Ghetto High

A guy and girl got on the elevator with me this morning. He was telling her about how he was valedictorian of Ghetto High. They burst into peals of laughter, enjoying the shared joke. The comedy was infectious so I started laughing as well, even though I didn't know exactly what he was talking about. After the laughter trailed off, I asked him, "What's Ghetto High?"

He said that he likes to scare people who approach him in a superior and condescending manner because he is a young Latino male. "They assume I grew up poor and that I don't speak English." Once they find out that he was born in Los Angeles and does speak proper English, they try to figure out where to place him on the socio-economic scale.

"So, did you go to high school here in L.A.?" they ask. When he says, "Yes!" they say,"Oh, really, where did you go to school?"

He's now decided he's going to tell people he went to "Ghetto High" just to shut them up. He went on to add that even if he did grow up in a poorer area of the city, he worked hard and he ended up being valedictorian of his high school.

They got off the elevator and I continued my ride up to the 9th floor, contemplating how I knew exactly what he was talking about. There are some people in this world that don't care if you did well in school if you went to school in a poor area. If you are valedictorian of Crenshaw High or Locke High, folks ask themselves, "Well, how difficult could that have been?"

We are always searching for some way to make sure we are better than someone else or can put someone else in their place. I've heard folks make disparaging comments about people that got their degrees from Dominguez Hills or Cal State L.A. I guess folks figure that was a piece of cake, a walk in the park, and people must be somehow stupid or deficient in some way because they didn't go to a private university that cost $200K for four years of parties and lecturing.

I went to private universities and have the student loans to prove it. Does that make me smarter? More successful? Better looking? A better mother? I suppose in some spheres of influence it does. Straight A's do not equal straight A's in our world.


Popular Posts