The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

91° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Nobody does it on their own

    It is so very, very hard to suffer from privilege.

    It’s a wonderful thing to live in a comfortable home, consistently ensured more than enough food, essentially promised an equal opportunity to pursue an education and build a steady career so that you can become what’s commonly known as a “contributing member of society.”

    It’s also a terrible thing to be so privileged, to be so sure of how right you are, how entitled you are to everything and your absolute rightness.

    And it must be incredibly easy to criticize the “Occupy” movement when your worst problem is how long you have to wait before you can buy the next iPhone. First-world problems.

    As the “Occupy” movement grows, protesters have been infantilized by their critics. “Occupy” demonstrators are lazy, spoiled children, they say. They pretend that they are owed so much for doing so little, and their goddamn tents are such a nuisance. Why can’t they just be like every other success and pull themselves up by the bootstraps like real Americans do?

    In the words of the famous and infamous conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, “When I was 10 years old, I was more self-sufficient than this parade of human debris calling itself ‘Occupy Wall Street.’”

    Of course, Limbaugh is hardly someone whose word can be taken as the moderate majority view. But the point stands: People think the “Occupy” movement is full of whiny, self-entitled jerks.

    Todd Hixon, a contributor to Forbes magazine, wrote that the movement is basically being a “nuisance to get something you haven’t earned.”

    Pretty ironic, if you think about it. Essentially, what the criticism of the “Occupy” movement comes down to is a gross sense of entitlement, and a refusal to acknowledge that privilege.

    Humans have a self-serving bias. We tend to attribute our failures to external factors (“I failed that midterm because my professor is a terrible lecturer!”), and our successes to internal factors (“I aced that midterm because I am really smart!”). That self-serving bias also means that we downplay the external factors of success — parents, finances, quality of education and surprise, privilege — so that we expect other people to achieve the same way without having the same advantages.

    It’s more than likely your parents paid for at least a portion of your tuition, or at minimum they paid for your expenses while in college (i.e. books, rent, food). If you went to college more than 10 years ago, you don’t know what the financial landscape looks like for today’s college student anyway.

    Criticism of the “Occupy” movement stems from a “self-sufficient” attitude. Work hard. See it pay off. Pretend you did it all by your big-kid, self-sufficient self. Yeah.

    Success is never as simple as “living within your means.” Yes, you should not spend more than you can afford, but you also can’t reasonably expect that driving an old car, living in a cheap apartment and having a plucky, can-do attitude means you’ll achieve as much as the 1 percent does.

    No one really succeeds without help. Anyone who pretends otherwise is a liar.

    — Kristina Bui is the copy chief. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search