Student News

Student Culture: Continued Discussion

William Kaelin – April 25, 2013

Here is the second response to the Student Culture Forum from earlier in the year. Again, the Student Council encourages everyone to keep this topic present in the on campus dialogue. We would love to see you all comment, or make a post of your own.

Anna Pettee:
“At a high school the size of Deerfield, the presence of a dominant culture is almost inevitable. The question is; does the resultant dominant culture promote individuality and acceptance, or does it engender exclusivity? Moreover, what are the criteria that create Deerfield’s dominant culture? At the culture forum there was a lot of discussion about clothing and self-confidence, and very little about socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds. I don’t think how much your parents make and where you are from are the sole deciders of your place at Deerfield, but to say they do not play a role is being blind. What we wear and how we feel about ourselves is extremely contingent on how we have been raised and how we live in regards to our economic means. I don’t buy a Barbour coat not only because I don’t see the appeal but also because those jackets are expensive, and I’d rather save for college, or a summer vacation. But my financial priorities should not hinder my character, or morality, and they should not stop me from befriending the daughter of an investment banker or son of a millionaire. When we look at Deerfield’s dominant culture we should ask ourselves not only what it is, but also where it came from and how it developed. I don’t see the presence of a dominant culture at Deerfield as a problem, but rather I feel it is the nature of that culture—it’s exclusivity and prejudice—as the root of the issue.”