You are Somebody


I was having a conversation with someone recently and they talked about how they were somebody because they were raised in the “right” school and in the “right” neighborhood. This made me wonder what if you did not go to the “right” school. What if you did not grow up in the “right” neighborhood? What if you grew up on the “wrong” side of the tracks? Does one context make you somebody and the other make you a nobody?

This whole conversation got me thinking about how much of our society is constructed in a way that we value one difference over another. As sociologist Allan Johnson argued, it is not that difference in and of itself is bad, but the valuation of one difference over another. The contexts of our life (where we go to school, work, grew up, etc.) should have nothing to do with our value as a human being. Society may have constructed beliefs that one is better then the other, but that does not make it true. It is only true if you agree it is true.

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