Recently, I was surveying 5th graders in a local elementary school. As I parallel parked in the side street, I felt a sense of relief for having found the school. Considering that I am new to the city, I decided that if I had not found the school, because it was taking me much longer than expected, that I would just keep going and not stop to ask for directions... I was in a very hard side of town.
As I walked down the sidewalk separating the side street and the front yards of the homes next to the school with lounging bull pits and no fence.. I noted that next time, I should downplay my accessories.. no need for my Dooney & Burke bag to accompany my next visit to this school...
Finally I was at the front door of the school and I pushed the button/doorbell for the office to unlock the doors to let me in... greeted with a grunt and directions to where I needed to go, I braced myself for the anticipation of stares from the students I was about to survey... designer bag, designer sunglasses and shoes... what was I thinking?
To my surprise, the students in the classroom were in the middle of their social studies class.. working on their State assignment.. with the assistance of the mobile computer lab.. they were all pounding on the keys of their Mac Books. I stared dumbfounded; it was me gwaking at the laptops, not the students at my accessories.
All I could think was: now wait a minute, how do students in a low income school district have undeniable access to Mac Books? Don't they know how much those cost?
Ironic how I was self-conscious about what they would think of me, and there I was jealous of their tricked out tech toys. So what does this say about consumerism? First it says that we all believe we deserve the same amount of luxury. Secondly it says that even low income schools are tech savvy. But what about when the students go home, turn on the TV or flip through a magazine and see things they want? Where is the rationale and the knowledge that to get those 'things' they must work hard to earn an education and financial status via a successful career.... rather than, the school you attend was awarded a grant to purchase these things to help erase the apparent disadvantages you already have based off of class stereotypes...
How high are their expectations of people giving them things, and not learning how to earn them for themselves? What new disadvantages does this create when the hand that feeds these kids, bites them later when they are denied their continuance of living in the bubble of deserving everything to be handed to them?