This is a true story about social class written by a middle school girl who lived in the housing projects. How would you respond to her questions?
As my footsteps make small, shallow noises on the hard hallway I walk down to get to my apartment, I see scratches on the door. I walk inside and see pictures on the wall and trinkets lining shelves. I put down my bags and sit by the computer to get online. After I type in the name of my school. I ﬁnd articles telling the whole area that I live in a poverty stricken neighborhood that is crammed with people full of diversity.
I read 83% of the children at my school get free or reduced lunches and realize I am one of them.
I get tired of this nonsense and put my converse sneakers on with a perfume soaked sweatshirt to go outside. I leave the apartment and travel out into the parking lot.
Everyone says “Hi,” to me as they rollerblade or ride their scooters around. I walk up to my friends and we play games or just hang out and enjoy each others company. Sometimes we go out to the movies or go shopping at the mall. Other times we go to a teen center, the roller rink, or just stay at home, but we always manage to keep ourselves occupied.
When I come back home I don’t think about how it would be to live in a house, let alone a big one, because I do love where I live already. It’s just when I ﬁnd ads in newspapers saying that I live in “housing projects” and such things like that that I feel so horrible. I realize I am pretty unwealthy. I think about how my mom works as hard as she can at a minimum wage job trying to support both of us because my dad works at miscellaneous jobs and spends most his money on cigarettes and alcohol.
Tears well up in my eyes and try to ease their way out, but I won’t let them. I can’t let other’s harsh words get to me like that.
My phone line rings and I pick it up pretty much knowing it’s one of my friends because I have my own special ring. Not to my surprise it’s my best friend. “Can your mom come and pick me up so I can come over?” she asks.
“Hold up I’ll go ask her,” I say in a hurry. “Mom can we go pick my friend up?” I yell.
“Yeah,” my mother replies.
“Yep! We’ll be over in ten minutes,” I tell her and hang up.
Ten minutes later, we pull into her apartments. I see her waiting on the side of the driveway and as soon as she recognizes our tomato red Monte Carlo, she runs over and hops into the back seat.
We cruise down the road to get back home and as soon as I ﬁnish putting on my makeup, we arrive. She and I scurry in the house sit down and turn on the T. V. A commercial for donating money to third world countries is on. I see it and wonder just where I am. I ﬁnd things all over about how impoverished the place I live in is.
I wonder about the money that we have, but yet I get name brands and the latest technology?
People are dying from horrible diseases and malnourishment because they can’t even afford the worst in other places and the media focuses on people like us. I feel so frustrated and vulnerable when there is all this mass confusion ﬂoating everywhere around me. I have enough problems as it is, the media doesn’t need to emphasize the fact that my community doesn’t have as much money as them. I think they truly are giving out false information as if they can’t see the world around them. They are so caught up in their luxurious mansions with lace and silk covering all the beds that they can’t realize there is an inner layer. A layer they can’t see just by looking.
They deﬁnitely don’t realize they are disrespecting our community.
The world shouldn’t believe in such stereotypical lies because wherever you go and whoever you meet will be unexpected. Before you judge someone, get to know them. You can’t just put us in a group because of the money we have or where we live.
I really don’t think I would ever want to live somewhere other than an apartment. I love being around people and I think a house would just shut me in. My mom has offered to move but I turned it down.
My neighborhood is ﬁne, I really feel wanted and loved here.
“Yeah, so we’re on our way to pick you up to go to the mall,” I shout because the reception on my cell is a little shaky.
“OK, see you in a minute,” another friend answers back to me.
I hang the phone up and giggle under my breath a little. There is a boy in the lawn of a three story house searching for something to do all by himself.
Like they say, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”