In the fifth blog of a series this week at Researching Sociology @ LSE, this blog will discuss the views of final year law undergraduate and youth leader, founder of the 4Front Project, Temi Mwale. This is part of the LSE Social Mobility Society’s panel discussion, which involved student and staff speakers. To view all blogs so far, and to find out more about the panelists, click here.

For guidance, this panel discussion centred around 3 central questions, which were as follows:

  • What does class mean to you?
  • What does social mobility mean to you?
  • Is there a class issue at LSE?

Temi Mwale:

‘When I first came to LSE, I noticed that no one was from London. The minority of people were from London, and it wasn’t the type of London I grew up in. I grew up in the Grahame Park estate in North London. I don’t think I knew I was working class until I compared myself to others, and came across people that were so different to me. I grew up on an estate, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve got life experience. I think a really important thing about what class is, is that there are different views of morals and immorality; things that my friends would have had to do to get money, that their parents knew about, that society would see as immoral, meant eating for them. I had a really different experience of class. I got my own place young, and I remember going to the job centre. That’s something LSE students won’t typically have had to do, and that’s a huge issue with this society, the job centres.

I noticed barriers very quickly when I first came to LSE, between the people here, and where I come from. This culture is so alienating, in terms of the workload and in terms of the culture here. Everyone was different to me. I knew I was going to come to a good university, because like Tallulah, I was picked for everything. Every single scheme, I was chosen for; I must have visited Oxford and Cambridge 6 or 7 times. I was called into my teacher’s office because I didn’t want to apply there, and their treatment towards me changed totally.

I suppose I have what you would call survivor’s guilt. I don’t feel at home at university, and I don’t feel at home when I’m home. Social mobility is divisive; everything I am learning here, I am taking back to my community. I don’t want to leave them, I don’t want to go up in that lift without them, I want to take the lift back down and cram as many people as I can in before I go. Every single law I’ve learned at LSE, I’ve taken home and made it into a course. Joint enterprise for example, I’ve got friends inside for that; the things that I learn here academically are a part of my life, and I don’t want to separate them, I want to use them to help my local community.’