OPINION: Classism

Words hurt, but money hurts more.


Money. Sometimes it feels as if I’m taunted by it. Like a cat with string, I’m drawn to money, but upon further inspection, the string curls itself to something– a bougie Monarch student walking onto the school grounds, wearing Fila Slides and ready to strut. Not just walking into school wearing an item you enjoy, but showing it off in every way possible.
When you wear a Patagonia jacket, I can sympathize. It’s cold and they keep you warm, but when you refuse to take it off during class because it messes up your “fit,” you have a problem. When you make fun of someone for having an Android over an iPhone you have a problem.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an item you have, but to ridicule and mock someone for not having that item is a whole other topic. This cat and string game is all based on one thing: classism.
At this school, not a day goes by that someone is not judged by the amount of income their family makes.
I’ve been able to see it from both perspectives. One of my parents is on the wealthier side and is able to for provide me. On the other hand, I can see how my other parent struggles to even get by. While one of my parents can take me out to dinner to celebrate, the other has to put her kids on free lunch just so they don’t starve for the day. Some students aren’t as lucky, though.
When I go down to my lunch spot without food because I’m too embarrassed to get free lunch, knowing I’ve been made fun of before, I don’t feel included. I feel like I should transfer out of here just so I have people that are accepting.
Students like to toss around the idea that having things such as free lunch or getting help to pay for that field trip makes you a freeloader. This puts those kids down and makes them not want to use something given to them that was supposed to help them and their family.
Almost everyday I see people take their day-to-day items for granted or complain about how their parents won’t spend all of their money on a new $300 Patagonia jacket, while other kids do their shopping sprees at Salvation Army.
Prejudice against something as ridiculous as how many green bills you have is something so incompetent that it should not be tolerated anywhere. Many Louisville and Superior families are wealthy, but the amount of money you have shouldn’t determine your attitude. The least fortunate person could have a golden and positive outlook on life. You just can’t see past the price of their shoes.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing something you want to wear or having an item you want to have, and you should never be judged for it, no matter who you are. Upper class people can be victims, too. It’s just rarer. If someone judges another student just for spending money that they’re not showing off, then it’s just as bad as bragging about how much money you have.
We as a school need to stop being so judgmental and harsh to people who are trying to express themselves by whatever means. So, how do we stop this? It’s simple. See something you don’t like? See something that makes you upset solely because you don’t have it?
Deal with it.
If you see someone walking in the hallway, getting talked about for what they’re wearing, help the kid out. I know not everyone has the motivation or confidence to stand up for this, but we as a school shouldn’t let this judgement happen. You don’t have to take action right then and there, but console the kid after it happens. Students have normalized this type of harassment, but this hurts the pride of others. By including someone regardless of their economic status, you’re making a difference.
This is an unjust action and should be taken seriously by the students here. So, if you were to go around spitting your self-worth onto others by hurtful words or actions, start apologizing. This habit will be passed on to the younger generation and we need to stop it before it becomes a habit in children.