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If I Told You I Was Poor, Would You See Me Differently?

Chandrea's picture

This is a poster-collage that I did last night. I was pleased yet frightened with the finished project and I ended up running to my posse. They were really proud of me and wanted to do their own version of the poster-collage. I was inspired by Marian's zine and I remember being so amused with it because I could relate on so many levels - except that instead of being a millionaire, I decided to declare that I was FAR from that. I think I've always kept my socioeconomic status as a secret in high school and now that I'm in college, I'm deciding to own up to my status, just like Marian did. I'm actually thinking of posting it outside of my dorm because I don't know what else to do with it. But I don't know how the people on my hall will react or if they will react at all. I kept the class workshop in mind because we discussed broadening the audience when it came to talking about class. And my audience is the Bryn Mawr community as a whole.

I had to resize the image (you could initially read it) so I will copy down what the text says on the poster.

On the bottom left, next to the picture of me and my little brother it says: "I graduated from Framingham High School in June 2011. I am the first in my family to go to college. The kid next to me is my youngest brother, Aaron. Hopefully, he'll go to college too."

In the middle bottom, it says: "Meet my neighbors! We've lived next door to each other for a long time; we practically grew up together. Did I mention I lived in government subsidized housing? There are four rooms in my apartment. There's not a lot of room for us! But it's still a home to me."

Bottom right: I am 1/10 of Bryn Mawr Posse 11. I suppose I'm a leader. Along with the support of 9 of these girls, I attend BMC on a full-tuition four year scholarship."

Top right: This is my family. I live with my single mom and 3 brothers and 2 sisters. I am the oldest and I have a lot of responsibitlies, including playing the role of a co-parent. My mom lost her job a couple of years ago and suffered a stroke. She makes minimum wage and supports me and my five siblings. You do the math."

Top left: "I have many roles. I am a daughter, an older sister, a U.S. citizen, a best friend, a tutor , a Posse Scholar, a co-parent, a high school grad, a mentee, and a Bryn Mawr College undergrad student."

Center: "I attend this institition with you. I eat, sleep, work, and study here, just like you. Do you see me differently?

If I told you I was poor, would you see me differently?


jccohen's picture

if i told you i was poor

chandrea peng,

your poster is visually and verbally powerful--i'm especially struck by 'poor' and 'class' in red against that green (complementary to red) background.  and i appreciate your naming fear, and think that it's because we have fear that we also have courage, as you do here.  the question of how to share/work with this poster as part of your activism at bryn mawr is an intriguing one.  i like the idea of you and your posse and others who are interested putting posters up in the dorm (you're considering this?), creating a kind of identity wall around class and other matters...  and i'm curious too about that title question:  do we see each other differently as we learn more about each other, and what does/can that mean for our own learning and our relationships?