Driving down the streets of Raleigh, all there is to see is construction. The building of new apartments. Shiny new stores with expensive storefronts to match. My parents talk about how much safer Raleigh has gotten, how it's a happenin' place. They only see the new price tags, the fresh faces, the Kale, the yoga pants. But right next to those yoga pants are fights, deals, and a huge class divide. This class divide is a conductor for those at the top to be able to turn a blind eye to what's happening below their noses, below their tax money.
Recently, an article came out discussing Broughton High School. A youth minister said that Broughton is "toxic for students' mental health". As a former student there who transferred to a different school, I agree with this statement. Kids aren't safe these days in Raleigh, and social media doesn't help either. These kids are getting into fights, threatening each other, doing all kinds of things, but nobody knows about any of it, really.
Nobody looks past the spray tans and Nike apparel. Raleigh is truly a culture centered around money, and if you don't have it, you aren't part of Raleigh. You see it; walking into a store, going around school, being on social media. Those with the most glamorous lives get special treatment.
Being the child of a donor gets you into the higher level classes. Teachers smile at you more if you stay for things after school (that require money, of course). Walking into a store and having them label you on first glance (see Pretty Woman).
This is why noticing and preventing gentrification is important. With all the new infrastructure and money flooding into it, there is no room to pay attention to the problems Raleigh faces on the low. The education system has gotten to a point where rules are more respected then having an active learning environment. The rules are supposedly set up to support a better learning environment, but the rules are based upon your failures.
When we make a mistake, we fail. When we fail, we are taught that failing is bad. So we are taught to never make a mistake, to always be perfect, so if you do fail, you are floundering. What do you do when you fail? I'm in college and I can't give you an answer to that.
But what happens when you never fail? When you are on A/B honor roll every year and you're a student-athlete? When you get your high school diploma? When did you get into college? Where there are guidelines, but you really have to make your own path? Do you float perfectly through college too? And then you wake up at 40 years old, with a family of four and a dog, living in the suburbs, a mortgage being paid by your Doctor's salary.
For many, that's the dream. But then you are just another sheep. We have too many who follow the path straight. The system is set up to spit you out into what they want you to be. Which is fine. But what of those who don't follow it exactly, who don't want to be a sheep? Another calculated product?