By Anna

In the November/December issue of the Utne Reader “an educator challenges society’s assumptions about intelligence, work, and class” in an essay about the lost intelligence of the working class, the blue collar community.

Coming from a blue collar, rodeo rearing, gossip-ridden town in Montana, where you’ll run into someone you know every time you leave the house, I left town right after high school. But once a year, usually Christmas, I, the college-educated elite, venture back to my working class roots and act as though I’m better than all the ones who stayed.

“If we think that whole categories of people—identified by class or occupation— are not that bright, then we reinforce social separation and cripple our ability to talk across cultural divides,” said Mike Rose from Utne.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars studying a minor I leave on the hook of my Minneapolis home as soon as I head for the mountains. I study cross-cultural missions at Bethel and learn how to relate to people from other cultures in order to someday not only educate them biblically, but for them to educate me culturally.

There were times in my two weeks in Montana when I thought I was better than all my peers who are “stuck” in Great Falls. Because I’ve read multiple 1,000 page books in one year and now live in the most intellectual city in America. But I’m not free from ignorance, no one is; yet I perpetuate the stereotypes of community college students and gunslinging Baptists because I can’t see past my pride and recognize the value of another culture.

Instead of staying indoors all Christmas or ducking behind shelves at Barnes and Noble to avoid that 12th grade math teacher. I said hello to my sophomore biology teacher and senior English teacher to continually glean that blue-collar wisdom that might just be necessary for reconciliation and a more holistic future for America.