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Snow White and the 7 Myths of Meritocracy, by Sena Chang

'Snow White and the 7 Myths of Meritocracy' explores the paradigm shift we have undergone in the last several decades concerning the nature of education. By using the classic fairytale of "Snow White" as a vehicle to emphasize the many dangers of meritocratic thinking, Chang wishes to cast a light on the many victims of this increasingly competitive and toxic education system.


There, beyond that great mirage

of her innocence, Snow White

sees a crimson apple.


Myth 1: Equality reigns over the great dynasty, Inequality.


With our sparkling white teeth,

we grin at the very fruits of our labor—

the sixteen-hundreds

and four-point-ohs.

because it is we that believe

that Education is The Great Equalizer.


Myth 2: Opportunities for all, Loss for none.


Yet amongst us stand

those who toiled, only to steal

the fruits of others’ labor.

“don’t fret—daddy’s slipped a crisp Jefferson

under the table, rebecca.”


Myth 3: Oh, the glory that Meritocracy’s winners have!


Our textbooks stained with the blood

of our toiling, the same apple-red color

stains our old eyes. Eyes that are reddened

by straining through textbooks

until Sunrise reaches, reminding us

we have survived to see another day,

stuck in this eternal study session.


Myth 4: Happiness will prevail!


Off we all travel

To a land where we are led

by battle cries of “HARD WORK!”


to a land where the sixteen-hundreds

and four-point-ohs emblazon themselves

directly into the fabric

of our identities.


Myth 5: The magnificent currency with which we buy and sell


“goodbye mother,” i tremble,

as I leave to a land

Where our braggadocio

is measured solely by the

hours we toil, the hours we struggle.


Myth 6: What bad could it possibly do?


waves crash down upon our consciences,

yet it is nothing that we think of them,

for we are sailing towards utopia.


Myth 7: An eternal cure-all to our education system.


“to meritocracy, we sail!”


“to meritocracy, we sail!”

we shout.


to meritocracy, we sail to our doom


T’was that very moment,

Snow White had made her resounding decision.


She gave in to her temptations,

teeth cracking open the crimson-red skin of the apple.

no sooner was she lying

in a pool of her crimson-red.

Sena Chang is a musician, poet, and artist. In addition to writing poetry related mainly to her Asian heritage and Kafkaesque scenarios, Chang is the EIC of The Pandemic of ‘19 Anthology. There, she seeks to give a voice to Tokyo's youth through creative writing and other mediums of art. Her most recent works have appeared or are forthcoming in Raised Brow Press and The International Educator, amongst others.

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