Our current discourse on class privilege revolves around two distinct categories of ideologues: those whose serve as apologists for their wealthy backgrounds and those who vilify them.
I think that this is a misguided approach to discussing class privilege.
Last week, Ms. Rachael Sacks published an article on her frustration with those who judged or disliked her because of her class privilege. The title, “I’m Not Going to Pretend That I’m Poor to be Accepted By You” indicates, more or less, the content and tone of the article.
Immediately, the Internet Blood Hounds jumped on her, picking apart every sentence of her article and using her words to construe her negatively.
I don’t agree with the sentiment behind Ms. Sacks’ article. Actually, I vehemently disagree with many aspects of her article.
However, I think that centering how we think and talk about class privilege on those who justify their entitlement with a “I didn’t choose to be wealthy, so don’t pick on me” attitude is a waste of our time.
Why are we exerting so much of our energy on ripping apart Ms. Sacks and those who think similarly to her? I understand that many of us do have good intentions; we hope to change this kind of perspective by showing her why we think the way she thinks is wrong.
Regardless, I doubt that much of what anyone could possibly say would cause those in her position to buy one less Mulberry bag. So why bother as strenuously as we do?
The only outcome of these vigilante efforts is that Ms. Sacks has gotten her share of publicity (and an increase in Twitter followers, no doubt), and this will only continue to happen with every other person who speaks in favor or defense of their class privilege.
Frankly, picking apart Ms. Sacks and her cohorts and launching pithy insults in their direction is not worth our time. In a matter of weeks, she will fade into Internet oblivion, and we will have accomplished nothing more than momentarily making her feel bad about herself — if even that.
Instead, we should focus on addressing the discrepancies between those at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid and those who make up the bottom. Why, for example, spend our time going through Ms. Sacks’ Twitter feed in order to find reasons that show why she is or isn’t a bad person?
Why not spend our time and energy thinking about and discussing solutions that would reasonably help those who were not born into as much privilege or financial stability as others? Why not talk about things that are more important than the specific minutia of Ms. Sacks’ life or her spending habits? They’re not that interesting, and in the long run, they won’t matter.
Why are we not talking about the state of the public education or welfare systems? Why are we not talking about how ever-rising tuitions and student loan debt keep going to college from being a reality for many students? Why are we not figuring out tenable ways to aid those who do not have as much as they deserve or need?
We need to stop paying attention to those like Ms. Sacks when they climb atop their gilt, Internet soapboxes. Otherwise, all we do is egg them on.