Like Norma Rae, I Stick It To The Man
You have probably assessed from this photo that I am a really smart cookie. I mean like, totally smart...Err. Well. Okay, I'm not super smart. But, once I did get invited to join the National Honor Society.
Of course I did what all good teens do, I stuck it to the man. I've decided to tell this story by breaking it down into 3 steps anyone can follow when deciding to "stick" something to the "man".
1. Identify " the man"
For me, I was able to identify "the man" one day at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I was invited to join the Nat'l Honor Society (NHS). It was probably some fluke clerical error. I'm not being modest, it was really most likely a clerical error. When I got the letter in the envelope I was beyond elated.
This feeling of shock and awe was then superseded by the question every 17 year old asks themselves.
"Does this in any way conflict with my convictions and values?"
2. Get way too worked up and then OVERREACT.
It did not take me long to determine that the NHS was in grave conflict with my beliefs. It was quite distressing actually. I knew that it was a good thing to have on my college application...but, no. I would be the one 17 year old high school student to throw my fist in the air and demand change.
I would stop the injustice that the Honors Society helps promote!
Rich kids don't have to work, they aren't responsible for feeding and putting to bed their younger siblings while their single mom works her night shift. Children from poor families have to work jobs after school and that takes away from their study time. Plus, they can't afford tutors and study aids like children from wealthy families.
That means it is more likely for a rich kid to maintain a higher GPA and therefore be invited into the NHS. Any student knows that being a part of the NHS is an advantage for college applications and scholarships.
We can then assume that the rich kid will have a leg up over the poor kid thanks to the NHS. They will be more likely to get accepted into college and receive financial assistance.
The system clearly favors wealthy families over poor families! Then the rich college grad kid gets the better job and the poor kid works for him. My high school had a nearly all white NHS. Now, it has turned into a race issue! Is this even America people ?!?!?! Is the NHS even constitutional??? ( this is the overreacting part )
It still amazes me that the NAACP hasn't gotten into this issue.
3. Tell "the man" to his face that he is evil.
Well, I promptly wrote a formal letter to the National Honor Society headquarters telling them that I would NOT accept their invitation. I informed them that I could not be party to an organization that essentially discriminates based on socio-economic status and in turn adds fuel to the cycle of poverty! I have morals and I have values!
I am sure my profound and insightful letter sent the office into a tail-spin. It's amazing they ever recovered from my clever attack.
Next, I told the NHS sponsor teacher at my high school what I had decided about the organization as a whole and told her I felt it was unethical for her to support such a group.
There is a chance that I also tried to convince the NHS chapter at my school to band together as students in order to boycott the Society. Together our voices would be heard! Sure, we won't get college scholarships, but this is humanity we are fighting for!
My insight into class struggle was lost on them as well.
Mom, Dad... I'm not sure if I ever told you all this. I doubt it will surprise you though.
Rest assured that I did go to college and graduate with a degree in political science. Maybe I will work for the NAACP and take up this fight again. Or maybe not.
We can't fight every battle in life. But, some days you need to write your congressman. And some days you need to stick it to the man.
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