"My mother taught me to devalue her. Even that sentence — let it stand — blames her for everything, including the shame I feel for having been ashamed of her. I grew up watching which fork the others were using, what they were wearing, what they were talking about, what they seemed to be thinking. They, whoever they happened to be, had the power to find us wanting. 'I'm not going to take you anywhere anymore unless you learn how to behave,' my mother said.
"So I set out to 'learn how to behave,' to acquire what Marx called 'cultural capital', or what’s more simply called learning to 'pass'. This aspiration, celebrated in the phrase 'upward mobility' is rooted in shame and, in its undermining of authentic selfhood, creates the vulnerability required by all manner of predators from child molesters to military recruiters to advertisers and financial institutions. After all, aspiration is not an identity but the rejection of one’s identity."