It’s amazing how people outside of AUC tend to see us as a monolithic community. In fact, we often see ourselves that way. After all, we are a community built on the same liberal arts values right?
Wrong. We like to think of AUC as one whole community that cherishes difference while allowing for similarities in that we all value certain principles. Yet how much of that is actually true? If you spend a considerable amount of time in AUC, you are acutely aware of how difference invariably leads to “judgment.”
Examples of how many of us judge each other are numerous, but the famous examples are always the same: the type of accent we speak with; the way we dress; and the people we mingle with come to define the images we draw of each other on campus. More often than not, these images are tied to issues of class both within AUC and Egypt at large.
Sure, there is no caste sort-of system in Egypt but the class divisions run across very real lines. Indeed, AUCians are very aware of assigning class labels to the other people they encounter. Thus for example, some are very quick to labels others such as “nouveau riche” or “low class.”
What is worse is that hardly anyone questions what these terms really mean. While you call someone “nouveau riche” you may well have a characteristic or two that someone else may use in the same fashion you are when you perpetuate this kind of judgment. When you mock someone’s English accent, it may well be that they have better use of the language than you do but simply lack confidence and practice in speaking.
To blame AUC’s society alone for this phenomenon would be to ignore the larger problem. We are after all, a microcosm of the country in which we live. No one could argue against such evidence in the face of major trends like gated communities and the difference in public and private infrastructure.
The fact that we’re coming up on more than a year’s passing since the Jan. 25 Revolution makes this reality especially cruel. In the midst of our revolution, we became somewhat blind to these differences and more focused on a better Egypt for all that it made little difference if you were wearing an elaborate Burberry scarf or a poufy, sequined one. As the zenith of these times died down, however, we’ve been forced back into facing the reality of the society we really are.
Many people often argue that change does not happen overnight, and indeed as we have seen, it does not happen over a year. Pessimists say change is almost impossible, and utopians say that if you change yourself, you change the world. Between the two extremes lies a well-rounded rationale. We should actually start with our community. Before you call someone “low class” it would serve you well to stop for a moment and think — is this the society you want to live in?
The unsigned editorials are the opinion of the editorial board and donot necessarily reflect the opinions of individual student writers or staff,advisers or the university administration.