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Fri Sep 25, 2015, 08:25 PM

I fucking hate how our society is so status and money oriented!! [View all]

Last edited Sat Sep 26, 2015, 12:22 AM - Edit history (3)

It disgusts me how status and money oriented our society is. Fuck elitism, and fuck shallowness, and how so many people do things only to "improve their reputation" and to "impress" others. I don't care how "big" or "nice" your houses or cars are. Fuck that horseshit. I think people should be allowed to do whatever they want, as long as they aren't hurting themselves or anyone else. Judging them for petty shit is ridiculous and shallow.

To me, being "successful" in our society doesn't have anything to do with grades, being "smart" academically, getting into top colleges, getting "prestigious jobs" or making tons of money. That's meaningless. Ted Cruz got excellent grades at Princeton and Harvard Law School, and I think he's a dumbass and a dipshit.

Sometimes, making a lot of money might show that you did something worthwhile and were a great leader (if you were an entrepreneur who designed an amazing new product or service, or if you invented something), but a lot of the time, it might not, especially if you inherited a lot of the money (like Donald Trump did). Inheriting money and being born into privilege doesn't show leadership, hard work, ingenuity, creativity, or drive.

People have way, way, way more to offer than their "grades" or "jobs" or "wealth." They have emotions, cool life stories, support, advice, a metaphorical shoulder to lean on, and are vessels to understand the human condition. These have very little if nothing to do with grades, jobs, or money.

I don't befriend people based on their GPA, jobs, wealth, or occupations. I connect with them because of their sense of humor, worldview, interests, ability to empathize with one another, and a wide variety of other attributes that are infinitely more telling of an individual than a subjective, narrowly-contrived paradigm of truth checking.

To me, being "successful" is being comfortable in your own skin, and being happy with yourself. It's about knowing what you want to do in life, which may or may not involve making money. And if you're making $30,000 dollars a year, doing the good fight as a public interest lawyer, when you also had the choice of making hundreds of thousands in BigLaw, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for you.

Knowing your goals and doing whatever it takes to get there. Different people have their own versions of what they think is a success. Success is about being happy and doing everything you do for the right reasons.

I'm a person of color, a South Asian (I immigrated from India to the U.S. as a very young child), and I grew up around a lot of competitive South Asians and East Asians. I know a lot of successful East Asians and Indians who do think they are superior to other people though. They think that because they worked hard since they were small, always got straight As in tough AP classes in school, got a 2200+ on the SAT or 35+ on the ACT, did tons of prestigious extracurricular activities, got into prestigious universities and majored in tough STEM jobs, and are now working in top companies and making good money, they are "superior" to others who didn't "work as hard." They think they're the shit, and everyone else is a lowly pleb and peasant who is inferior for not doing as well in school, not getting into a prestigious college, or getting a high-paying job.

Look, I'm all for competition and meritocracy, and building an economy that rewards people who work hard, invest in marketable skills, and do well for their families and themselves. I support capitalism on a fundamental level (although I think it needs to be well regulated), and support people competing to get higher paying jobs, homes, cars, larger houses, etc. If you are someone who did work hard, got those As, majored in computer science, and are now working for Google, great for you, you made it, you worked hard, and you deserve what you get. And I value hard work, I certainly don't want people to just laze around and do nothing if they could otherwise be productive (although it's a different issue if your "laziness" is due to depression, or another legitimate reason).

But when people take the extra step, and move from confidence to arrogance, and to a place of superiority, that pisses me off to no end. I just, really, really, really fucking hate elitism. Look, you worked hard, made it, and got money for yourself, great. But that doesn't make you "superior" to others in any deep sense, or make you a "better" person. People have different life stories, different contexts in which they grew up, different passions, different skills, and different life goals, so you shouldn't judge someone for simply being different from you. If you judge others for superficial reasons like that, that just makes you look extremely petty, pathetic, and insecure.

I respect and value everyone who has a passion, works hard, is humble, and follows their dreams, regardless of what they do, as long as they aren't hurting themselves or anyone else. What if someone is an extremely passionate athlete, or musician, or artist, or dancer, or a singer, or an actor, or a writer, or a photographer? If that's their dream? What if they want to do social work, like becoming a K-12 teacher, working at a nonprofit, or becoming a public interest lawyer? Or people who major in STEM, but are most passionate about research? Or they want to be a biology professor? These jobs often don't pay a lot of money, but they have a lot of social value, and the people who do them work very hard. I don't think as humans, those people are less "valuable" or "inferior' because they didn't choose to pursue more lucrative careers, like becoming a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.

And you can't just assume that just because someone didn't "succeed" in class or didn't major in math or science, or isn't working at a top company that they are "inferior" to you, or not as hard working, or lazy. We live in a society with unequal opportunities for education, and with many structural barriers holding people back (poverty, institutional racism, biased standardized testing, school-to-prison pipeline, zero tolerance policies etc., city zoning laws that prevent integration, etc.).

These barriers often can't just be overcome with "hard work," if you grew up in a single-parent home, or in poverty, or didn't grow up speaking English, or had unequal access to healthcare and infrastructure, or you had a learning disability through no fault of your own, or had a physical disability or medical condition that compromised your quality or life, or your teachers' pedagogies did not accommodate people with varied learning styles, or if you aren't good at timed multiple choice tests (and those are all the tests your teacher does for you), or your teacher assumed a lot of background information when you come from a marginalized background (and as a result, couldn't contribute to class discussions as much), or you couldn't study well because you suffer from a mental illness, or you have clinical depression, or you experienced a tragedy in your family and couldn't recover, if you didn't succeed given what you were going through, if you were struggling with your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, if you grew up as an undocumented immigrant, and so forth, that doesn't mean you're a worse person, or aren't "hard working." We can't just lock people out because they faced barriers and struggles beyond their own individual control.

Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper class families hear 15 million more words than children in working-class families, and 30 million more words than children in families on welfare. THINK ABOUT THAT. And the U.S. has by far the highest level of childhood poverty in the developed world. The playing field is NOT level or fair. We don't have an equality of opportunity. You can't just expect a marginalized black kid growing up in poverty in downtown Los Angeles to suddenly be able to keep up with a South Asian or East Asian kid in Orange County, California whose parents are engineers from India or China, and who provide a lot of institutional support to the kid as they grow up and move through the education process. You can't expect a poor african-american kid or cambodian kid who grew up in poverty without computers to suddenly have the same level passion for programming and coding that someone else would, and expect that marginalized person to just do as well in a rigorous computer programming class as everyone else.

Educational differentials are high in the U.S. due to property tax financing. Since public K-12 schools are financed by local property taxes, poorer neighborhoods will have lower quality schools, and this traps children is a self-reinforcing cycle of poverty. And for poor black and hispanic kids, our education system completely fails them. They don't grow up thinking that they will go to college, or being an engineer, because they don't have many many people in their communities to look up to who did that. There's a self-perception based on what other people with your characteristics have accomplished. Like, "if I am X, and other Xs have not done much in discipline Y, then i am less motivated or inspired or confident to pursue discipline Y."

Their teachers often don't have faith in them (some of whom are inexperienced members of Teach for America who can't give these kids the high quality education that they need), these students experience negative stereotypes due to racist media portrayals of them, people don't encourage them or give them the resources to climb up the social ladder and fulfill the American Dream. They live around gangs, single-parent homes,may have to start working full-time at a young age to support their families. They often internalize racism, and don't have high self-esteem, or don't think that even going to college is an option for them because they either can't afford it or don't even know anyone who's an engineer or doctor or lawyer. And even when they do succeed, people will think they only got into college because of affirmative action, and they will face a lot of racism in the job market (studies have shown that white people with felony charges are more likely to get hired than people with a clean record who have black-sounding names on resumes). A lot of the times, they give up, not because they were "lazy," but that society was stacked against them, never giving them a full shot to get ahead or realize their full potential. They don't fail our system, our system fails them.

Also, it's really hard to move up the ladder, and experience upward mobility in our society. If you are poor, and also a person of color, you may suffer from housing segregation, discrimination, racism, economic stratification, predatory lending, redlining, gentrification, and stigmatization for receiving government welfare (which is often administered in a demeaning manner). Being in poverty could mess up your credit rating, which can make getting loans in the future very difficult. Also, we have this fucked up practice where employers can screen prospective employees' credit ratings, meaning if you were hit very hard by the 2008 financial crisis, and your credit rating fell due to no fault of your own, you could be locked out of the labor market, preventing upward mobility. It's so messed up. Much of hard-working America, bill-paying America, has damaged credit, and it's wrong to bar them from employment. They should be able to compete for jobs solely on their merits.

And especially when we don't have mandated paid sick leave, family leave, paid vacation, etc., only the high-skilled workers at large firms can really take time off from work, whereas poor people are viewed as more "dispensable" and have to work 24/7. As Robert Reich said, we've now seen the rise of the working poor, but the non-working rich. It's the poor who are extremely hard workers, living paycheck to paycheck, taking on 3 jobs at once to put food on the table. Everyone has a different life story, and while maybe some people in poverty or on welfare may have made "bad decisions," that's not true for a lot of people who became marginalized due to problems beyond their individual control.

Also, I believe in second chances. People aren't all the same. Not everyone is ready to do the same things at the same time. I had friends who didn't do well in high school, either due to personal reasons, or because the high school environment of busy work didn't suit them that well, or because they didn't value education at the time and were lazy. They went to a community college. But they were late bloomers, learned hard work, and are very great, extremely smart people who did very well at UC Berkeley (the college I attended) once they transferred. We can't just say those transfers are inherently "inferior," and not give anyone second chances at making it in life. I also had friends who were extremely smart at Berkeley, the top of their bunch in high school, but burned out due to stress, depression, or other factors. If you're a homeless college student, or someone who lives in your car, or you are a parent with a child..can we really expect that that person will automatically be able to compete with someone whose parents fully pay for their room and board? If they don't get the best grades, that doesn't mean they are inferior or aren't hard working, or aren't worth anything.

People who succeeded, great for you, but once you climb up the ladder of success, don't just throw it out for everyone behind you. Reach out to them, extend the ladder to them, and help them help themselves so they can climb up the ladder, just like you did. People go through different experiences, and we need to have empathy.

Moreover, access to elite universities is often skewed toward those who are privileged. Not everyone can afford SAT classes to help boost your score (and the SAT is a very poor measure of your intelligence or potential). Sure, those people who got As in AP classes, high SAT scores, went to top colleges, etc., probably worked very hard. But I'm sure that a large chunk of them had highly educated parents who supported them and aided their success in one way or another (paying for tutors, getting them ahead in difficult STEM subjects, paying for SAT courses, fostering a home environment that encourages education, having high human capital, providing them with a professional network that can help them succeed, providing guidance and strong moral support, providing them with mentors and good role models, building a community where other kids value academic success and hard work, and so forth). They had a lot of institutional backing, and East Asians and South Asians benefit from the "model minority" characterization which may cause teachers to treat them better than black, hispanic, or native american students.

And the Ivy League has its bullshit legacy admissions, which institutionalizes structural white privilege and class privilege, making the admissions process even more unfair, and exacerbating systemic anti-black racism.

So much of the "success" these people experience isn't due their hard work at all, but due to the fact that they were privileged in many areas and had a much higher starting point than many other people. There's a lot of structural factors in addition to individual factors. So they can't attribute their own success solely (or sometimes, even mostly) to their own, individual "hard work." A lot of it was because they won the "luck of the draw."

Also, the "model minority" stereotype is complete trash, because a lot of Southeast Asians (Vietnamese, Cambodian, etc.) have similar academic performance rates to African-Americans, latino-americans, and native-americans. When we're talking about East Asians and South Asians, we're talking about a very self-selected group, the cream of the crop of people from India, China, Japan, and South Korea, people who are already highly educated and often are high-skilled workers themselves. And as a result, due to their high human capital, they can provide a lot of support to help their kids succeed, something many other poor people of color in America lack.

I'm totally fine with competition, and people gaining more money than other people, but be humble about it. Don't brag, and don't think you're someone super special who is superior to everyone else. Because you're not. That poor kid growing up in gang infiltrated areas in Chicago is just as valuable as some guy who is an engineer for a top tech company. And don't judge other people, or look down on them, or make assumptions without walking a mile in their shoes, and understanding their particular situation and what they're going through. Be thankful for your success, but donít think it makes you superior in any deep sense. Also, as Pope Francis reminded us, each of us have a moral obligation to be kind and generous to the poor and disadvantaged, especially if we have been fortunate.

By the way, relevant to the whole structure vs agency thing I brought up earlier. Here's a great WaPo article called "Poor kids who do everything right donít do better than rich kids who do everything wrong."

And I love this quote by Bernie Sanders: "The pope) is not only talking about poverty, and income and wealth inequality. He is getting to the heart of hyper-capitalism, and he is saying: Why, as a society, are we worshiping money? We're making money the golden idol. Respecting, and admiring people with billion of dollars, at the same time as we are ignoring people who are sleeping out on the streets, people who are going hungry, people who have no health care. And he is saying, that is not the way we should be living our lives. That is a pretty profound critique of modern society."

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Reply I fucking hate how our society is so status and money oriented!! [View all]
gobears10 Sep 2015 OP
LWolf Sep 2015 #1
gobears10 Sep 2015 #2
Person 2713 Sep 2015 #3
JanMichael Sep 2015 #4
DirtyHippyBastard Sep 2015 #12
sibelian Sep 2015 #5
Marty McGraw Sep 2015 #6
cap Sep 2015 #7
jtuck004 Sep 2015 #8
daleanime Sep 2015 #9
AZ Progressive Sep 2015 #10
AZ Progressive Sep 2015 #11
eppur_se_muova Sep 2015 #13
Waiting For Everyman Sep 2015 #14
Igel Sep 2015 #15
Hortensis Sep 2015 #16
Oneironaut Sep 2015 #17
gobears10 Sep 2015 #18
Shandris Sep 2015 #19