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Selim Kafafy RHET102-02 DR. Mike Gibson Tuesday July 5th 2011 Hey! Your a Low class Rich Man! Today, if we visit one of Egypt’s universities we will see that there is a large variety of people. The Egyptian and the foreigner, the boy and the girl, the big and the small, the rich and the poor. “The rich and The poor” this is what we are going to talk about in this essay. In the next couple of paragraphs we will be exploring the very idea of “What does it mean for me to be a college student from the economic/social class perspective?”. What does it mean to be a kid coming from a fairly poor family in a rich kids infested university, such as the AUC. and what does it mean to be a rich kid in a public university such as the Cairo university. We need to think of how would they fit in their “Alien” society, how would their social and economic class hinder their college life, or maybe improve it. Throughout this essay we will be exploring this above mentioned question from the logical extreme, the emotional extreme, and then we will try to come up with a synthesized argument that reaches a common ground between the two. First we need to know the difference between the economic class, and the social class, and which one comes first. First the economic class is when people are categorized by how much money they have, they are assessed according to their assets. how big is their house, how many cars do they have, are they fancy? Second, the social class is when a group is categorized together based on their economic status, and thus their similar behavior. But does that mean that similar people, who have the same money act the same. i.e: does rich people act the same, and poor people act the same? Well this is a relative matter. Social, and economic status of a person are to some extent related. you might find a rich person who acts like a poor person who got no education, this what we call “nouveau rich”. And you might find a poor person who acts like a nobleman. well, I believe that social class should be based on the behavior of this person, and should not be related to any money in the bank. But how is this related to education. well, if we consider the first case in the introduction, the one of the poor guy int eh AUC. If we look at the logical extreme of this case. we will assume that this person will seclude himself from the people around him, because they come from another “planet” and he feels that he doesn’t belong, and that he is alienated within this society. So he looks at it this way, I am here for five years lets get this over with and go home. All these people consider me as a stranger, as someone who doesn’t belong, and most probably they want to get rid of me. And he might even think that all kind of credit is going to be awarded to the rich kids, while any punishments, or bad things are going to follow him. And as Louis Raths says: “ Social class seems to be a differentiating factor in the distribution of rewards and punishments in our society if-and it is an important if-we consider the rewards and punishments of a conventional and stereotyped one” (Raths, 124). So what this person is doing, he is going by the code, this imaginary code that separates him from the other kids. The one of how much money do you have in your bank. He believes that this is a factor in his social life, he thinks that because he has less money, then he does not belong and that he is out of his comfort area, and that he should dropout of this school. See now this is a logical extreme that can really affect


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someone’s future. But if we look at it form another angle, form the angle I proposed earlier, the one of the person’s behavior and how rich he is. Having a good education, and having a good life later on is mainly related to your morals, and ethics, and just as I said that morals, and ethics are not bought with money, you can find a poor person having a very successful life, because he is an “ethical” man. just as the title of the essay propose “... Your a Low Class Rich Man” this means that your a man with a lot of money in the bank, but you don’t have any morals, no ethics. When someone has more money, he has more responsibilities, he has more duties to carry, and he has a certain image that he should present. A picture of someone who has manners, a person who knows how to respect people and honor them no matter how much money they have. a person with “Etiquette”. “Etiquette” is a french word for manner, it represents the manners that the high class should act with. For instance not putting your elbows on the table while eating is considered etiquette. So in a nutshell, if your rich, act like one. But how can someone be taught to have good manners, well that this is the part where education steps in. ever since someone is a child his parents are always teaching him how to behave, they are teaching him how to have good manners, and their parents taught them the same thing, all because they come form a rich lineage, and they know how to behave. but what of people who just made a fortune soon, who would have taught them to act like rich people? they are the first generation of rich people in this family. This is what we call “Nouveau rich” nouveau in french means new, or newly, so this translated into newly rich. so who can teach (Education) them manners. Well in Egypt there is a third party to this equation, “religion”. Religion in Egypt plays a huge role in everyone’s life. It teaches us how to behave, and how to act around people. It is another version of the french “Etiquette”. As far as Egypt is concerned, people use religious texts as guide lines for their lives. so if we relate this to our topic, religion is suppose to teach this poor man who just became rich how to behave like a rich person. it is supposed to teach him to distribute his wealth, how to treat the poor, and how to act around people. But what of the logical extreme? well, this is a bit tricky, Let’s suggest a case where some rich student goes to a public college to study law for example. he will be surrounded by a lot of people form other social classes, this is going to cause him some paranoia, because he will always be doubting the way these people are going to look at him. he will be thinking to himself that he comes from a different social class, from a different ideology so I won’t be able to get along when it comes to judging things, that is because of there different social class, they go through more just because they are poor. And the overall thing is that he is going to miss the whole college experience, thus he, most probably like the other case, drop out of school. But what if its the other way around a poor person in a rich environment. well this might be “dangerous” because if they calculate it form the emotional extreme, they’re gonna fell that they are the marginalized people, that all of their rights are being taken away, and that the rich class is responsible for their poverty, thus they might steal, rob banks, go into a destructive march destroying everything that symbolizes the rich community of the state. they are going to go against the code, they are going to break the code they created in their own heads. They think that the “code” is saying that the poor people are always going to serve the rich community, they think that the rich society think of them as slaves. And this to some extend creates some emotional pain.


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Throughout this essay we explored different perspectives of how the modern day college students think of their socioeconomic position, and how this affects their future, and their main purpose, getting a proper education. Citations: Louis, Raths. “Social Class and Education�The Journal of educational sociology (New York, N.Y.),American Sociological Association, 11th January 1954


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