You can’t sit with us is from the cult classic Mean Girls, there’s a scene where the head bitches were kicking Regina out of their lunch table for wearing sweatpants on a Monday and Regina let them know that those rules were fake and made up. Are there rules in society that are meant to separate people based on class, race, gender, politics, sexual orientation, and anything else that shows a clear line drawn in the sand? Should all tables have a distinction and precedent which states you can sit here ONLY if you can bring certain things to the table? I understand that some people will raise the argument about inclusivity and everyone should have an opportunity to experience seats at any table they choose, but in reality that’s not how it works and I think some tables should remain exclusive, held to a certain standard and if you’re unable to comply then perhaps that’s not the table for you.
Why do we have particular tables in high school anyway? What’s the deal with people sticking together and forming exclusive groups and keeping other people out? Shouldn’t there be access for everyone? The answer varies depending on why the group was formed and what’s the intention of persons joining the group. My lunchtime group consisted of my two nerdy best friends and our ELA teacher. This group was my safe space, my happy place and the opportunity for me to talk about all of the books we were reading, poetry festivals and ideas for my next writing assignments. Unless someone was really passionate about hanging out with three nerdy ass girls and their teacher, why the fuck would I want them in our safe space? Did the football players have every single prerogative to sit amongst themselves and create a hype surrounding their presence? Yes, they absolutely could sit together because that’s their safe space and their opportunity to be themselves and if that’s what gave them confidence, and allowed them to be in a positive frame of mind, then why should they have to worry about someone who wants to sit at their table?
When we become adults we choose proverbial tables based on interests, our kids choose for us, business opportunities, social clubs and a host of other things that merge to create our lifestyle. Are certain groups more exclusive than others to get into, yes? Sororities, fraternities, social clubs, country clubs, cigar clubs, and the list goes on but many of these clubs have a high standard and someone would need to vouch for you before you could even participate. You cannot enter these spaces simply based on desire, you have to be invited and once you’re invited, there’s a vetting process, once you’re vetted you now have to prove you can maintain and honor the code of conduct. Can you follow the rules of the establishment you’ve chosen to enter? Will you be a stellar and honorable representation for this group? Are you able to be your best yet authentic self amongst your peers in your chosen group? Hopefully, because you wanted a seat at that table, therefore you knew what is expected of you.
There’s a vast majority of folks who don’t give a fuck about social clubs, and they create their own table and bring their own seats! However, even then when you’re building your brand, networking and aligning yourself with like-minded individuals, you’re not going to just give anyone a seat at your table. Discernment will be your greatest asset, just because someone may look like you, and come from where you come from, it doesn’t mean you share the same principles, ethics, and long term vision. Certain people may have a seat at your table and spill wine all over the pristine table cloth because they allowed themselves to be reckless. Every opportunity isn’t for everyone, and all spots have to be earned. We carve out our space in this world, choose our communities wisely and build from the ground up when we weren’t invited to certain tables. Everyone can effectively choose where they will stand and how they will show up in this world based on their sense of self. Everyone at some point will be rejected from tables, but that is an opportunity to create your own. Every table is not for everybody and if you want to stay at a table there are rules, and if you can’t comply, then you can’t sit here. Period.