. He was going to school, working night shift, living in a 2 bedroom apartment with his wife, 2 kids, and his parents (who were unemployed). He was failing my course because he didn't know how to write the kind of paper I was requesting. I basically cornered him and dragged him to my office because I didn't want to see him fail. He was in his last year of college and this was the first time he'd ever been in a professor's office! He'd failed a number of courses, not because he was dumb, but because he didn't understand that it was OK to go to someone's office and say "Help, I really don't understand this assignment." I need to teach that lesson to 2-3 students every single quarter I teach. And some of them don't believe me. And, alas, many of them don't come in until it's hopeless (if you've failed the first 6 assignments, it's too late. If you come in after the 1st one, we can work on it.)

 

Now, some students pick this up how to navigate the system on their own. But it's a lot easier with someone who knows the system to help you. When my brother (son of two teachers, one a Ph.D.) needed to get into an algebra course that was a prerequisite for the degree he wanted, he knew enough to contact the professor when he didn't get in, go to class on the first day and keep hanging around until enough people dropped that he could get in. He then knew how to petition to add the course after the registration period had closed. I've had students who have tried to register for a required 3 quarters in a row, but couldn't get in. They couldn't get in because they registered late because they had a financial hold on their records. Because they couldn't pay their bill (because their families couldn't help) and because they didn't know enough to contact me early on in the registration process, they graduated late.

 

The problem isn't that these students don't value education -- they don't know that there's a whole set of unwritten rules about how to get into classes that are full. Thus, they're at a disadvantage. They can't ask the right questions because they don't realize that there is another possibility. THAT is cultural capital. We have, in our department, started teaching some of these things overtly to both our undergraduates and our graduate students. Why? Because a majority of us believe it's unfair to students who come in without that cultural capital not to have the rules spelled out for them. Teaching them overtly levels the playing field. A couple of my colleagues don't agree however. Their opinion is "I figured it out on my own, why can't they?" (Interestingly enough, they come from more high income/highly educated families.)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post


Good Lord.  Thanks for saving me the Google.  I do meet the 'income requirement' for this thread eyesroll.gif and all that sprung to mind on this one was marijuana.

 


OK -- so here's a type of cultural knowledge that I missed completely because I'm an nerdy academic who just didn't care to party. And my parents were no help either. I know very little slang related to marijuana or other drugs. I just don't. And I really don't care to learn. Just like I really don't care enough about wine to learn. But, it does leave me out of a whole bunch of conversations!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

I'm truly dumbfounded.  I'll give you the international travel because that takes money, but public museums usually don't require admission, and it doesn't take any special knowledge to appreciate art.  And learning Spanish at least on a conversational level could be done for free and in many parts of the country could prove invaluable.  And sometimes those not in the upper class or upper middle class like to do things just to enrich their lives.


True, but if no one in your family has ever done them, if no one in your community knows about these things, how are you going to learn? You certainly aren't going to get this knowledge in the public schools any more because art, music and that sort of thing has been completely cut from most budgets, especially in really poor districts. In addition, at least where I live, public museums do charge admission -- up to $8 per person. There are free nights and there are passes you can get from the library. But, again, you have to know this, and you have to know how to navigate the public library system to reserve these (it's not easy). Even then, you're still going to need to have the time to take the bus to the museum (plus money for the bus fair for you and your kids).

 

My kids go to a school with 80% free and reduced lunch. We have a lot of parents who would love to help out at school, but they can't because they work odd shift hours or they can't get transportation to the school. It's that kind of life circumstance that prevents people from taking advantage of opportunities. You need to know the opportunities exist, have the time to take advantage of them, and the means to take advantage of them. I have spent a number of years beating my head against a wall with the middle class parents in our school because they keep saying things like "those parents just don't care". They do care, but the system is not set up for them, they don't know how to navigate it (many are immigrants), and even if they do, few have the time or resources to do so. And the few who do try are often put off because they don't know the unwritten rules.

 

post #206 of 345

VisionaryMom: Personally, I think if your kids have good manners, the ability to converse on a range of subjects (sports being a good one), strong self-confidence, the ability to observe carefully what others are doing around them, and the willingness to ask questions to learn, they'll have what they need. You can't teach them all they need to know -- not because you grew up working class but because you can't predict what they're going to need to know in the future. What they will need to know really depends not only on class/income, but also on where you live, and who your associates are. My in-depth knowledge of sports that I got from my family of origin is pretty worthless in academic circles. But if I were in business, it'd be a boon.

 

Thus, if they know how to learn, observe and ask, doing all of these things politely, they'll most likely learn to get along, no matter where they end up.

 

 

post #207 of 345

This is a very interesting thread. Thanks to the OP for asking the question. Not sure why people are getting angry as we all have valid experiences to share--except that I think that "class" in terms of financial capital and "class" in terms of education/cultural capital seem to be easily confused. "Lower class" is not necessarily an insult (although it can be depending on context), just a description of where one might be in our income-stratified society. I also agree with the idea that part of this whole question has to do with moving between subcultures, and that moving "down" can be as socially unsettling as moving up. 

 

I started out economically poor, but with some cultural capital. We always had enough to eat, but clothes were all hand-me-downs and I got free lunches at school. I went to a top college and I did have some playing catchup to do, particularly in terms of understanding my post-college options and the impact my undergraduate career would have. There have been some social norms that I have gained a better understanding of since growing up.

 

Now, in a much better place financially, I also understand what a frugal childhood taught me, and I hope to somehow pass those lessons on to my children. I think they will grow up feeling much less financially precarious than I did, much more comfortable being around people who are used to financial security. I still feel a little out of place sometimes, mostly because of an assumption of comfort that other people seem to have. And of course I want my kids to feel comfortable...but I also want them to not be overly entitled. It is difficult (impossible?) to find a balance between providing them with security and having them understand exactly how fortunate they are. I'm not sure they can fully understand their good fortune without experiencing the opposite. I have been asking sort of the opposite question from the OP: how can I get them to understand what it's like to not have enough or just barely?

 

Here's my response to the OP's question:

 

I think that certain broad skills will help your kids more than specific knowledge about wine, etc. Broad skills will help them "know what they don't know" and know how to find the answers.  

 

-They should be avid readers, because that will expose them to all kinds of worlds and ways of thinking beyond their immediate surroundings. They will absorb all kinds of vocabulary that would be helpful for say, reading restaurant menus.

-They should take a good survey course in the humanities at least once in high school and once in college.

-They should understand scientific principles enough to talk to a scientist at a comfortable layperson level. 

-Make sure they take at least one foreign language and gain proficiency in it as much as possible. 

-They should be informed about current events, from multiple sources.

-They should know that part of being polite is being genuinely interested in other people. 

-They should know basic etiquette rules without being overly formal. Know when to be formal/informal. 

-Spelling. Seriously, the written communication will get you every time, particularly misspelling words that sound the same but have different meanings (e.g. "piqued" and "peeked.")

-Have the self respect to know that as long as they are gracious, polite, etc., if someone treats them snobbily it reflects on the other person not on them. 

-Learn a musical instrument. We didn't have the cash for this when I grew up and I still regret it. 

-General understanding of what makes something high quality, whether it is clothing or food or whatever. Even if you can't afford it it is still nice to know.

-Travel and get out of their comfort zones. 

-Wine--Just drink some and find out what you like!  :)  Then order with confidence. 

 

 

 

 

post #208 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

Maybe we should discuss (again) what constitutes middle class, upper class, low class, etc. 

 

Of course, there's the whole family size and COL factor.  $50K might be decent for a single person in Ohio, but a family of four in California may be around the poverty level and qualify for assistance.  

 

Clearly, the OP has decided $100k is Upper/upper-middle class for parents.  Not everyone would agree.  Plenty of families on that income aren't worried about making sure their kids know wines and such; whereas, I'm sure there are families making $30k who happen to give their kids the experience of horse back riding lessons or fancy dining etiquette, or whatever.  



I have no idea where to draw the lines, but I read not long ago that median household income for my municipality is $88K. That doesn't suggest to me that $100K would be considered to be a very high income.

post #209 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

True, but if no one in your family has ever done them, if no one in your community knows about these things, how are you going to learn? You certainly aren't going to get this knowledge in the public schools any more because art, music and that sort of thing has been completely cut from most budgets, especially in really poor districts. In addition, at least where I live, public museums do charge admission -- up to $8 per person. There are free nights and there are passes you can get from the library. But, again, you have to know this, and you have to know how to navigate the public library system to reserve these (it's not easy). Even then, you're still going to need to have the time to take the bus to the museum (plus money for the bus fair for you and your kids).


We could talk all day about how life can be a struggle financially and otherwise for the poor and the effects of generational poverty. But that doesn't erase the suggestion that certain things like art and language have no relevance to the non-grad student kind of poor.

 

Also, where I live, the admission price to the state art museum is a recommended amount but not required. I've seen the same at other public museums.  It's the same at The Met (the art one in case mtiger is still reading) in New York, although I've never pushed it there. I've been plenty of times to the art museum here and donated little to nothing when I didn't have much. Plus I went to museums here all the time as a kid on free public school field trips. I was in New York City recently with my aunt who is very low income, and she got past the "suggested admission" at the American Museum of Natural History. Poor folks can be resourceful.  


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/22/12 at 5:31am
post #210 of 345


ooos! double post.

post #211 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

People who didn't go to college do value college, for the most part. They do teach manners, etc. But first generation college students are at a much higher risk for failing or dropping out (yes, I have numbers to back this up). Why? Because they don't have anyone to help them navigate the system. I had one very earnest undergraduate in my office a couple of years ago. He was going to school, working night shift, living in a 2 bedroom apartment with his wife, 2 kids, and his parents (who were unemployed). He was failing my course because he didn't know how to write the kind of paper I was requesting. I basically cornered him and dragged him to my office because I didn't want to see him fail. He was in his last year of college and this was the first time he'd ever been in a professor's office! He'd failed a number of courses, not because he was dumb, but because he didn't understand that it was OK to go to someone's office and say "Help, I really don't understand this assignment." I need to teach that lesson to 2-3 students every single quarter I teach. And some of them don't believe me. And, alas, many of them don't come in until it's hopeless (if you've failed the first 6 assignments, it's too late. If you come in after the 1st one, we can work on it.)

 

Now, some students pick this up how to navigate the system on their own. But it's a lot easier with someone who knows the system to help you. When my brother (son of two teachers, one a Ph.D.) needed to get into an algebra course that was a prerequisite for the degree he wanted, he knew enough to contact the professor when he didn't get in, go to class on the first day and keep hanging around until enough people dropped that he could get in. He then knew how to petition to add the course after the registration period had closed. I've had students who have tried to register for a required 3 quarters in a row, but couldn't get in. They couldn't get in because they registered late because they had a financial hold on their records. Because they couldn't pay their bill (because their families couldn't help) and because they didn't know enough to contact me early on in the registration process, they graduated late.

 

The problem isn't that these students don't value education -- they don't know that there's a whole set of unwritten rules about how to get into classes that are full. Thus, they're at a disadvantage. They can't ask the right questions because they don't realize that there is another possibility. THAT is cultural capital. We have, in our department, started teaching some of these things overtly to both our undergraduates and our graduate students. Why? Because a majority of us believe it's unfair to students who come in without that cultural capital not to have the rules spelled out for them. Teaching them overtly levels the playing field. A couple of my colleagues don't agree however. Their opinion is "I figured it out on my own, why can't they?" (Interestingly enough, they come from more high income/highly educated families.)

 

I'm not discounting the fact that first-gen low income students face some unique challenges, and I've read about some great programs that address the issue, but the significantly higher drop out rate can't simply be chalked up to lack of cultural capital due to their background. Often times it can be due to lack of money and to difficulty balancing work and school and sometimes children. And higher income students still drop out at a pretty high rate which often can't be explained by lack of money, so clearly they can have problems finding a balance and navigating the system too.  Large institutions can be difficult for many people to figure out especially when they're young, inexperienced, and/or have a lot of other things going on.  It's something I've seen students from all backgrounds struggle with and something all students could use some help with.  The college drop out rate is a costly problem that needs to be addressed.  

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/22/12 at 6:12am
post #212 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

Maybe we should discuss (again) what constitutes middle class, upper class, low class, etc. 

 

Of course, there's the whole family size and COL factor.  $50K might be decent for a single person in Ohio, but a family of four in California may be around the poverty level and qualify for assistance.  

 

Clearly, the OP has decided $100k is Upper/upper-middle class for parents.  Not everyone would agree.  Plenty of families on that income aren't worried about making sure their kids know wines and such; whereas, I'm sure there are families making $30k who happen to give their kids the experience of horse back riding lessons or fancy dining etiquette, or whatever.  


I also think there is a whole range of low-middle-class (maybe $25K-$60K, depending on COL etc.) where you are no longer technically impoverished but don't feel financially more well-off than the truly poor. It's in this range where you no longer qualify for any public assistance, trying to make ends meet without any help or any tax breaks... you still have to struggle to make ends meet each month, still have trouble saving up & getting ahead or paying for any extras, can't afford things that many consider basic -- insurance, phone/internet, legal representation, etc.
post #213 of 345

yes this- if I was to stretch myself so thin- work two jobs- etc I would not be any better off then I am now and I would not see my kids- at all. So I could get above the poverty level if I really really tried- worked 60 hours a week. But I am a single mom raising kids- So I don't.  And even then- with my earning potential I could make still under 30,000 a year.  And would be part of the working poor who could not make ends meet.

I tried to go back to university ( I have a year or two left for a BA) but it had been 8 years since I had been to school- I just did not get blackboard... I lived 25 min from campus...they put me in part b of classes I had taken 8 years prior- ( partly my mistake but really couselor!!!)  I did not have a computer- it was essentially ridiculous to try to go to school without a computer- and without ability to go to the library- because I had two small children.

 

I was taking 300 and 400 level classes after being out of college for 8 years. I should have eased into it took some electives.... but essentially all I did was waste a pell grant.  I had to withdraw.

 

I do plan to go to the community college and try to take some classes- but my degree was in psychology.... lol.  So I don't really see a bachelors in it lifting us out of poverty instantly.

 

Now to put this into the mix. My son is gifted. And I want him to succeed.... I can see him as a professor in a college.  Since I come from a family of people that have this knowledge- ( golf) lol.... I believe when he gets a bit older I will send him to his city cousins to learn these things and ways of life since I don't live them.

I see my dd as a nurse of midwife.  Or movie star ;)

 

This thread is interesting since I am a part of both worlds- and I feel I navigate both just fine.  I have very very poor friends and very very wealthy family.

I feel more at home with regular people tho- not pretentious ones and most of my well off family is not pretentious and most of my friends are not ignorant. There are exceptions to this rule.

post #214 of 345

Also, I just wanted to point out that Pell grants do not have a specific income limit of $50,000 as was previously suggested, and you don't automatically get one if you make up to that amount or any other.  You have to demonstrate significant need.  There's a formula used that determines eligibility based on things like income, assets, number of children in the household, number of children attending college, etc. You have to be pretty low-income to get one.  

 

 

post #215 of 345


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

Also, I just wanted to point out that Pell grants do not have a specific income limit of $50,000 as was previously suggested, and you don't automatically get one if you make up to that amount or any other.  You have to demonstrate significant need.  There's a formula used that determines eligibility based on things like income, assets, number of children in the household, number of children attending college, etc. You have to be pretty low-income to get one.  

 

 



Yup, and they don't have pell grants for anything above undergraduate level coursework. With rising tuition costs, Pell grants don't defray very much cost either, especially at a 4 year school. At community colleges they can put a serious dent in the cost, but still don't cover everything.

post #216 of 345

 

Also, here's a US News & World Report table showing the percentage of students receiving a Pell grant at the top 25 ranked universities in the country. It ranges from 37% at UCLA to 7% at Washington University in St. Louis (which is the only one that low perhaps because of the high cost but low name recognition).  The article states that Pell grants usually go to those making under $20,000. Considering that, I'd say low-income folks are represented pretty well on the campuses of the most highly selective schools.  

 

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/economic-diversity-among-top-ranked-schools

  
Sorry for the serial posting, but some of the generalizations and assumptions on this thread have really gotten under my skin. 
post #217 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post


We could talk all day about how life can be a struggle financially and otherwise for the poor and the effects of generational poverty. But that doesn't erase the suggestion that certain things like art and language have no relevance to the non-grad student kind of poor.

 

Also, where I live, the admission price to the state art museum is a recommended amount but not required. I've seen the same at other public museums.  It's the same at The Met (the art one in case mtiger is still reading) in New York, although I've never pushed it there. I've been plenty of times to the art museum here and donated little to nothing when I didn't have much. Plus I went to museums here all the time as a kid on free public school field trips. I was in New York City recently with my aunt who is very low income, and she got past the "suggested admission" at the American Museum of Natural History. Poor folks can be resourceful.  

 

*I* never said that languages and art don't have relevance to the poor (that was someone else). I was just pointing out that even if it has a lot of relevance to you, it's going to be harder to become self-educated in this area if you don't have the financial resources to make access to those things easier. My point is that it's a heck of a lot easier to gain cultural capital if someone else has paved the way for you. 

 


 

 

post #218 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

*I* never said that languages and art don't have relevance to the poor (that was someone else). I was just pointing out that even if it has a lot of relevance to you, it's going to be harder to become self-educated in this area if you don't have the financial resources to make access to those things easier. My point is that it's a heck of a lot easier to gain cultural capital if someone else has paved the way for you.

 

Oh, I know you didn't and apologize if I seemed to imply otherwise. smile.gif  But you responded to my comment about that person's comment, so that's why I mentioned it. I just meant there's no excusing the comment.   

 

I don't think one always needs financial resources to learn things.  Crew, sure.  Art, not so much.  I understand that it's easier to learn about certain things if those around you find them important and have knowledge to pass on.  And I understand about generational poverty.  But it just seems to me like a lot of the cultural capital talk here is very academic and theoretical and a bit cold and kind of underestimates the power of the individual and overestimates the power of knowing about certain subjects.


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/22/12 at 3:32pm
post #219 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

 

 But it just seems to me like a lot of the cultural capital talk here is very academic and theoretical and a bit cold and kind of underestimates the power of the individual and overestimates the power of knowing about certain subjects.

 

I totally agree with this. 

 

You can have all kinds of "cultural capital" that you acquired growing up in a monied household but if you are an a**hole it really won't get you anywhere.  If you are an engaging, self confident person who can carry on a conversation and ask intelligent questions, and if you are good at reading people, it will not matter if you've travelled or eaten at fine dining establishments or if you know more than one language as you'll figure it out as you go along.

 

Certainly in some respects it would help to have parents who could help you navigate certain experiences (I think specifically about the college example given by LynnS6 as I was the first person in my family to attend university and had to figure it out as I went along) but I think the personality and essential "life skills" as opposed to cultural experiences of the individual are far more important.

post #220 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

 

You can have all kinds of "cultural capital" that you acquired growing up in a monied household but if you are an a**hole it really won't get you anywhere. 



It depends on where you are trying to get.  This doesn't seem to be about trying to be a better person.  The OP is new money and wants her children to grow up comfortable in certain social circles.  This is separate from learning to be a nice confident person or other such things and OBVIOUSLY not more important.  Those social skills and cultural knowledge are okay to be concerned with in addition to other aspects of teaching one's children. 

 

Some of those extracurricular experiences are really major luxuries.  It's hard for me to even swing music lessons.  We rarely do summer camps--and there are some awesome summer camps that really only serve this higher income bracket.  Travel experiences are hard to come by.  There is so much natural exposure if your children are involved with other children accustomed to such experiences and also experiencing them with their peers, I would think there is actually little to go out of your way to teach to help them be part of these circles.  People with more money as adults may have the responsibility to make bigger decisions as adults, so you might want to consider how to teach the background knowledge of being decision-makers, ethics, etc. Survival skills when one is on the edge and when one lives off an inherited nest egg are quite different.

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