OPINION: Fake woke? It’s no joke

A person talking on a self phone about Coachella
Graphic by Daphne Yang

Oh, the Claremont Colleges.

When I think of the 5Cs, a few general ideas come to mind: diversity, longboards, Foucault and squirrels. Perhaps these factors are universal across Southern California campuses, but there’s one 5C trend I have never observed, at least as prominently, at any other school.

That trend is something I like to call “Neiman Marxism.”

OK, so maybe I didn’t coin the term, but upon hearing it for the first time I couldn’t help but feel that at least half the 5C community was being directly called out.

Urban Dictionary defines a Neiman Marxist as “a college-educated, vaguely bohemian liberal … who, while shopping for $400 jeans and planning visits to exclusive Vegas nightclubs, espouses Marxist revolution … and claims empathy for the poor and oppressed as long as they don’t move in next door.”

Ring any bells?

It’s important to consider how readily new students adopt Marxist/socialist ideologies that are blatantly at odds with the lives they have lived and the upbringings that have brought them to this point in their lives.

I have most observed this trend at one of the 5Cs specifically, but since I’m not naming names … just kidding, it’s Pitzer College. According to a report released by The New York Times, the median family income of a Pitzer student is $216,600, with over 70% of students in the top 20%.

No, that’s not “just your parents’ money.” No, that’s not “comfortable” or “middle class.” Yes, you are reaping the benefits of that wealth, and yes, you are being a hypocrite. So please, stop dragging capitalism when your idea of environmental consciousness is your daddy driving a Tesla.

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You cannot wear Marxism like it’s a Ferragamo cashmere sweater; it’s comfy, sure, but all it does is make painfully clear the fact that you couldn’t care less about class issues and will likely be financially stable no matter what you choose to do with your life.

Pitzer must not be the only object of our resentment; the same survey also reported that the median family income for a Pomona College student is $166,500, with 67% of students in the top 20%.

Ever notice how that rich kid in your English seminar who’s always so quick to talk about “redistributing the wealth” is the one who never Venmos you for the Uber and who charges you for every little thing, even though you know they could buy a thousand of them if they really wanted to?

That’s what 5C performative wokeness, or Neiman Marxism, brings out of us. With it is the tacit assumption that all is equal “from here on out,” totally disregarding our foundations of wealth and privilege.

Yes, maybe you’re a “broke college student.” But there’s a difference between “brokeness” and “poverty.” Sure, maybe you can’t shell out $500 for a Coachella ticket, but that doesn’t mean you have to financially support your family, nor does it mean you have to work every single day just to attend a school like Pomona.

If you think for one second that not having disposable income entitles you to jump on the “workers of the world, unite” bandwagon, you’ve got another thing coming.

And if you do come from a privileged background and genuinely believe in economic equality (and not just because Daddy Foucault told you to), what can you do? I’m certainly not suggesting a “forget the poor” mentality.

Karl Marx no doubt hated a lot of things, but I’m certain he hated fake-ass bitches most of all.

The next time you’re out at lunch, taking an Uber or spending a day in Los Angeles shopping for high-quality sex toys — whatever the circumstances, if you’re in a financial position to more easily afford something than your peers, then share the wealth.

Trust me, a couple of dollars may be worth a lot more to them than to you. It’s in the little things, and even a seemingly small act such as this could be the difference between being a true ally to financially marginalized communities and being a walking, breathing contradiction.

Karl Marx no doubt hated a lot of things, but I’m certain he hated fake-ass bitches most of all.

Be honest, and stop wearing social consciousness like a pair of Gucci sunglasses. Trust me, that’s so last season.

Cameron Tipton PO ’20 is a well-meaning pseudo-Marxist and former ASPC presidential candidate. They are anxiously awaiting the release of Lana Del Rey’s sixth studio album.

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