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Broke-in Broke-on Mountain

“Dude, no I can’t do that I’m so broke,”

“Dude, me too, let’s just go.”

“Dude, I’m so broke urgh,”

These are some quotes I picked up the other day after realizing how often I hear and use the word “broke.” Here, on this beautiful, stolen, white mountain, lives a “broke-ass” community of students. Let us explore the word broke. Google defines “broke” as, “ having completely run out of money, meaning no checking account, cash, insurance, credit card, family or help.” Whether you flash your wallet at me showing your last dollar bill or tell me to check out the “rich kids’” cars because yours is a “piece of shit” and you could “never afford a nice-ass car,” so you can make sure I know you are really broke, I assure you this: you may have an empty wallet or a shitty car, but that is different from being unable to get financial help when you need it.

What does it mean when your parents have money and a home? It’s a different story if you don’t have parents or have a terrible relationship with them. Maybe your parents are broke; I hope not to disregard that these truths exist. But if you are trying not to use your last $100 in your savings account so your parents don’t have to step in and ruin your individualism, consider what you are broadcasting for a second.

On this beautiful mountain that we live on, the demographic is split into rich, not that rich, and people we have no idea about. Not being well-off isn’t an opportunity to play Broke-Olympics, but becomes a point of shame. This Broke-Olympics balances on a fine line between being comfortable with talking about finances if you are in a pickle versus complaining about rich kids’ cars, car bills and skis even though you don’t have to think about loans, paying for school or actually being broke. Many of us with loans still have a financial backup at home. There is a shared narrative and culture on this campus that plays directly into a game of who can be more broke, who can use more broke ‘tags’ as a tool to prove broke-ness to get closer to the culture and validation of not-being-rich, a game used as another classist mask.

First off, I congratulate you for deciding not to use the word poor and using broke instead.

However, it seems that I am hearing this word at least 17 times a day from the same people. I get it – it’s hard, especially in this homogenous community, to distinguish between the rich and not that rich on a surface level. Because let’s face it, the majority of students who can afford this place without a full scholarship do not know what it means to be broke. I apologize if you are reading this and have in fact lived through being broke. I realize this article is a generalization. My point is, this language surrounding“being broke” is an issue that I don’t hear discussed much on this campus. Similar to other problems, it is invisible to those who unknowingly benefit. So think about the words we choose to use in reference to this Broke-Olympics culture. Consider your ripped thrift store clothing, $40 online shopping splurges, Subarus, Toyotas, Hondas, and Jeeps, and think of how often you say the word broke, on this broken into mountain that we reside on.

Sincerely,

Another “broke-ass” student.

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