Tension in the classroom escalated as a peer and I debated over the work ethics between different social classes.
"Rich people are capable of getting whatever they wish without working for it!" A girl shouted.
My dad grew up in a middle class household and later dropped out of college. My family didn’t have much hope for what his future held. However, my dad turned the tables as he worked hard each day on his start-up business in the tourism industry.
My heart dropped into my stomach as my anger rose. I knew I had a strong counter-argument, but thought I should stay silent. I bit my tongue for awhile, but knew she had no right to believe that many successful people had everything easily given to them. As she continued to claim that other socio-economic classes were hard working but got nothing in return, I had finally heard enough.
"People are rewarded depending on how hard they work, not their class,” I replied. "Many successful billionaires started at the bottom. They had to start with a dollar and work their way up. Money doesn’t grow on trees; it is worked for.”
Jessica stood speechless, unable to respond. After a few seconds, she said, "I can't get into colleges because my family doesn't have enough money unlike others, where money isn't the issue."
"How do you think they obtained the money they have?"
"I don't know."
"They were determined and worked hard. It isn't the class, it's the person. Through talent, work ethic, and intelligence, people gain wealth. It may come easier to others than yourself, but it doesn’t mean the rich never deserved what they have."
At that moment, I knew I had stood firm and changed her mindset. Silence filled the room, and Jessica seemed content with the insight she gained.
Being involved in an experience like this one taught me how many people are so quick to judge, coming to a conclusion before completely assessing an issue, and on that thought, I include myself. I too had come into a...