Oct 15, 2006

The Price of Priviledge

A few nights ago I went to a class meeting with Dash's teacher. He is excellent, as good a teacher as you'll ever find. The one good reason to stay in this city.

The parents arrived to hear news of the academic year, which begins with the Englightenment, Joan of Arc, King Arthur and so on. But the parents were not interested in that so much. They were worried about something else. There was an incident last week in which several girls, all 7th grade classmates, had walked off from their ivory tower on Washington Street down to Japantown. Without telling anyone. A parent happened upon them completely by accident, and after scolding them, bought them ice cream. But it was a traumatic moment. There was a lot of fear that this might lead to 'other things', as though they might be caught and sent off as concubines in some desert or other. And that was not all. Other parents are gathering together to hire a therapist to advise them how to raise boys. (The girl's parents are doing the same thing).

These parents are not defensive about this, but quite proud of themselves. One held up a new book to justify their concern: The Price of Priviledge. As if to say, 'you see the ghosts we're afraid of are real.' The book is written by a woman in Marin County who apparently recounts the turmoils of kids with everything.

And of course it's interesting that here's the upper middle class that got everything they wanted, except the one thing they really wanted, a sense of community... The problem is they assumed they could continue the line without much effort, that was the point of all the soccer tournaments, the AP courses, the community service, the travels to the Louvre, the tutors, the letters of recommendation from presidents and prime ministers, legacies within legacies, and that was all just to get into high school.

These parents are not so disoriented as the ones in Marin, but they are still fearfull and confused. They have made their children their friends, made them their sole hope for redemption, for all their failures great and small. However, one got it right, an immigrant of course. "If there is a problem, I just solve it," she said. "What else is there to say?"

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