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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Our nation’s greatest injustice by Laura N. '09

I didn't exactly grow up in poverty, but socioeconomic inequalities have featured heavily in my life story.

My hometown is a real-world manifestation of the phrase “the wrong side of the tracks.” In fact, I’m from the wrong side of TWO tracks. In Middletown, NJ, the residents on the south side of Highway 35 look down on the poorer residents from the north side. Those guys sometimes get kind of tired of getting looked down on, so they turn further north and deride the residents on the north side of Highways 36.

Obviously not everyone in my hometown is a classist jerk, but more than once have I or a member of my family found ourselves in the following awkward situation while in the center of town:
Person 1: “The houses south of 35 really are beautiful, it’s a shame this area of town isn’t as nice.”
Person 2: “Yeah, but at least we aren’t on the other side of 36!”
Me/family member: “Umm….guys?”

These socioeconomic differences manifest themselves in the township’s public education system. The town’s 17 elementary schools feed into its 3 middle schools, which feed into 2 high schools. Despite the fact that they’re in the same town and governed by the same school board, Middletown South High School is better funded than Middletown North High School. Period. This is just a fact of life which I’ve known since I was a little kid. North is far older than South- several decades ago, back before the township was large enough to need two high schools, there was only Middletown High School. When the district decided to expand, the original building was re-named Middletown North, and the new one became High School South. Since then, South had been renovated numerous times, while North was left in the same dilapidated state it was in when South was built (until about 2001, when it finally got a much-needed makeover). In a ranking of all of New Jersey’s high schools in 2008, South ranked 92 out of 316, while North ranked 143. It isn’t fair, and it doesn’t make sense, but that’s just the way it is. Ask anyone.

I’ve known and understood this since I was a little kid. That’s not to say I accepted it, of course. When my mom couldn’t explain the rationale for this discrepancy to me in the 7th grade, I declared my ambition to one day run for a position on the Middletown Township Board of Education, claiming to my mother that I, as a 12 year old, could do a better job than the current members. (Sorry to offend anyone out there who might serve on their local Board of Ed, but I rather agree with Mark Twain when he said, “In the first place, God made idiots. That was just for practice. Then he made school boards.”) Throughout my life I remember instance after instance of hearing about the schools (at the elementary and middle school levels as well) on the richer side of town getting everything first. New athletics uniforms, fancy science labs, you name it, South got it, and North wondered if anyone would ever replace the masking tape holding the plastic covers on the unfriendly fluorescent lights together.

In the interest of full disclosure: I never attended Middletown High School North. I would have- I attended its “poorer” cousins at the elementary and middle school levels, and was all set to enroll in the decades-old building in the fall of 2001. But my mom found a pamphlet in the Sunday newspaper one week about the Monmouth County Vocational School District (MCVSD)- a district of competitive “magnet” high schools with pre-professional specializations. Students from all across the county could apply to one these magnet schools, which each had a different focus- one in marine biology, one in health and medicine, one in communication technologies, and one in engineering. (Since my high school graduation they’ve added another one in biotechnology.) I had absolutely zero interest in these schools, but my mom wasn’t going to let me get away so easily. She dragged me to the information session of the engineering school, the dreadfully named “High Technology High School.” I mean, really. What, do they call it “High Tech” for short?!

Answer: yes. How do I know? Well, after 4 years of being asked the same dumb question, you start answering with “Well, what would you call it for short?”

So what happened? What changed? I started out that sleepy Saturday morning in the fall of my 8th grade year resentful that I had been woken up at some ungodly hour and dragged away from my cartoons, and left the school in the afternoon eager to start filling out my application. I’m going to be completely honest: the descriptions of the rigorous academic program weren’t all that exciting. The list of technology-related classes seemed okay, but I could take them or leave them. The student to computer ratio was insane, which was sort of impressive, but that’s not to say I cared much. No, what won me over, I’m ashamed to say, was the building itself. It was clean. I had never seen a school building like it before in my life. The hallways were bright, the desks were free of graffiti, and after one fateful trip to the bathroom in which I discovered a door on every stall and actual running water in the sinks, I was sold. (Do as I say, not as I do. This was a stupid way to pick a high school, and would also be a stupid way to pick a college. Just sayin. =) It had astounding ramifications on my life path, but I do think it all worked out for the best in the end.)

High Tech High began my second adventure into the social ill of unequal educational opportunity. The MCVSD practices “affirmative access”- which means they take one student from each of the middle schools that fall under its jurisdiction, which creates maybe half of the class. (It’s sort of like geographic affirmative action.) The rest of each incoming class is filled strictly by merit (meaning mostly grades, standardized test scores, and performance on an admissions exam which all applicants take), with no regard to where the students are from. The result? Holmdel, (median family income $122,785, 2.7% of families below the poverty level), is always one of the most common hometowns in each class. In contrast, Asbury Park (median family income $26,370, 29.3% of families below poverty level) usually sends one student. That student is nearly always black. In my class, he dropped out.

Now you tell me: do you think that students in Holmdel are just naturally that much smarter than students in Asbury Park? It must be something in the water, right?

The MCVSD is sort of like the Ivy League of public high schools. But it is public, which meant I didn’t pay for it. So how did I end up with such a great education, basically for free? Extra funding from the government and, oh yeah, the little detail that each student’s “home” school district is required to pay for the student’s tuition in the MCVSD. I always felt a little weird about that. No doubt the extra expense of my top-notch education meant one more semester without new biology textbooks at North. (I figured South would get along okay). And what about that student from Asbury Park, whose school district had to spend to send him to a school that they hadn’t even adequately prepared him for? And just like the Ivy League, my school district had its own particular flaws. I call it the legacy effect. Having a relative who attended the school doesn’t give you a boost in admissions, but you’re more likely to know about it and apply. If your parents went to college, they’re more likely to seek out extra challenges and programs for you in high school. If your parents are professionals, there’s a much higher emphasis placed on something like going to a fancy “pre-professional” school.

My best friend from high school is named Sarah. Her mom is a bank teller and her dad is a truck driver. My mom works in an elementary school, and my dad is a construction worker. We were pretty alone in our lower-middle class upbringings. Most of our classmates’ parents were doctors, lawyers, engineers, computer scientists, and consultants. It made life sort of difficult right from the start.

Teacher: “Okay class, today we’re going to learn about resistor color codes.”
Friend from Colts Neck (median family income $117,980): “Oh, my parents taught me this years ago.”
Me: “What’s a resistor?”

(For the record, my hometown’s median family income is $86,124- but if you look at the neighborhood I’m from, that little section off on the north side of Highway 36, that average drops almost 30% to $60,893.)

Teachers often assumed a lot of us. They usually taught for those engineer’s kids, who almost didn’t need instruction. They didn’t usually notice the handful of us with glazed expressions on our faces. We were High Tech High students, we’d been brought up from the crib knowing about the ferromagnetic properties of molecules, right?

It got almost surreal when I started to realize that not only were my friend and I fairly alone in having non-professional parents and feeling slightly (okay, completely) overwhelmed by this school, but that we were often alone in realizing it. My richer friends had no idea how much better off they were than me to begin with. I worked hard, happened to have a natural aptitude for subjects like physics, and ended up near the top of my class- so I can almost hear their reactions to this, telling me I’m exaggerating and that there’s no way that they were better off when I ended up with a higher SAT score or what have you. But the honest truth was that I spent the first half of my high school career in some kind of terrified misery, drowning in math and science. I came through the fires tougher than before, but it wasn’t an easy road.

One memory that really sticks out in my mind is the discussion that happened during “Bullying Awareness Week.” My classmates and I found the week’s programs to be pretty silly- sure, bullying is a problem, but when you go to a school full of people who are ALL nerds, it’s much less of one, and after a week we were getting kind of sick of doing express-your-feelings-positively exercises. A discussion to this effect began on our school’s message board system. A good friend of mine chimed in with a bitter and mocking comment: “I mean come on, it’s not like fistfights are a real problem. Name one fistfight that happened in your middle school that wasn’t a total joke or quickly broken up by the teachers.”

Name one…per week? Or per day? Wait, was he serious? Apparently, yes. Apparently, where my friend comes from, fistfights are rare and usually happen between kids who wouldn’t know how to do each other damage no matter how badly they wanted to. I asked him what happened if people arranged to meet after school for a fistfight, like at the local park? What if someone brought brass knuckles? What then? “Oh come on, we’re talking about real life, not T.V.”

Fistfights were a fact of life in my middle school. “Meet me at McMahon Park at 3.” Notes were passed, word spread, and a crowd of spectators would gather at the chosen baseball field or other landmark. Gossip about brass knuckles or a “caged match” on the fenced-off tennis courts would be whispered in class or passed through scribbled notes passed in the halls.

A general fact of my life from the ages of 11-14, in my mind not good or bad, just the way things are. And only ten miles away, another 11 year old who would one day be one of my closest friends thought that those things only happened on T.V. His hometown’s median family income? $109,760.

These experiences have really driven home to me, in a pretty personal way, the very real effect that socioeconomic status has on…everything. How you grow up, your childhood experiences, your worldview, and most importantly, your educational opportunities.

Well, it turns out that I’m not the only person to notice these patterns. Wendy Kopp noticed it too, so she started Teach for America, an organization which recruits top students from prestigious universities and hires them to work as teachers in low income communities. In theory, these students have a double impact. First, they are intelligent and enthusiastic young people fresh out of a college, who really believe they really can make a difference in the short term and on a small scale. Second, participants will have a deep personal understanding of the problem, so when these “future leaders” end up in powerful positions, they’ll use their understanding of the problem of education inequity to affect change on a larger scale.

Obviously, the organization has its flaws. Some critics point out that most teachers study to be teachers, whereas members of Teach for America do not. Also, it’s sort of interesting that the organization plays the system against itself. Which is sort of cool, but the idea of having the rich and priveleged kids who went to the fanciest, most expensive colleges head into the inner city to change things…well, that doesn’t sit perfectly with me.

But I ultimately think the organization does a lot of good. In some interviews I’ve seen with the founder of the organization, she cites some truly incredible examples of success- like one teacher whose 6th graders entered the year with pre-K level writing skills. By the end of the year, they were on track with 6th grade skill levels. Their parents were amazed, and experienced the first ray of hope that their kids might actually go to college, something they had never considered possible before.

That kind of change is incredibly inspiring, which is why I’m submitting an application this year. It goes nicely hand-in-hand with my application to the Peace Corps. (Do I sound like a total hippy now? Don’t worry, I’m eventually going to apply to some “real jobs” too- you know, with the UN or World Bank. =)

I know that my hometown is nothing like the inner city. I don’t claim to be from a “bad neighborhood,” but I do think my experiences show just how pervasive this problem is- it exists in all levels of society. Not only that, but my experiences provide my own personal motivation for (hopefully) joining the organization. I’ve known about educational inequality since I was a kid. And it’s made me mad ever since then. (Man, if only I had kept a blog as a kid. I would love to have a more accurate representation than my own faded memory of the time I went on a crusade against the local Little League for giving unfair preference to the boy’s baseball teams over the girl’s softball teams. I was a raging mad 11 year old, circulating a righteously angry petition about gender discrimination. I really haven’t changed much.)

Teach for America considers educational inequality “our nation’s greatest injustice.” That’s a pretty hefty statement, but I have to agree that it’s pretty bogus that despite all of our claims to be a land of opportunity, we have a long way to go for true equality. Luckily there are people out there working for change.

Some of today’s other blog entries are much more far-reaching in scale. Obviously inner city schoolchildren are much better off than starving kids in Southeast Asia, or AIDS-ravaged families in sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that poverty exists in all sorts of forms and at all different levels. But no matter what reference frame you’re in, poverty really affects people in many ways, and we can’t just turn a blind eye to it.
————————————————————
Sources:
Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank

American Fact Finder

Interview with Wendy Kopp

21 responses to “Our nation’s greatest injustice”

  1. Kiran says:

    I live in India,born in America, but now I live in India. Median Family income: $750

    No…. seriously.. that’s how much it is :(

  2. Shreya says:

    This was one of the best blog posts I read in a very long time. Here in India, people are too busy just trying to survive to care about even basic elementary education. I hope the situation changes soon. It just isn’t fair to mess up so many futures.

  3. Ahmed says:

    I totally agree with you about education inequality. It’s extremely apparent in Houston, as well, with its sparkling new high schools on the wealthy outskirts of town and dilapidated, underperforming schools near city center, one of which was actually under threat of being forced to shut down by the state of Texas. All this in the same school district.

    That being said, I’m not convinced that Teach for America is always a force for good. My mom teaches at a local elementary school, and when their longtime and beloved principal retired, a fresh-faced TfA kid took his place, even after the PTO, the teachers, and the school district had agreed on another principal (this selection process was just a front). After he took his job, he started new policies that are rubbing the teachers in the wrong way, bringing down the morale of the faculty, which of course affects the performances of both the educators and the students. The point about teachers, but not TfA folks, being trained to teach is a serious problem.

  4. Bethan says:

    This is a really interesting post. I’d heard of Teach for America before in passing, but not being an American citizen I hadn’t paid much attention. The concept of it is fascinating though.

    I teach on monday mornings in my high school, and there’s a fairly noticeable inequality between the standard of knowledge of some of the kids, all because of the junior school they went to and the distribution of funding between the local junior schools.

  5. Claire says:

    I come from a similar situation, flipped. My middle school fed into two different schools, North and East. East (my high school) is ‘the rich school’ in a district of five schools, North is the poorest one, with East getting all the best test scores, grades, etc., while North gets the worst (I think); one of the richest suburbs in the state is in the East attendance area. When people hear I go to East, they automatically assume that my family makes X dollars a year (I don’t live in said suburb), when people hear someone goes to North, they assume they make Y dollars a year. It makes me really sad, because I know some great people who go to North, and some not-so-great people who to East.

  6. Banerjee says:

    Wow….

    Super-long but super-good post. I love reading your blogs, Laura. They’re so interesting!!

  7. Zaira '11 says:

    *I had posted this on Shannon’s blog accidentally*

    Hi Laura,
    So you are from the famous High Tech High? Did you by any chance participate in TSA (Technology Student Association)?

  8. JG 27 says:

    And this’s exactly, why we want to this website to terminate. Because, alongwith sponsoring news through AP, this website is also causing extreme media frenzy among students of third world countries. Especially among SE Asian students. But except from Pakistan how many students get full scholarships from there? For undergraduate? Surely this concerns Ms. Rice, more than you but nevertheless it causing a lot of applications from those countries to pour in. And if you aware of your institute’s dossier on indiscrimination and finaid policies (on paper), you’ll know there’re a lot of deserving students get disappointed e.g. Dr. Chang-Diaz. Came back for Ph.d. And this is incorrect. And it must be stopped. As a preliminary measure (agreed with Mr. Mead) we’re first talking with bloggers tete-a-tete, and wish them to be more specifically, statistically correct about what they say about admissions when talking to these guys, or else, we’ve plan B ready.

    And we think that it was fruitlessly much hyped MIT that ended the life and times of MJ, as Dean of Admissions.

  9. Katie says:

    Wow, Laura. Thank you for writing this–it’s the most eloquent and accurate description of the kind of disconnect I felt for a long time growing up that I’ve ever come across. I also went to a top math/science magnet coming from a working/lower-middle class background, and for the first two years I did okay academically but really struggled to connect with any of my “peers,” who didn’t feel like life-experience-peers at all. I really got into my stride the last two years, but there was always that sense of Other present and at least a twinge of regret that my parents didn’t have the educational or professional background, at least in technical things, that most of the other kids’ had.

    Ironically, I wanted to go to MIT, but ended up not being able to because the money would be a big stretch. My dad’s an electrician, but the finaid people were very unreceptive to the idea that people who work in dangerous places with their hands can’t keep working as long as professors and white collar workers can. (It all worked out though, just ended up at the place down the street).

    Hm, I’m just a freshman, but I’m also thinking of teaching. I don’t think I’d do it through TfA though–I guess they mostly provide a good service, but there is a difference between knowing material well and being able to teach it well that TfA downplays.

  10. scanner says:

    As an MCVSDer, I agree with the stereotypes you have put forth. The only question is, “How do we fix it?” There doesn’t seem to be a fair solution. The main problem is getting students to apply to the schools, but as public schools there can’t be any kind of affirmative action and lowering of standards.

  11. Matt A. says:

    Great entry, and I’m sure accurate in many cases. I certainly do not want to undermine the point, but I do have an ironic and slightly hilarious counter-case:

    In Memphis, TN, White Station High is the city school systems crown jewel. It is an optional school, which is sort of like a college-prep magnet school where people transfer in for the academic program, but it also has a regular district. It is in East Memphis, in a nice neighborhood, and its district has one of the highest (I don’t have the number, sorry) median incomes. I don’t technically live in the city, but I go to the school on a transfer (with a $600 fee since my family doesn’t pay city taxes). And yet…it has the worst or one of the worst buildings of any of the city schools. It’s more than 50 years old and hasn’t been renovated. The ceiling tiles have an occasional tendency to fall on people’s heads, the labs and bathrooms badly need renovation, and the school is overcrowded (a safe assumption when the cafeteria stage is a classroom). 5 Years ago, my calculus teacher drove up to talk to the administration about working there, and called the school before she went in because it looked abandoned and wanted to be sure it hadn’t moved. You get the idea.

    White Station Middle, in a similar situation, finally got its much needed fix two years ago. Of course, it was in such bad shape that it was easier to build a whole new school behind it, and just knock the old one down. Unfortunately that’s not an option at the high school due to space.

    It’s not an inner city school, it’s not in a poor part of town, and it puts out the best test scores of any other school in the area, including city schools, county schools, and private schools (which everyone is quick to brag about). Again, I don’t mean to undermine your point at all, just to describe an ironic exception, and I’m interested to hear if anyone else is in a similar situation.

  12. Laura says:

    JG 27: I would love to respond to your comments, but I honestly can’t make much sense of them. You seem to have some problem with the “hype” that I write. Can you tell me about anything I wrote that was incorrect? I’m quite honestly confused.

  13. Matt A. – My school is not an inner city school, not in a poor town, and puts out higher than average test scores.

    Our auditorium/gym roof has been leaking for a year and a half now, to the point where its a safety hazard. A girl slipped and fell during my dance recital last year and several people almost fell during our musical. They just got around to fixing it, but they’re doing the work during school hours so we have to dodge flying debris during band class now.

    I can’t wait to go to a school where there’s no debris falling on me as I play my flute.

  14. Kim says:

    excellent post

  15. Neal says:

    Geography based classism is part and parcel of life in Monmouth County and, I imagine, throughout New Jersey. You are taught at a very early age, if not by your parents then certainly by your peers (who learned it from their parents), what your value is as a human being based on what town, or neighborhood within each town, you live in. And this is passed down from generation to generation. Read the Jack Nicholson biography by Dennis McDougal: “Beyond his radio fantasies or Saturday matinees, Jack was defined by central New Jersey’s own unique system of social caste…the townships along the shore were as rigidly striated as any European ghetto…Each morning Jack walked from their new place at 2 Steiner Ave. to Theodore Roosevelt Elementary, where a higher class of students attended.” This was 1945. 63 years later and nothing much has changed. So it’s no surprise that the funding is doled out as it is in Middletown and, likely, many other districts in Monmouth County. The whole “us vs. them” and “thank goodness we don’t live on THAT side of 36” mentality cannot help but infect the way the powers-that-be decide funding.

    Alison Steele once said that none of us ever really get older, we simply grow taller. All the advanced degrees and corporate experience in the world won’t change the fact that a lot of people (including school board members) will never really leave high school. Only now, instead of “Meet me at McMahon Park at 3″, it’s “I’ll see you Tuesday night at the board meeting”, and the beatdowns are delivered not with brass knuckles, but with ballpoint pens and gavels. And it’s the present-day students who wind up the most bloodied. This despite the power-wielders’ ad nauseum promises to “put the needs of the students first.” I wonder how many times these school boards have ever invited students to speak at the board meetings about the conditions in which they are learning and what they might want in the way of improvements. Is it any surprise that Laura was won over to the magnet school because “The hallways were bright, the desks were free of graffiti, and after one fateful trip to the bathroom in which I discovered a door on every stall and actual running water in the sinks, I was sold”? How many other students just want to be able to play the flute (or work in a science lab, or study English) without debris falling on their head?

    So why can’t the money that Asbury Park is sending to a school that their kids aren’t prepared for instead be spent on their own pre and elementary schools? Why can’t graffiti-free desks and stalls on every door be taken for granted in Asbury Park as much as at High Tech High? Why can’t a six grade jump in writing ability happen in Asbury Park? Why shouldn’t an Asbury Park freshman be the one asking, “You don’t know what a resistor is?” Certainly there are unique factors in the home lives of each student that are out of the control of board members and would affect their academic performance. But as long as each successive generation of people who hold the purse-strings continues to live their collective lives according to the old locker-room and cafeteria geo-classist codes that stretch back to Nicholson’s youth and before even that, the funding discrepancies that plague school districts like Middletown and Asbury Park will continue unabated.

  16. @ Neal wink

    Hmm…! Okay, so, have you ever did something in this perspective. I mean any action taken in this regard, to ameliorate the situation, for those who would be there, when you’ll be gone. So they wouldn’t feel as everybody in the post and subsequent replies did.

    – Gruppenkommandeur JG 27

  17. JG 27 says:

    @Laura

    Posts like these, gives rise to false hopes among SE Asian students(except Pakistan and Khazakstan); when the real deal depends pretty much, on an applicants geographic location, i.e. inside or outside of Excited States of America. Plus the invariable ability to pay while you learn. Are we wrong? We wish to be more wrong than your desire to prove us. But sadly and practically this’s not the case. For us the real issue is $12000×65, and consequently for the Suddenly Susan, as they’ve admitted under disguise that nowadays students are dividents, rather than investment. And sometimes, hell for a lot of times, $65 can be pretty hard, to see it going in the drain. Laura, we live in a society in which lot of discrimination is getting imposed on the basis of “International Students Financial Aid Form”. Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter. For the record, we consider ourselves as a mask for- University’s finaid policy really works for the deserving international candidates. And once inside, you can’t criticize a system than let you in for free, and let you enjoy. But as we’ve presumed; and rightly so:: Someone have to stop it. And it was a pure coincidence that we were there.

  18. Neal says:

    The lack of job prospects on the Jersey Shore led me, like so many of my peers, to pursue my fortune in New York. Even if I had stuck around, however, I don’t know what I could have done to change things. Like I said, the people I wrote about are firmly entrenched in these adolescent mindsets, and there are thousands of them. It’s just the way that area developed culturally and its hard to imagine it ever changing. I assume you’re writing from South Asia, but if you could spend a Friday night at Paul’s Tavern in Belmar or Barry’s Tavern in Bradley Beach, you’d see exactly what I’m talking about. These people are going to spend the rest of their lives fighting the same fights and having the same loyalties as they did when they were 17. And the political climate vis-a-vis school funding will never change.

  19. JG 27 says:

    You; disappointed us, Neal. And, yes, one of us is from SE Asia, but at this point of his life, he thinks that California folks are just fine.

    “What I could’ve done?”; “Maybe I could’ve done, something” or “maybe at least I could’ve tried”: These are pretty awesome phrases, declaring one has lost all hope, beyond repair. But we haven’t lost yet, at least, until we do something worthwhile, which can enable us to look into the eyes of our three year old grandson, and let us, smile, with him. Neal, it isn’t wrong if you’ve felt -and still feeling- that things will never change. Maybe we are just born to sustain conflicting dangers and damages, on our otherwise lovely career prospects, by our hearts who refuse any kind of ethical jeopardy. Its a tough job, we are going to do it. And let us confirm, from you that you’ll be there and watching, to see how it is done.

  20. New Jersey truly is the armpit of America. I’ve lived there for the past ten years and can attest to the classist attitudes mentioned in Laura’s blog. It’s also a very depraved state, at once full of success and despair. When parents try to relive their adolescence by drunkenly doing coke lines with their kids, that’s a problem.

    In general, what I’ve noticed is that the people themselves are actually fairly nice. The problem is New Jersey; the environment changes the way people behave. I think it’s a very interesting study in urban planning. Of course I speak only for northern New Jersey (I lived in Summit, a wealthy suburb 30min from the City full of stock market types) but I think it’s the combination of seclusion by geography, wealth by proximity, and comfort by climate which makes it particularly suited for excessively unnecessary social drama, conflict, and materialism.

    In speaking to a friend here at MIT who also lived in Jersey, we’ve come to the conclusion that true New Jerseyites–born and raised–love the carefree nature of the state, while those who lived somewhere else before see it as the pitiful cesspool that it is.

  21. Rahul Row says:

    Its a bit like YOU said..

    And you’re a lot better off than the people of my country India – where having poverty is not the only problem you can have!

    Person 1: Here we got religiious discrimination, especially since we are Hindus (- the original owners of the country, by the way, ha ha – but try asserting yourself or saying anything about your country have gazillion years of history as Hindu country, and the other religion, beings “Illegal Aliens” …try saying that!

    Person 2: “Yeah, but at least we aren’t on the other side of India – Islamic Pakistan!!!”