Arn't I A Woman?: Poor little rich kids



Mar 16, 2012

Poor little rich kids

If you’re like me, you grew up in a mainly white suburban neighborhood with access to resources a lot of other people didn’t have, and you were probably taught a linear model of how life works: go to college, get a degree, get a job, make money, get married, have kids, die. I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Ga and didn’t really ever want for anything. I didn’t experience impoverishment or disenfranchisement. I always had everything I needed. Most people I know personally come from a lot of different backgrounds, but I know a lot of young people who had moderate to high standards of living growing up, and feel like shit about their lives and their future as young adults.

So how did this generation of over-privileged youth descend into a culture of nihilism? Why is it that the kids who were given everything now feel hopeless and lost and often turn to partying and escapism to avoid real life? Is it poetic justice? Not really, because it’s not like some other segment of this generation is particularly striving in this economy or social climate. It’s the worst time in history to be looking for a good standard of living, for anyone. So you have to first position the discussion in that context.

But the problem is, when you grew up being taught you could have anything you wanted, you don’t really develop a lot of survival skills. I graduated last May and I have lost my SHIT since. Like, really gone cray. Because I have no fucking idea what I’m doing, or what I want to do, or even how I could do it if I knew what it was I wanted to do!

My first response when looking at this problem objectively is obviously ‘dude, shut the fuck up. You were given all the privilege in the world and now you’re gonna complain cause life is hard?’
And I’m totally cognizant of the fact that even as I sit here typing, struggling to pay my bills, put food in my fridge, afford healthcare and with no real prospects on where my life is going, that I am so much more fortunate than probably 90% of the population.

So I want to tread lightly on this, but I’m just toying around with the concept of deprivation. It’s been in my mind since a friend gave me some life advice, and it included how deprivation can be healthy for people. And from this 30 rock quote where one of T Jordan’s men says something like “there’s a whole nother set of problems that come with wanting for nothing.”

My thought here is that as a society we have to stop breeding certain segments with privilege while withholding them from other segments. Because a) it leads to a lot of social inequality, and perpetuates all the racist, classist, and sexist systems that currently run the American government and social psyche, and b) I think it’s creating a lot of kids that are depressed, hopeless, and living in an Albert Camus novel. And the truth is, and you can find this in Derrick Bell’s critical race theory, that society hands out these abstract concepts of privilege, like- you may be poor, but you’re still white, and that holds it’s own privilege- to divide people. And then the poor white don’t fight against the man. They stay quelled.

And then the upper middle class is given some type of security through a greater access of resources. And so they think, hey, I’m pretty comfy over here. So we won’t get mad when big banks rape our economy, and they start rolling back civil and human rights, and all that wall street stuff. We commodify ourselves.

And so we’re internalizing all this, and this is total supposition but it seems this generation is filled with kids who have major anxiety issues, are filled with unrest, and are ready to occupy shit.
Ultimately the people with power and money in this society aren’t the people who pull 250k, they’re the people who have billion dollar bank accounts and are deeply influential in our societal direction.
(Side note: On a micro-level, I think it’s different. In a more local context, race sex and class issues shift.)  

I guess here’s my point: there are a lot of privileges afforded to say, a rich white kid like me. (I use rich in the terms of hey my parents probably have money).  Giving unequal privilege affects not only the people that are exploited in order to secure said privilege, but also those whom are the beneficiaries. It fosters nothing but greed and division.

I think we have to remember everyone’s struggles in our current social climate, and recognize that everyone doesn’t want or need the same things. And access that, and incorporate that into our cultural ideology. 

And then realize the whole way we’re doing shit is fucked! I’m just coming at it from a social science perspective, but it feels like the entire system is setting everybody up for failure.
And maybe I’m just being a whiney jerk who should buck up and stop showering myself in pity at my house I live in for free. Maybe I’m an asshole for even really wondering about this perspective. I guess the jump for me is that, the way I grew up (and not growing up inside my nuclear family, but rather how I was raised by society) psychologically impacted me in some negative ways, and would venture to guess this is the case for others.


  1. Finally, someone who thinks the same way I do about the way our society is breeding unhappiness. Kudos for putting it out there.


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Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio