What do we know about the middle class at New Trier?

I feel like we all know the New Trier stereotype at this point. If you’re rich and white you’re pretty much the poster child
for it. But aside from that, like most stereotypes, it puts a gross generalization that everyone is the same.

There’s nothing wrong with being rich and white, that’s not the issue, but the structure marginalizes everyone else who isn’t.

When I was in Girls Club we solicited catalogs to raise money for girls scholarships. My friend and
I stopped at the house of a middle aged man.

Before he screamed at us to get off his property and threatened to call the police, he asked me why I was selling the catalogs. I told him it was for girls scholarships. He looked me in the eye and said, “There is no one at New Trier poor enough for a scholarship.”

He went on a rant that we were trying to con him and that he knows for a fact New Trier is only made up of white, privileged kids.

The situation was laughable, the guy looked like someone sketchy from American Horror Story. But I thought about what he said.

Through the years, I’ve heard students, even teachers, reinforce the stereotype themselves.

It perpetuates a cycle that validates false stereotypes.

Take the recent Habitat for Humanity presentation. It raised a lot of important issues that I feel
we tend to ignore. The presentation geared toward the economic gap we see in big cities like New York or Chicago. There’s obvious economic inequity that’s perpetuated through
a combination of inheritance of wealth and eras of systemic racism. Those who tend to suffer are a part of the working and middle class, a demographic that’s been shrinking in the last couple of years.

If you live in a wealthy area your whole life, you don’t recognize it as privilege. It takes someone from the outside, or for you to travel outside the “bubble” and compare how you live to everyone else who is lower income.

The same can be said for people living in lower income communities. It becomes a part of their daily lives. The majority of people you know are in the same situation you are in, so it becomes “normal.”

I know from my experiences living in lower income areas that I didn’t really see it as lower income. It was my daily life, my normal.

I know from my experiences living in lower income areas that I didn’t really see it as lower income. It was my daily life, my normal.

After moving from the city in fifth grade, the North Shore still doesn’t feel like home.

The stereotype that everyone

here is white and privileged with a trust fund to fall back on ignores the percentage not only of minorities, but also people who are first or second generation immigrants.

Not everyone here is rich or snobby. I can say the majority of people I know are a part of the middle class, even the working class.

It’s not unheard of that a good percentage of students receive financial aid. I know quite a few
that receive financial help for lunch, textbooks, and even tickets to school dances.

For some of my friends, they often feel uncomfortable, embarrassed even that they can’t afford a lot of the materials their friend groups can.

I remember from prom
last year, that there was a lot of disconnect between which restaurant to eat at, or if there should be a party bus.

I’m not saying to completely avoid going to fancy restaurants or going shopping every weekend because one or more people can’t afford to do so. It’s courteous, but not a necessity.

However, I think it’s important that we’re mindful that people from New Trier come from all walks of life.

There isn’t just one type of person that goes here, and I think we should celebrate that, instead of continuously commenting on how we don’t value diversity here.

We just happen to go to a school where the majority of people are white and affluent. It’s the result of years of systemic racism, it’s not New Trier’s doing.