3. Power and Community
| 75 →
Sophie grew up in generational poverty with two parents who were on welfare. She recalls the stigma of being poor, saying she could feel the discrimination when she went to school. On “Welfare Wednesdays,” when her parents had to take her with them to pick up their check because they could not be at the office and back before school was out, she heard people whispering about how inappropriate it was for her to miss school. Indeed, she says she was the “little girl people forgot at the back of the class.”
As time went on, for various reasons, Sophie fell farther and farther behind academically. She did not learn to read. She was told she was too dumb to ever succeed in math. In fact, one year, when she was in high school, due to a temporary family situation, her parents pulled her out of school. The following year, when she re-enrolled in that same school, she found herself in the same math class, with the same teacher with whom she had struggled the previous year. So, her father summoned up his courage, overcame his own ← 75 | 76 → fear of school, and went to see the principal. When he asked for Sophie to be put in a different math class, he was informed, “Your daughter is too stupid to succeed anyway, so it doesn’t matter who her teacher is. All we can do is babysit her.” Sadly, and with no knowledge of how the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.