Let me give you a quick idea of what my high school used to look like: only a small fraction of rooms had windows, classrooms were separated by screens (meaning no real walls, along with no doors), we had frequent flooding, ceiling tiles were falling, and 2 out of 3 stalls in every bathroom didn’t work in one way or another. Nearly 65% of students enrolled belong to a racial minority. Many students live below the poverty line. With all of that in your mind, here is an encounter I had when I was 15.
My sophomore year of high school a girl that I knew told me she was transferring schools. The school she was transferring to was extremely white dominated and most students belonged to middle-class or higher homes. She wasn’t moving houses nor doing it for academic purposes, so I asked why she was transferring. She hesitated at first, then responded with “They’re more my people.” When she initially said that, I didn’t know what to make of it. I didn’t think to ask at the time “Who exactly are your people?” Now, I believe we can make this conclusion ourselves.
The school this girl was transferring to was 66% white, and basically every student wore designer clothes and lived in luxurious houses. The school is brand new and spotless. These are the only differences between my high school and hers; the race/class of the students, and the state of the school. So what exactly was she implying when she meant “her people”?
My high school is known for outstanding academic scores, and a vast majority of students graduate and move to some variation of higher education. This is also true for the other high school. So what is the difference? Simple: the success and wealth that will result between the different races. Whites will attain over 7 times the wealth blacks will, with the same level of education. Opportunities are more accessible to those who are white and those from higher classes (a.k.a. this new school), compared to other races and classes. Not only does education not close the wealth gap, but working full-time and having two incomes has no effect. Minorities earn less on the dollar for equal labor, and that is an undeniable truth we must face.
I think with all of this information we can paint a picture of this girl’s “people.” Rich, white, and wealthy.