The American Scholar: “But it isn’t just a matter of class. My education taught me to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren’t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me. We were ‘the best and the brightest,’ as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright. I learned to give that little nod of understanding, that slightly sympathetic ‘Oh,’ when people told me they went to a less prestigious college. (If I’d gone to Harvard, I would have learned to say ‘in Boston’ when I was asked where I went to school—the Cambridge version of noblesse oblige.) I never learned that there are smart people who don’t go to elite colleges, often precisely for reasons of class. I never learned that there are smart people who don’t go to college at all.”
© 2008, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.