Joan Williams. Photo: Pete Rosos

The United States is sometimes described as a class-free society — a view not shared by Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of Law.

Williams, also the author of White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, argues that misconceptions about class — in particular how the “professional elite” class misunderstands and condescends to the middle, working class — explains much that is wrong with the country.

In October 2017, Williams sat down with media innovator Peter Leyden at Berkeleyside’s fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to deliver some hard truths about class bias and friction, and how it relates to our current political landscape.

Berkeleyside’s 25th episode of the Uncharted Berkeley podcast has just been released and it features that conversation. Each episode of the podcast is one of the conversations recorded at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas which takes place every year in Berkeley.

Berkeleyside will be releasing more conversations from the 2017 festival as podcasts over the coming weeks. Subscribe to the Uncharted Berkeley podcast, on iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts, so you don’t miss them.

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email