America F*ck Yeah: Help! I’m Middle Class in Washington, DC
You know, if I lived in Toledo, I’d probably be winning. Or maybe Des Moines. Consequently, if I lived in Detroit, I’d be Supreme Ruler Almigh-ty. But as luck would have it, I live in Washington, DC. This means that though the IRS thinks that I’m affluent, I’m really not. I’m more like getting by on good looks, charm, and my job. See, I’m one of those middle class folks who lives a nice middle class life, though in as urban a setting as possible. One time at bandcamp, somebody left a grocery cart from our neighborhood grocery store at the mailbox. It’s possible that whoever left it was trying to mail a shopping cart to a relative. It’s also possible that I’m too sexxy for my shirt, so sexxy it hurts. Neither of which is true.
While my education, and therefore, employment have afforded me luxuries such as a nice townhome that costs the price of a good-sized estate in most Southern states and a vehicle with great gas mileage, I also have a child. This means that I’ve got to deal with the most daunting task that any middle class person is forced to wrassle with: education.
Let me tell you something. You people without children are dodging all types of bullets in these streets. See, my daughter’s mother and I are both very well-educated and very well employed. We’re also just smart people. Genetically, it seems like we may have hit the lottery in regards to my child’s intelligence. She’s whipping piano’s arse and taking names. She’s beastmoding her Pre-K education, and clearly well above a significant number of her classmates in aptitude at this point. She’s not in public school, but a charter school, and people in DC will tell you what a battleground the charter vs public school war has become.
Can I be frank? Thank you, Frank. Save for a scant few, DC public schools leave much to be desired…by almost anybody. This is why charter school enrollment has exploded in this city in the past 10 years. My daughter is in a KIPP school. Have you seen Waiting For Superman? One of the schools profiled was a KIPP school and it’s a wonderful environment,place, and setting. But let’s be real, for special children who are a little bit smarter than the average bear – in major urban centers – you really need to send your kid to a private school. It’s not that the teachers and administrators can’t teach your kid; it’s just that when you have a child with an insatiable desire to learn – such is the case with Young Panamontana – you run into the need to feed the beast, so to speak.
Except, have you seen the prices for private school? Holy rusted metal, Batman. Thus far, it seems like the average annual price of tuition is in the $20-$25K range. That doesn’t even include the fees for entry and special stuff that kids who go to private schools do. I have no earthly idea how people pay for these things. Seriously. But there they go with straight face and nary a “gotcha!” in sight asking me to drop for a year what Rick Ross spends in one night at King of Diamonds (not clue whose return on investment will go further as of press time). Given my salary and apparent caste in life, I’m trying to figure out how somebody who does pretty doggone well is supposed to legitimately drop that kind of dough for a child’s education. Which, again, the return on investment is questionable at this point. Pretty much at my daughter’s age, you’re paying for security, access to resources, and…umm, lack of diversity.
Which is a whole other beast. See, you may not know this, but I’m Black. My daughter’s mother is also Black. So my child is…
…Black. Private schools seem to be notoriously not Black. I have a problem with this. Forgive me for what I’m about to say but remember, half of my family is also white.
Little white privileged kids seem to be some assholes. I’m afraid of turning my child into one or having her end up feeling outcast-ed because she’s the token. But you know what else sucks? She’s an outsider at her own school too. So I’ve got a different child (all positive though…you don’t want it with Hov), who has already proven to be gifted who is in need of a challenge so as to maximize her intelligence while maintaining a social balance so she gets to be a normal kid too.
Mind you, these are all good problems to have. But they are problems nonetheless. I’ve spent my educational years working to get to this point where I’m a bit too far beyond my public school options but have not quite made it far enough to avail myself of the private school options. I can’t walk into any office and claim to be a parent in need. One look at my W-2 and they may charge me for the visit.
At one point, I decided to move into the Southeastern section of DC. I bought a house there eventually. SE is the Black part of town and also, perception-wise, the bad part of town. Crime happens here, but this is DC so it happens all over the city. But perception is a motherlover so my part of SE – east of the river – remains the non-gentrified part of the city no matter what the newspapers and optimistic idealists try to tell you. Either way, I, a highly educated, well paid, employed individual was trying to move into SE.
I called no less than 5 apartment complexes and was met with various, “you make too much money to come live here.” messages. So let me get this right…I wanted to move into the part of town with my people, but I made too much money to do so. But I didn’t make enough money to live in the “desirable” part of town either. Not by myself and looking for at least a 2 bedroom apartment.
So I’m too broke for the well-to-do, and make too much for the rest of the populace, and my taxes subsidize programs I’ll never qualify for to use. Meanwhile, I’m trying to find a way to make sure my child gets the education she deserves that for the next 10+ years can run me nearly $200K before she even gets to college.
Basically, Panamontana needs to get a job. Even if daddy is considered affluent by the people who take 38 percent of my pay check.
I’m middle class in DC.
America. F*ck yeah.