Unfairness—hmm. Sometimes people think it’s “unfair” that talented folks like Bordain and Spade took their own lives when they had so much to give. Or that tragedy strikes, and people deem God “unfair” because He does not seem to save some from dire circumstances. Or, there are people I know who’ve worked most of their adult years to make it through to some elusive goal—acting and writing to the point of steady income are two that come to mind.
I don’t think I really regard any of those situations as “unfair.” They just happen, for various reasons. Instead, I’m rankled when there is an opportunity for betterment and enrichment out there (typically for my students), but the opportunity is not publicized properly, or offered with equity across the whole population.
Sometimes there are available internships, or scholarships, or jobs, but only a few students are told and urged to apply. In one of the most egregious usurping of power at our school in a long time, only select students got to participate in the opportunity of a decade. My pal applied last summer for the very special program that enabled some of our 11th grade history students to go see “Hamilton” for, I think, $10 a ticket. Initially, I felt great pleasure for him and the lucky students who, I assumed, would be from his classes, plus some who maybe had to write a little essay to compete for the leftovers.
My excitement morphed into anger, however, at the events that went down. Authority figures who were not didactic tyrants in the past suddenly decided which students and teacher chaperones would go. None were teacher’s current or former students. They were teens in certain favored programs within the school. No room was left for theatre students, or any random kid who just really loved musical theatre, to vie for a few tix of this Willy Wonka-esque windfall. I was shocked by how it all went down. In the end, my friend, feeling hijacked, did not even go see the musical he longed for. The left-behind still talk about the iniquity to this day.