Privilege is Not a Choice, #Asshattery Is
An open letter to the author of “Being Privileged Is Not A Choice, So Stop Hating Me for It“.
Nobody hates you because you’re privileged. You’re a pathetic humble-bragger who thinks everyone is jealous of you, which is an eminently hate-able quality, but I promise that the number of people who actually spend the energy to hate you approaches zero. On the contrary, most people you purport to know with all that loan debt? They’re likely too busy grinding to get out from under it to notice your professional hair highlights. And, if other people happen to think of you, I’m sure it’s only to snicker behind your back for thinking you’re rich because you can wear $400 suits while you apply for scholarships and babysit for pocket money. I mean, honestly, where do you park your Bentley?
The fact you think you’re wealthy is indicative of how far the basic assumptions of what an American middle-class lifestyle provides have fallen in 2013. People like your parents, who work hard and contribute two incomes to their household, should be able to afford college for their children, and you don’t even know that scores of households just like yours simply can’t do it anymore. It’s not because everybody besides your parents got lazier, either. Over a mere three decades, the cost of a year’s tuition with room and board at a public 4-year university has more than doubled (when dollars are constant). Consequently, paying for your kids’ college and graduate school is now a luxury item. And, you know, kudos to your parents for still managing to do that for you; you seem to be getting a lot out of it.
Because you’re right: privilege isn’t a choice. It’s the result of white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist structures that for centuries have organized society into a vicious hierarchy in which shit rolls downhill. The irony is that you are wholly ignorant of how privilege has affected your parents’ ability to give you a stable life. You think they worked hard. You think you work hard. So, you reason, your success is a product of their hard work added with yours. You actually don’t take into account any of the ways the system has recognized your work while it exploits and diminishes the hard work of other families. You don’t realize that you’re given chances, jobs, scholarships, and other compensation because of your multiple intersecting privileges. I don’t know you so I’m not sure what these might be, but if you are White, and/or American-born, and/or middle- or upper-class, you or your family might enjoy artificially heightened status.
While none of your intersecting systemic privileges is a choice, your decision to remain ignorant of them and #PrivilegeWail for people to stop being jealous of you most definitely is. No amount of J. Crew realness is going to make it okay for you to tell people to stop hating because you have a lot of nice stuff that you think you deserve. That thing you mis-identify as “privilege” is more accurately called “being an asshole.”