OPINION: Beverly Hills affluence overblown in stereotypes

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Find the feature article regarding the issue here.

The spectrum of wealth at Beverly

Vivian Geilim opinion editor

It is evidently known among the faculty and the student’s that Beverly High has a negative connotation attached to its name. When we asked Beverly students to use one word to describe their school, 43 percent of 124 students said “rich”, 23 percent said “snobby,” 14 percent said “spoiled” and another 9 percent said “entitled.”

We are notorious for our name, even within the walls of our own school. However, the stereotype that has pervaded our school is incorrect. To generalize Beverly as a whole and to say that everyone who attends a school with a “rich” stereotype does not do everyone justice. However, many refuse to shy away from generalizing our students with our name and are therefore unable to see the spectrum of wealth that comes with the economic diversity distributed among our students.

We need to stop combining all students with one description. We need to acknowledge that the stereotype in our name does not signify who we actually are as a school and more importantly as individual students. And as individual students, we need to look at our classmates and see that just because they attend a school that has a elite name, this doesn’t signify that they are monetarily well-established. Our school lies on a spectrum of wealth. And even though it may seem like people are well-off, the truth is you just don’t know how many people are struggling to buy a lunch. The truth is that out of 1,589 Beverly students, 7.3% of students qualify for free lunch and 1.5% of students qualify for reduced-price lunch.

The student body needs to realize that the archetypes that define our high school is not universally accurate for all students. And while wealth and privilege may exist for some on our campus, that is not the case for all students.

 

Wealth perception/stereotype

Sam Bernstein staff writer

Shows like “90210” chronicle the hypothetical wealth that exists in our community. Hollywood and the media create an illusion of universal privilege among all students on our campus. “90210” is not our reality. We don’t go to West Beverly Hills High School. We go to Beverly Hills High School, where we have a number of students who do not fit the bill of what a Norman is perceived as.

The student parking lot is filled with G-Wagons and Maseratis, but we also have the hand-me-down 90s Hondas. We also have students who, like many other students across the nation, simply cannot afford their own car at 17. However, these students are drowned by the Range Rovers and Mercedes.

We have to be respectful of these students. We are not being respectful of those who are less financially fortunate than others by putting content like “How Cars Affect People” on official BHHS social media accounts. This video was obviously satirical and that is clear from the laughing from the speakers and the photos presented on the monitor. However, by putting videos like this on official BHHS social media platforms, we aren’t respecting our students who cannot afford fancy cars. If we are truly a campus who prides themselves on acceptance and diversity, we have to begin to be more sensitive towards those who do not come from rich homes.

Judging Santa Monica High School and Culver City High School for being in less affluent communities is a massive part of the problem. Students in our school section at sporting events shout derogatory chants regarding opposing teams” wealth and economic background. For example, one of the main derogatory chants is “What’s your zip code?”, which is obviously a jab at their city. Beverly students chant about rival opponents” parents” jobs and lifestyles. While jeers and chants will always exist between rival schools, those cross a line. Just being at Beverly Hills High School has created a dangerous, false set of entitlement for some and it continues to push the false narrative that our school is “snobby”.

Instances like these are why our campus still holds stereotypes with negative connotations. If we can prove that we are not all “snobby” or “entitled”, we can grow faster as a campus. We can become far more connected with our less fortunate students then we are now. We can get more respect from other local schools. We can keep the rivalries Santa Monica and Culver City on the court, rather than in the stands and on social media. If we do more as a campus to get rid of our stereotype of being “stuck up” and “snobby”, we can create bonds with those who go to other schools and come from different financial background and create long-lasting connections with those people. Part of that is acknowledging our diverse economic background and discussing it with others. Explain to people who believe that we are a “rich” school that we are, in fact, not all so wealthy. Explain to your friends from other schools that not everything is what it seems in the media. That is far more beneficial than continuing tensions that are nearly entirely based on stereotypes.  

By forcing every student under a stereotype of entitlement, our less economically fortunate students lose the benefit of the doubt that they deserve. No student should ever be looked down upon because of the name of their high school, especially if they truly do not represent the stereotypes given to our students.

 

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