I have always wondered what life would be if everyone was rich, and no one was poor; how families would celebrate birthdays, how the means of production would thrive, and how bailouts would be the new dole outs. I started asking, “Is it really possible for everyone to own a pair of Armanis?”
Yet the more I think about it, the more I wonder why it never happened in the past; why there seems to be some societal role each individual is destined to play. Call it the birth lottery, but every form of civilization has had socio-economic disparities that, while should never be large, have come to be imperatives. There’s the working class and the white collars, the McDonald’s and the Angel’s Burger, and the privileged and the unprivileged. Whereas a fixation into the societal role a person was born with should never be the benchmark, it becomes contrary to the very nature of human experience when empathy between polar opposites, a defining characteristic of humanity, is forwarded as abstruse to the innocent; when the rich are devoid of discourse, and when the privileged are demonized for something they cannot control.
I write this column with fervor against those who breed gratuitous animosity between the privileged and the unprivileged. There seems to be some growing negative sentiment against those blessed with the means to provide for themselves, and those who feed off the crumbs that fall of the masters table. Woke culture has grown to condemn the rich as those who have been handed an empire, and never worked a day in their life. It propagates an “objective” moral compass, invalidating the opinions of the privileged for the sole reason that it is absurd for those in the blessed side of the spectrum to possibly understand the plight of those who are suffering on the other side. To them, because one is afforded affluence greater than the majority, that person ceases to be “human” and should be shamed for enjoying the opportunities available to them. Yet, those same people who call-out privilege find solace in hypocrisy, because once they take a sip from the master’s cup, they fail to let go. they refuse to share.
Let’s not forget that these privileged are the same people who have been given hardworking parents; the greatest ones who would perish for their children. The same ones who have sacrificed in their own capacity for their scholarships and garnered every right to attend the best universities in the country. The exact same who, too, have dreams, feelings, and determinations not only for themselves, but for others as well.
There is nothing deplorable about sleeping under a roof every day or having a mother to take care of you when you are sick. Not everyone is blessed with the same, but do we castigate against these people? Never, unless they sit on their butts squandering their lives at lavish lifestyles lived only for themselves. We criticize their spoils of war, yet dare not consider the mountains they had to climb to have them. We quash their struggles as unworthy, yet overlook how they (or their parents) worked for what they enjoy now.
However, in the same way how it has always been foolish to discredit the efforts of the hardworking, it would be ill-advised to judge everyone in a vacuum. There are levels to being socially aware and socially devoid; being on the streets and looking from the ivory towers. While there are certainly those who have grown to be apathetic, there are still those who have rallied against contractualization, opposed the Marcos burial, and have spared a meal or two with someone who needed it more than they did. Privilege is a responsibility that is hard to accept. As someone with blessings, their life must revolve now in circulating those blessings to as many people as they can. The acceptance and acknowledgement of privilege is the first step in bridging the gap between the socio-economic disparities that have always existed
Still, I do think that when much is given, much is expected. Because we can never truly mend society in ways that equitably offer opportunities to everyone, a two-fold mission reserves itself for both polar dichotomies: For the struggling to strive, and the blessed to give back. Perhaps then, in that capacity, we can continue to hope that our accomplishments at one point in time do not define who we’ve grown to become. If anything, it tells of what we have yet to accomplish.
This is the challenge of the privileged—me included.