Beverly Hellians are Third-Rate when it comes to Classism

I work. A lot. I don’t have a day off, and three or four days a week I go from one job directly to the next. (On a side note – I often find myself, as I’m lying in bed at night so exhausted that even reading blogs is too much energy, wondering how The Mom did it for so many years. And she didn’t just have blogs to come home to – she had two kids.)But yes, I work a lot. And I work hard. These ideas – of working often and hard – seemed commonplace and expected even to me until I started working in Beverly Hills. Now that I’ve been working at Islands for a month or so, alongside the magazine, I have this unique vantage point of one of the most famous and wealthy cities in the world: I am at once accepted and respected and looked down on and mistreated. I see class issues everytime I step into Islands, and it’s accentuated by every moment I spend at the mag. I’m at this weird cross section of life where I’m at once completely working class but for 30 hours a week or so get to be something slightly different by being at such a reputable, well-known, incredible publication – I tell it to myself too – I’m at Ms. Magazine – every day. And then I show up at Islands, where I get asked, “Do you know who I am? My husband produced The Sound of Music,” becuase, in this woman’s world, me knowing that is going to magically make the exact table she wants to become open. She expects the world to change as she walks through it to meet her expectations. I’ve never been around people as self-entitled as the ones I encounter at the restauarnt. To switch from the magazine world to the working class world… all in one day… is fascinating.

I’ve gotten incredibly off-track (how tired is Cyndi?). I raise all these points to introduce this video I came across on my new favorite blog. Chris Rock talks about what equality isn’t… and how to reach equality. I was so touched by this.

Best parts: the beginning, 3:05 and 4:55

The beginning of this video is where I was going with my own train of thought about what I’ve seen working out here. This is a city filled with incredibly self-entitled people… the thought to me that so many people have never worked a working class job a day in their life is probably as absurd as treating a working class server of theirs with respect is to them. I love that people like Chris Rock have worked, worked their asses off to get to where they are. It frustrates me that a disproportionate number of success stories who have come from lower socioeconomic classes are systematically disadvantaged minorities. By frustrates, I mean enrages. He’s a DENTIST. Living next to these cultural icons- that’s such a poignant, provocative illustration he makes. I just… want the world to be a prettier place, one where the people cleaning the streets are as important as the ones littering on them as they walk to their lunch meetings and penthouse offices. I want to feel as confident about myself and where I’m going when I step into Islands restaurant as I do when I step into Ms. because, at the end of the day, I know my goals are bigger than the boosters and high chairs I clean at the end of the night at the restaurant, but at both places… I work equally as hard, and while it’s audacious, I’d wager that it’s also veracious to say that the (disprorportionately) lower class minorities bussing tables are busting their asses far more than many of the white upper-class men running our major industries. One job is not categorically better than another, and one person is certainly not better than the other.

I think I want to live in Chris Rock’s version of our world.

Oh, and ps – to the woman asking me if I know who you are – You telling me about your Sound of Music producing husband is equivalent to me saying to a host, “Do you know who I am? My mother is an accountant for Hoshizaki America. They probably MADE the ice machine in this place.” Now where’s my window table?

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 10:05 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You go girl! And do not forget the best one: You are no better than me, you still put your pants on one leg at a time!

  2. My brother-in-law is a dentist. His parents were Missionaries in Colombia when he was a child. He lived very poorly (by American standards) and witnessed first hand “working class” families. When he returned to the U.S. and got his degree, he started a dental practice in a very small town in western Nebraska. In his spare time, he volunteers for a group, much like Doctors Without Borders, that provides free dental care to those people who would not otherwise be able to afford dental care. He does this voluntarily, paying for the supplies that he uses out of his own pocket. He, along with other dentists, provide hundreds of thousands of dollars a year of free care to those who cannot pay.

    His name is Dr. Kevin Low. He’s a dentist.

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