[Ed. – The op-ed excerpted below is by the Times’s resident ‘conservative,’ David Brooks. In it he laments how the upper 20% of American wage earners have put up cultural walls segregating themselves from the unwashed 80% below. But the example he gives — which appears bolded below — is unintentionally hilarious. It’s hard to top James Taranto’s reaction to the passage on Twitter: ‘When did gourmet sandwich shops start admitting customers with such meager credentials?’]
Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.
It’s when we turn to the next task — excluding other people’s children from the same opportunities — that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.
Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.