Wealth and Privilege in America

By: Matthew Mauriello

Privilege.

What comes to mind? For some, it may be their best friend’s mansion, others—the unattainability of such lavish living, and most probably think of “politicians” like Donald Trump, seventy, where a cash-cow comment means the prize at the bottom of yet another vodka bottle.

Regardless, for such an amorphous concept, it seems to be all consuming in the day-to-day lives of Americans. Does said privilege infringe on their ability to humble themselves? Furthermore, does this undermine basic building blocks of character; like integrity? The compelling question: Does money falling out of someone’s diaper render them prone to a tone-deaf comprehension of the real world?

For starters, the word “rich” is vast in its span of connotation, ranging anywhere from a lower-upper-class city-goer, to Oprah, sixty-two. For the sake of simplicity, let us define it as any level of opulence.

“Spoiled” has been spoiled itself. Often it is used in regards to a child that may have gotten a nice gift for their birthday. However, this misconstrued vernacular reaches deeper than that, where it should typically be used in reference of a child who has gotten, historically, an abundance of materialistic gifts, therefore making their personality bitter—or “spoiled”.

One might ponder how this makes said child “spoiled”, as opposed to just fortunate or even blessed.

Livestrong.com reports all of the following attributes regarding the psyche of a spoiled child, “Dependency… Irresponsibility… Disrespect… Defiance.” Parentherald.com digs even deeper when asserting,

Spoiled children are less likely to learn how to be responsible. Spoiled children are prone to having difficulties dealing with authorities and the rules when they would turn into adults. Most spoiled children would usually end up living with lack of motivation, laziness and poor problem-solving skills.

Telling… Telling indeed.

Let us backtrack. John Doe, five-years-young, gets every single video game he wants as a child. At his beck and call, the Does hurry to cater to his needs, and fast. Because after all, “Our child is the center of the universe.” Anyway, as John ages into adolescence, he develops a dependency on his parents. Along with that, the Does keep getting phone calls home about recurring conflicts with his peers at school. “Why?” Jane Doe prods, “Not my John!”

“You see, Ms. Doe, your son seems to be upsetting kids at school. Parents are complaining.”

“Now why is that?”

“A lot of bragging is involved, the theme seems to be a superiority complex…”

Bingo.

Fast forward, John Doe is walking in his father’s footsteps as a businessman, rightfully. Now, in every interaction with others (keep in mind: He is in business), there is a transparent juxtaposition within this person of power—such naivety in such a grown man. 

Mr. Doe’s psychological maturity has been stunted. Why? Privilege.

As the previous delineation alludes, this privilege does two polarizing things. One, it stunts the developmental growth (e.g. the aforementioned trait of “dependency”), and two, plants an alternative seed of… Drum roll… Bigotry.

Now: Do the scathing correlations to the modern-day society make sense?

Sequentially, the problem has been traced. The conclusion is harrowing, but simple. Rich privilege transmutes to the large and innumerable predicaments that sweep the country. Every second.

In the media, music and in a boundless number of other ways socializing has been “abridged” by technology, rich privilege masquerades as song lyrics, headlines, and simple statements made by those in the spotlight.

Unbridled tears laced with poison green as envy run down the faces of teenagers exposed to this, who now have a longing for a life that seems so glamorous, happy, and without stress because rappers like Lil Wayne, thirty-three, endorse and promote such lifestyles through the music they make. The Earth facetiously quakes at a new ad hominem remark made by the infamous Donald Trump (a prime example of someone who has been at a disservice since a toddler because his rich, even “white heterosexual male” privilege has inflicted pain upon others). Forget his repeated tirade, Huffington Post’s most recent headline (as of September twenty-fourth), “Trump Flies With Gold-Plated Bathroom Fixtures, And You’re Paying Millions For It.” Nice. Lindsay Lohan, thirty, was caught injecting heroin, but was allowed to go to rehab (six times) because of her baffling notoriety in the nation, yet if a random civilian was caught doing the same, they would be in prison for possession.

In the grand scheme of things, these blatant, in-your-face displays of pompous privilege make for eyebrow-raising questionnaire about the subliminal messages being sent by those in the working class.

Privilege has always been a problem, but never as much as it is now—now, more than half of the population thinks the American Dream is dead. Why? Because the upper class is taught that they can do whatever they want because of their privilege. However, it does not stop at wealthy parents.

This epidemic runs through the judicial system, where money can literally make a right.

The eyebrow-raising questionnaire arrives when everyone must ask themselves who could spoil the over privileged more than the judicial system?

The working class can.

The people have spoken; the presidential nominees are debating; in November they will decide which of the two over privileged candidates will be the next president of the United States of America.

How uncanny.

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