On growing up in a socioeconomic enclave


The first time I watched the 2008 film“Wild Child” was when I was 13 years old. I’ve since watched slews of movies with a similar plot containing the same privileged teenagers, and not one of them ceased the irony I felt within me regarding the way popular culture covered the concept of wealth and behavior of kids born into it. In film especially, most of these teens go out of their way to showcase their affluence, while in real life, this couldn’t be further from the truth. “We’re comfortable” is a phrase that is most often uttered out of the mouths of such children of privilege. There is a trend amongst such individuals to hide their fiscal prominence, taking the saying “wealth whispers” to a whole other level.

The same can be said of many students of Diamond Bar High School, but here, it’s wholly exacerbated by dominant cultural norms. While there still are those occasional tacky outliers that make their privilege their entire personalities with fancy automobiles and unconcealed participation in microtrends, the majority for the most part keep mum. The silence, however, is far from golden. 

It seems to me, the entire goal is to follow and acquire trends, but make it as niche or casual as possible. Wear $500 shoes, but scuff it up so it’s not as obvious. Drive daddy’s Tesla, but insist on how taking AP Environmental Science has altered your perspective and made you conscious of your environmental impact on the planet.

 Wealth even plays into the toxic academic environment about which plagues DBHS. With many of such overachieving students having a proportionate level of wealth, or parents who are overly extravagant spenders on academia, it becomes less about the ability of the student or the teacher and more about who spends the most money to obtain the best shortcut to best grades. It’s common knowledge that tutoring centers all over Diamond Bar acquire various exam materials through questionable means and pawn them off under the guise of “exclusive” tutoring for exorbitant fees. Remember the Calculus BC cheating scandal a few years ago, where students and tutoring centers were caught providing students with test material obtained from students of years prior?

While this unspoken affluence is certainly the lesser of two evils, it creates the illusion of attainability without the fiscal means, which is simply not true. Whether you notice it or not, these mores that we live by exist and affect all of us daily. While I don’t necessarily have a solution, I believe it is important that we don’t delude ourselves about what we do and why. Because once we start undermining the privilege some of us are privy to, we become complacent accomplices to a system that ultimately fails us all. And I suspect we already have.