Perception vs. reality is a dichotomy that many newer attorneys surely have to be able to relate to. Public perception, especially among non-lawyers, seems like it hasn't caught up to the archetype of "$100K+ in debt, no jobs or job paying less than a Wal-Mart manager's yearly salary". It gets even more unusual if you're a committee member of a bar association committee that has many veteran attorneys as active members. Being a business owner also seems to drive this perception vs. reality issue.
Then again, if you went back to look at my life, you'd see this conflict in full force. I went to a religious private school that cost a pretty penny in tuition but lived in a trailer park. I was a smart kid taking classes with kids from far higher economic backgrounds than me (even my former best friend didn't come from particularly humble means). The higher level classes at my school weren't associated with kids from broken homes or a dysfunction you could see just by looking at them. I went to a college attended by lots of kids who weren't from a trailer park (Ted Turner's daughter even went there). My sorority didn't have other girls from my parents' situation & I certainly didn't see it at my law school either.
In all this time, no one would ever refer to me as "trailer trash" or "white trash"; honestly, I was always credited as coming from a higher income level than I actually did. No one EVER treated me differently i.e. inferior or viewed me as out of place. I'm pretty sure that to this day, if you didn't ask me but just saw me someplace or didn't know my origins you'd probably never think of me in that way.
It's not that I ever tried to put on airs or act like a social climber. Far from it: I was always just being myself, however eccentric or unusual. In fact, I was trying so hard to rebel from the "prep" image everyone had of me (I got 3 holes pierced in each ear for this reason). No matter what I did, that "prep" image still seemed to follow me; maybe it still does considering I'm a lawyer.
I also wasn't crazy about the "goody goody" image but that bothered me less since I had a laser focus to get out of my hometown. I wasn't going to sleep with guys or do things that would stop me from leaving as fast as I could & as soon as I could. My personality is just naturally seen as "classy," I suppose. Look how big I am on my own privacy!
You could also say my parents (or at least my mother) raised me right since I wasn't hanging around the ruffians who lived in my neighborhood & got into trouble at school. I knew who they were but I had nothing in common with them as people. My methods for doing something to break conformity were still within the system and I had the advantage of my "goody goody, smart kid" image to get away with things.
When I heard about Columbine (which literally happened days before our graduation & was why we could not bring hangars for our robes to the coliseum), I figured that if you want to have a successful high school shooting you'd need a smart kid like me to help you. No one would have suspected me of a thing; I was in the hall one day when my entire class was gone on the senior class picnic (I was the only junior there & my teacher was one of the chaperones) & had no place to go. Other kids around me were being busted for skipping but not a single teacher or administrator approached me to ask why I was in the hall. I'd have gladly told them why & asked them what they'd have me do when my classroom was locked up & my teacher was gone but I ended up hanging out with another teacher during her free period. I was even a page at various school offices & had access to sensitive information such as students' class schedules & personal information.
Now even though I had this persona in high school, I freely said it should be renamed "Parkland Prison". I even have a picture that illustrates WHY this is so. My high school literally had no windows in the classrooms except for these little skinny things that let in almost no light. I have a picture of one of these windows.
There's also that whole petition situation. You'd think the powers there would have been watching my butt like a hawk, especially when my parents sided with me over one of their own in that whole thing. I even had that whole "woman of the people" aspect going for me since I'd speak up if something was asinine though I gave credit where it was due. Strangers with Candy got it right when they said high school was like prison though I said that about mine before I ever saw it.
Scared, respectful of me or just viewed me as too much of a non-issue to deal with (and this doesn't even cover middle school when I started standing up for myself & helped friends who were being racially discriminated against by one of the teachers there)? You decide.
For the record, I STILL think that if you want to take down the maximum amount of people in a high school, you need one of those kids to help you or you're just an amateur + not really committed. You could probably extend that to most other places as well. The "insider" angle.
See what I mean about perception vs. reality? Today, this has led to people asking me for money I don't have (I got a solicitation from The Actor's Fund to help poor actors & I thought "What about poor me?"), assuming I have much more than I do & getting access to things that your average "rabble" probably wouldn't.
I signed up for a forum on Tuesday where my bar association is having a talk with the State Attorney General. I'm sure plenty of Occupy protestors, folk at Credo & others would love the opportunity to ask him why he's not pursuing criminal action against the Wall Street bankers & forces that caused the mortgage crisis. I may have to ask that if others do not. That temptation may be too great to pass up. Plus, you'd better believe I insist on any political figure representing me knowing that I'm watching them like a hawk & if you want my praise, your actions will make or break you.
I'm also a hard core cynic who's getting more hardened by how government has reacted to the Occupy protests. As far as I'm concerned, I think the 1st Amendment & the Constitution are nearly reduced to platitudes at this point. Platitudes mean shit to me, okay?
I'd also like to see if any other topics are mentioned that I may have to inquire about as well (assuming my more progressive colleagues don't seize those moments since any real attorney stands behind the rights of protestors to express their rights without government ordinances, sham "clean up" efforts & other dirty tricks). Going to this event, presumably populated with more of the 1% than the 99%, I'm sure a speaker would be caught off guard by people who aren't engaged in ass kissing.
Again, you find me a politician who isn't a back-pedalling, PC obsessed, hypocritical crybaby who has a fully functioning brain & I'll vote for him/her. There may be an easier way to find this: if only there were an app to tell you about these people, there would be a way to even up the information gap & prevent the guy with the most money & best smear ads from winning every single time b/c mainstream media told you to vote for him.
Oh, and in case you thought I was lying about professional, so-called "mainstream" types supporting the Occupy protests go read this. That's how I'd be if I were in that position since I don't consider myself "special" or "superior" to anyone because of my occupation.
Glad to see some people aren't greedy assholes who should be exiled to their own island. I'd also like to see idiots get the same treatment. In fact, I saw comments from an Internet user that if I saw in real life, I'd have to smack. The "poor me" is sick & tiring; we can ALL play that crap. Plus, playing Word Police isn't going to win you any friends (particularly when you're attacking common phrases like "lame" & "stupid" or claiming that strangers have white privilege -- go back to earlier entries for my views on that topic). The "social justice" movement doesn't have a friend in me, that's for sure.
Not that I condone using the n-word or racial slurs against people (you can insult them in so many better ways such as with the term "God botherer," a British term for "bible thumper" that I'm going to start using) but when you act like a bitch, I'm not going to call you a princess & kiss your feet lest your precious whittle feelings get hurt. That's called "Grow up & join us in the real world! Have some accountability for your assholishness or suffer the consequences."