Bev's Bourgeois Blog

Nov 02

Being new to this school, I didn’t notice The Tables of Hierarchy until one of my friends actually pointed it out.
“Yeah dude, the ones nearest to the RBT are the most popular and as it progresses it’s the less and less popular”
“Seriously? Why?”
“It’s just always been like that”
Having only been here for a couple weeks, I couldn’t understand the rationale of a set of tables that obviously pointed out everybody’s social status on a daily basis. Aren’t we all here to go to school and get the best possible education? Won’t we all just leave and continue our journeys at our (hopefully) respective universities? Then I thought, it’s a very carpe diem thing, isn’t it, the Tables of Hierarchy? Being remembered really is a big issue for some people, and okay, if that’s how they feel, I can respect that. But I doubt I will ever understand it. I guess ripping off a chunk of another girl’s hair with my bare hands is just too gruesome an act for me.

Coming from a relatively small school (my previous school had about 100 students per grade), the lack of socialising within different types of people was a strange and unfathomable concept for me.
“Why can’t everybody just be friends?” I once exclaimed.
“It’s just because it’s such a big school that lines form.”
I couldn’t argue with that – partly because I had never been to such a large school before, and partly because it’s something that has already been accepted by the rest of the UWCSEA society, but why should it be acceptable?

The UWC mission is to make ‘education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future’. How do the Tables of Hierarchy promote this? It’s interesting that every year, the school brings in a number of National Committee Scholars to the school to do so, yet none (or a minimal number) of them are included in the System of Tables. Does this mean that the UWC movement isn’t reinforced in the UWCSEA? Does it mean that really, we¬†aren’t a proper UWC school?

But then again, I suppose that structure in society is always needed because it’d be impossible to be BFF’s with 299 other people. In society, social structure is based one’s work ethic, and can be gained as that improves, However at UWCSEA, social structure is inherited through family connections and wealth. It’s dissappointing to think that people here are accepting of a system that points out everybody’s social status on a daily basis.

The last two years of high school are always looked back on in different ways. For some, they were the best two years, filled with great friends and amazing memories; And for the rest, the end of the two years was always where they were looking towards, unable to find a place that they were happy in.

What do you think?



3 comments so far

  1. Nicole Yaw
    12:33 am - 11-19-2012

    Hey Bev! I agree with you about what you deem “The Tables of Hierarchy” in UWC. Perhaps one factor of why the Tables of Hierarchy is viewed so strongly is because of the length of time one is in UWC. I’ve heard from my seniors exclaim much satisfaction and glee once they’ve achieved their tables and “assert their hierarchy”, and one of them have been waiting since Grade 2. I found this fact very interesting that the “The Tables of Hierarchy” seems to have a history; that the place you sit determines your social status in a school, so much that even the Junior and Middle school have internalized this fact and wish to continue the tradition.

    Yes it is true that the last two years of high school may be important to a person, as it will be their most recent memory of their childhood, (or before 18 at least) and these Tables of Hierarchy can affect their views and confidence about their status in high school. However, I think that it really depends on the person and how much self-esteem they have. Without confidence in themselves, people tend to want to assert themselves stronger and prove that they are “better” than others. With the Tables of Hierarchy, they can achieve this simply by daily physical contact of the black tables, making them become dominant and even aggressive, should their place (and position) be threatened.

  2. Elisha Beston
    12:37 am - 11-19-2012

    I would have to say that i agree with your views on social hierarchy in our school, but i can also understand how this happened and why perhaps its a good thing. Maybe i think its a good thing because i have never known any other way, but i think that hierarchies split people into groups of their own people. That sounds horrible. Haha, i dont know how to phrase my opinion. I think its unrealistic to expect a hierarchy-less environment in any society…. still does not mean that hierarchies are a great thing.

  3. Shayaan Rasul
    12:19 am - 11-26-2012

    Hi Beverly! This is a fantastic response on a very controversial topic. What I love about your writing is that you seem to present a very balanced argument, and then ultimately take a stance towards the end. This is the perfect way to be writing especially on a topic that is not easily understood. I certainly agree with what you have said. The ‘black tables’ are indeed a very hierarchical system, and this is ironic considering the ethos of our school. However, like you so rightly pointed out, I do feel that the table system encourages us to form our own ‘band’ of friends that we grow very close to over our high school years. After all, it isn’t going to be possible to befriend the entire UWCSEA community!

    Overall, an evocative and inspirational piece of writing. Well Done! – Shayaan

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