After reading chapter four of Catcher in the Rye, my seventh grade student Abdoul began to ask questions. Abdoul is from Mali and moved to Harlem a few years ago. “Why does society make rich people look good and ideal when really they are just regular people? Why is it that the more money you have the more power you have? Why does the Dean treat rich families better than middle and lower class families? Isn’t that prejudice?” We talked about the division between the rich and the poor, about the illusion of money and what it does to people, how money is a false power. Abdoul said that “someone can be in a higher class than me but I can be better educated. Things don’t last forever either, you can’t take the money with you when you die. As for me, I don’t really judge people by their class. It’s not my business how much money you make.” He then asked me, “Do you think there is still racism? Or is it more about classism these days?”

We consulted Lauryn Hill to further the discussion:


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