My classmate Katie* comes from a working-class, rural background. She works three jobs plus goes to school; she has a busy family, disabled mother, and absent father. And recently, I overheard her talking on the phone:
“I want to be a college professor … I don’t want to spend the rest of my life working at What-A-Burger … If I go back to Texarkana* I’ll be seen as a failure. Because everybody’s gonna know that I couldn’t make it here.”
Her relative tells her to come back home, get a job, and enjoy her supportive family there. Katie’s in debt, can’t pay her rent, working so hard that she hasn’t got time for her classwork… Katie wants to complete school, and knows if she goes back it won’t happen.
“I have like my whole life here,” she says, “and y’all didn’t ask for any help.”
But it’s different being part of a y’all, of a family, than doing it all by yourself. She has so many needs and so little support, she has to carry it all herself.
How am I supposed to be part of her y’all?