A speech to the privileged
A speech to the privileged
Dear my friends from upper class,
Many of you here have the privilege to be the sons and daughters of wealthy businessmen, well-known politicians and respectable scholars. I also have the privilege to come from a powerful family in my city. I believe we all recognize how fortunate we are to be descended from middle and upper class, at least in terms of economic advantages and public recognition. Among you guys, some may go beyond your class-bounded community to get in touch with working class. Some may still be restricted by the circle of similar friends and relatives. Some of you may have the ambition to create a more equal society while others may not notice or desire to disrupt the class orders. It doesn’t matter which side you are in at the moment. This speech is open to everyone who categorizes themselves as middle/upper class. All the ideas I share with you tonight is not the same as a lecture that a professor gives to his students. I know I am a little bit young to be a lecturer. Everything I say tonight is totally based on my meandering experience and knowledge.
Remember that your privilege is inherent. No one can choose their parents, their economic class, their race and their gender. So don’t look down on the unprivileged. Many of them are the unprivileged because God does not favor their destiny. And realize that all social classes are mutually existed. If there are no workers in your family’s company, no one will call your father “the boss”. If there is no working class, no one will call you “middle or upper class”.
Ask your parents what your ancestors did before they became rich. Ask the narrow-minded people you meet what their parents or grandparents do before they became rich. Being engulfed in prosperity for too long always makes us forget about our origins. I don’t believe any family lines can maintain their prosperity for hundreds of years despites enormous changes in history. If Paris Hilton knew that his grandfather Conrad Hilton went bankrupt during Great Depression, she wouldn’t waste the money she inherited on parties and clothes. So when you walk on the street and encounter a stranger from working class, remember that some of your ancestors might have been in the same situation. Don’t treat people the way you don’t want people to treat your ancestors.
Say “Good morning” to the working staff in the dining hall. Say “Thank you” to the driver on the Blue Bus. Three days ago, I forgot to do that and all the girls standing next to me at that time forgot to do that. Remember that middle/ upper class can’t do everything on their own. The survival of middle/ upper class is strongly attached to working class. So spend one minute a day being grateful to what working class do for your family. Respect the working class for their contribution.
Be humble to learn from different classes. Don’t show contempt to uneducated people. Some of them are uneducated because they don’t have the chance to access to schooling. Realize that the concept of intelligence is not absolute. The talent you possess is obvious to be seen because it is valued by our society. Imagine living in an African tribe that health is the biggest priority, you may not have as many advantages as blue collar workers.
To whom who want to support the poor and make social transformations, don’t ever feel guilty about your class position. Be proud of your parents’ and grandparents’ achievements. Be proud that they struggle so hard to survive and thrive in this nation, to give you the privilege you have today. Let your privilege be your advantage and motivation. You are put in situation where it is more active and less difficult to help the working class. Use your family’s influence and reputation effectively. Clinton’s daughter can raise fund more easily than daughters of unknown workers or farmers. And when the worst case happens and the working class doesn’t have the financial ability to help others, you will be the one who make changes.
Recognize that the gap between the rich and the poor is inevitable. Imagine one day when everybody has the same amount of money in their bank accounts. This will be the day where the meritocracy system collapsed. This prosper society will be destroyed and become the communist regime like USSR, China and Vietnam in the past. It’s time when people go to work without any goals and motivations. However, if the wealth disparity is too large like what happens right now, it will be unacceptable. It acts again the meritocracy system that US citizens always honor. People will not be provided with sufficient opportunities to rise up. How can people rise up when the basic necessities, including education and health care are not guaranteed. The classless society that people are trying to create will be a myth rather than the reality. Try to bridge this gap. Try to help the poor get what they deserve. But remember that the gap never and shouldn’t be totally eliminated. Try to have a balance between equality and meritocracy.
Remember that helping the poor is not giving. It should be considered a give-and-take situation. As I said above, the poor possesses some types of intelligence that are not valued by our society. Unless the rich realize that they mutually benefit from the poor, they can’t live in harmony and sit around the same table with the poor as friends. The attitude that someone is superior than the others will continue to exist.
The policies by the government to promote equality will be inefficient or just solve things on the surface when the attitudes towards the poor remain unchanged. I believe the class issues can only be solved when there is a big change in the attitude. And my speech aimed to partly alter your attitude.