Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Who’s Really Well Off In Class ?

Name: Jonah
From: Manhattan , Kansas
Grade: College Sophomore
School: Kansas State University
Votes: 0


Jonah Haas

Jonah Haas

English 100

Brain McCarty

Autoethnography 2

Who’s Really Well Off in Class?

I still remember till this day the first day of starting middle school.
The school looked like a castle to me especially since it resided on
a hill. It was private school deep in Kansas City where you had to
take a test to even be considered. After taking the test it seemed
like forever to receive the news but getting the news of being
accepted filled my grandmothers and I with joy. The night before the
first day of school I was filled with excitement, being the new kid
at a new school I could basically be whoever I wanted to be. I was
finally going to be the new kid that no one knew anything about. My
grandmother did worry a lot about how the school was located in a
rough neighborhood kept reminding me how I needed to always be
careful. I got no sleep the night before because I couldn’t wait
for what school would be like. I had my new school clothes already
picked out and was just waiting for my grandmother to drop me off at
school. Getting out of the car, the first thing I noticed where that
a lot of the other kids seemed to be dressed differently, which
didn’t bother me at all. I was raised to always look at people’s
characters. I just wasn’t used to going to schools where I other
kids didn’t dress a certain way.

Walking through the halls I can still remember all the rusted blue lockers and titles
that switched from black to green, I keep getting looks from other
students; I even went to the bathroom to make sure I had nothing on
my face. Coming out of the bathroom a group guys surrounded me. I
could tell that this wasn’t a good thing from the get go. Most of
the guys where way bigger then me so I figured I had no chance
fighting back. I had absolutely no idea what they wanted or what to
do. I asked the boys what was going on and they said I was going to
get what was coming to me. Next thing I saw was a boy filled with
anger flaring his fist towards my face. I couldn’t move out the way
of the punch soon enough so the punch hit me right on the top of my
eye. The punch knocked me to my knees, confused I looked up, and the
boys said, “Take your rich ass but to the suburbs”. They stated
that I didn’t belong in a school with them, also that I belonged in
the suburbs somewhere. He stated that I needed to take my rich ass
somewhere else. Soon after they grabbed me quickly and took me in the
bathroom. I can remember punch after punch and how each blow made
shout in pain, until eventually I fell to my knees. The boys stood
over me laughing hysterically, out of the corner of my eye I saw one
of the kids smiling as if they did the school a justice. After they
left I just sat there and wondered why would treat me like that if I
had done nothing to them. These become a weekly routine where I’d
get comments against me for being middle class.


When the boy came up to me and stated that I didn’t belong in a school
with more urban city kids, that I belonged in the suburbs somewhere.
I was honestly very shocked by the statement. At that moment I
believed that he might just dislike me because I was a middle class
kid in more urban lower class school. At that point in time I didn’t
realize that it was much deeper then just myself being middle class.
I didn’t realize at that point of learning that people’s
perceptions of me for being middle class comes with certain
stereotypes such as having a lot of money compared to lower class.
The boys gained these ideas from social media, they figured since
such I was dressed a certain way I was presented in American to have
money, as being the lower class the other class must be higher. It
never crossed that boys mind that I also was a poor kid trying to
survive. The student that made this negative claim towards me
noticed that I was dressed a certain way and the way I presented
myself and made an assumption about me. In reality I had done nothing
wrong, I was getting bullied by not my actions but for simply having
more money than a lot of other families, which I couldn’t help. I
realized that I was being judged by families’ income and I would
sadly have to take reasonability for actions that I had no control
over. When visiting the principal he believed me right of the bat and
gladly, he made it stop. It stopped but I never forgot about what
happened. In reality, I had done nothing wrong; I was getting bullied
for not my actions but for simply what my family’s income was which
I couldn’t help. I realized that my family’s history and they
were judging me privilege to have better jobs than a lot of other
families that I would have to take responsibility for.

Looking back my experience, I realized that I was angry at that moment
because he presented incorrect assumptions about me. My experience
taught me specifically that if you look more well of than others,
urban city kids that aren’t use to your demeanor could view me as
being stuck up with money. I had never known that lower income kids
associated appearance with wealth. I learned that not only myself but
also other middle class people could be viewed as having money as a
negative thing, because a good portion of urban city kids are from
low income areas. Middle class people are usually viewed as having a
semi perfect life

Media and factual evidence created these assumptions; in todays society
most of medium to higher income jobs, are controlled by the of course
higher income well educated people. Some cooperation’s will wrongly
hire a more wealthy person rather than just because they’re
probably more educated. This type of behavior has gone on for so many
years this leads to unfair hiring and unfair work related events for
lower income people this has transformed lower income people’s
thoughts towards the higher income population in a negative
spotlight. Not all companies are wrongly prejudiced when it comes to
hiring but we shouldn’t ignore the fact there are. With companies
and people living up to certain stereotypes of income that obviously
doesn’t help the cause for the social class unjust in America.
Bringing it back to the cause of why the kids in my school displayed
such hostile behavior towards me. The kids viewed me as a rich kid,
but a kid who’s people future will be better. Paul Bucheit
describes the inequality between class as cancer stating,”
inequality is a cancer on society, here in the U.S. and across the
globe. It keeps growing and humanity seems helpless against it.”
(Bucheit) Just because I was in a higher social class than my peers
they basically shunned me from others, like having a cancer that not
one wanted to catch.

In conclusion from the overall experience, I gained the knowledge that
because of the way I dressed certain stereotypes are associated with
it, such as being privileged in the future. Because the students had
the assumption that because I had a higher family income I have been
living a privileged life, in reality I was poor just like the other
kids in the school. One factor made them believed that I didn’t
belong in a low-income school with them. I don’t regret having the
experience at all; indeed the event was an eye opener that made me
realize people’s perception towards class.


Paul.”4 Shocking Examples Of American Inequality.” Salon. 4 Feb
2014. Web 12 March 2014.

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