While at the park yesterday I noticed that there are two girls by the name of Sophie who are both my daughter’s age. I’m a bit curious about trends, so I’m trying to think of other girl names that are repeated for kids around her age. And it strikes me that I’ve met a lot of other Jocelyns – although a bit older (usually around five years old).
Factor in a couple other facts: 1) Sophie means “Wisdom”, Jocelyn means “Joyous”; 2) Nannies brought the Sophies to the park, yet the Jocelyns are generally from lower-income Latino families. Therefore, we can surmise, rich people value learning and poor people would rather be happy.
Somehow that joke was funnier in my head. But as I was stewing it up, I was thinking about a misconception that I’ve been hearing quite a bit about recently. It’s this idea that a multicultural/multiclass environment is good because it allows the poor (and, specifically in the cases that I’m familiar with, Black and Hispanic) to learn healthy work habits from the more affluent.
That is ignorance on so many levels. It supposes, again, that there is a superior type of people who’s job it is to teach the less-fortunate. It supposes, again, that poor people are poor because of laziness or lack of knowledge.
These stereotypes are as old as the divisions at Babel, I guarantee. But that doesn’t make them true. I would suggest to anyone to whom this may come as a revelation to get to know some poor people – or, better yet, a lot of them. And to be honest, vice versa.
We could all, after all, use a little learning.