I never thought it would be so difficult to come here. I have wished so many times that I had never transferred, that I could go back to that fateful day when I decided to leave the University of Minnesota (“the U”) for Macalester, but unfortunately I am too deep now and that’s why I’m writing this.
I can’t even begin to describe to you how classism and elitism there is in this school, but I’ll give it a try. As a working class student whose parents never went to college, I am among the 11% of first generation students who go here. What does this say about how we “really listen to other people’s views” on Mac?
No, I don’t blame you, Macalester students, because it’s not your fault. It is the fault of a large-scale oppressive system that dictates who has access to quality education (especially higher education) and who does not. It is just ironic that Macalester students ignore classism and elitism when ignorance is all they fight. I’m sure I’m about to lose you because you’re probably feeling insulted, so now I’m going to give some examples of things that have been said to me personally or unfortunately encountered in class.
This week I was in one of my sociology classes and someone raised their hand to ask the professor a question. Naturally he agreed and they asked, “Don’t you think that people who go to vocational schools, as opposed to those who go to liberal arts colleges where they are educated in the classics, are less able? to develop complex thinking? I was sitting there furious at what they were saying and I had already found an answer. I refused to show them my anger because I realize that when people approach each other in anger, they are less likely to really listen to each other. I raised my hand and said, “I don’t think going to vocational school has anything to do with complex thoughts. I think someone who goes to vocational school is just as likely to have complex thoughts as someone who goes to Macalester. After making this comment, the class resumed their previous discussion.
Now I don’t know what you are thinking, maybe you don’t see anything wrong with their question or maybe you feel as disgusted as I was to hear it, but anyway, I will explain why it is hurtful and classist. See, when you say things like that, it means you really believe them.
This means that you actually believe that people who attend vocational schools (who tend to be of lower socioeconomic status) are less capable of complex thinking. It means you believe my family, none of whom went to college or vocational school, can’t have complex thinking, my mom is stupid, my stepdad is stupid, my brother is stupid. This means that the people that I have decided to associate with as friends are stupid to become a cosmetologist, cook, mechanic, construction worker.
By the way, if you didn’t already know, it’s also classist because many of the jobs people get after graduating from vocational school won’t necessarily guarantee them an easy middle-class life. .
Another example shows up in comments I get for going to U like “I bet they have more difficult grades here than U”, or when even professors are pretending to their students how colleges of liberal arts offer a better quality education than a public university. I always knew I would miss the U but never thought it would be because I feel like I have to stand up for myself here every day, stand up for my family and friends every day and ultimately stand up for an entire population that understands millions of people here in the United States.
It’s sad that I even defend the food at Cafe Mac, not only because I think it’s good, but because many of you don’t recognize how lucky you are just to eat. You have a whole team of people who have a median salary of $ 10.00 an hour, but show up every day to make sure you can eat, live, and be successful in whatever you do. Yet many of you still leave things like plates and napkins everywhere instead of picking them up yourself. I’m not saying you have to kiss the ground you walk on, but start trying to fight the classist and elitist things your peers say. I know many of you are unable to recognize classist things as they happen, so I just suggest listening to the stories of working class people when they decide to share stories with you, like this one. -this. This article was not meant to shame the entire campus, but to shed light on an issue that is not being talked about. I hope you are really listening to what I am telling you.