Debate Magazine

Children of Privilege

By Gradmommy @cocomamamas

Written by new CocoaMamas contributor Mikila. Welcome her to CocoaMamas!

Children of Privilege

I recently read an entry regarding children of privilege.  The writer discussed an issue one of her friends was having with her daughter’s growing attitude toward clothing and items of luxury.  The mother of this entry felt her daughter had an unhealthy reaction to her parent’s ability to buy her things.   I too am concerned about my children but I worry about the opposite effect of mine and my husband’s success.

Both my husband and I grew up in very humble beginnings, and worked extremely hard to have a better life than our mothers.’  I constantly wonder that if I over indulge my children will they become selfish and self-centered individuals, or will they reject their comfortable lives altogether out of guilt like some my college classmates did.

Years ago, there a was a Cosby Show episode where Vanessa (played by actress Tempest Bledsoe) was embarrassed that she was rich, all to be informed by her dad Cliff that she need not worry.  He sternly informed her that she wasn’t rich, but that he and her mother were.  I remember watching that episode and thinking, “Is this a joke, I wish my parents were professionals like Claire and Cliff.”

I grew up in the Hamptons on Long Island, NY and was often embarrassed that my mother was on Section 8, while my friends drove themselves to school (many in BMWs and Land Rovers).  I used to wonder what it would be like to live in house where bills were paid, and I didn’t have to work to make extra money to help my mother buy food. It wasn’t until I went to college that I met people who lived on the other side wishing they were me.  I am sure many of you think this is silly and most wealthy black kids don’t wish they were poor, but I have met many who acted exactly like Vanessa Huxtable for the entire 4 years that I knew them.

When I was in undergrad, I remember a lot of my black classmates trying very hard to act like they were poor kids from the ghetto, when in reality they were the children of wealthy professionals.  They entered school one way and left pretending to be another.  These children of privilege denied their lives in an effort to embrace some fantasy world of black poverty they somehow deified.  As the daughter of a mother who worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs, while trying to get 1 degree I loathed the acts of disgrace my peers displayed for 4 years.  Their parents had studied and worked hard to create this life that they pretended never existed.  I often watched on the sidelines wondering what they saw that was so great.  I wished to be in their shoes, and they were pretending to be in mine.

What is it about pretending we enjoy so much?  Why is it that other ethnic groups strive for success and often “fake it till they make it,” while black children of wealth try to pretend to come from less out of some false guilt that they cannot not save all the black kids from the ghetto.  I’ve spent my whole life creating what I believe is a life of comfort, and now I toil over how to raise well balanced children who contribute to society.  They are not pretending just yet, but in time they will encounter people who will either try to make being poor cool, or make them feel guilty about their parent’s status.  These kids will not even realize they are offending the very people they long to imitate.

Thinking back to my years in undergrad, I realize what may have been missing with some of those kids.  I realize most of them were never exposed to the “poor” children from the projects and felt pretending to be them would connect them to roots they feel were ripped away from them with their parent’s success.  Somehow in an effort to protect them, their parents had completely removed them from a society that lacked money, but many times had wealth of culture.

I now strive to expose my children to many different cultures and ethnic groups, while letting them embrace their Caribbean-American heritage.  I want them to be down to earth individuals who are thankful, yet kind to others no matter where they are from.  I also hope they don’t wish they are someone else, and just try to be the best of themselves that they can be.

Mikila is a 35 year-old mother of 2 beautiful children:  an 8 year old son, and a 4 year old daughter.  She graduated from college in 1998, and will be attending Law School August 2011 to study Child and Education Advocacy. She is very passionate about helping parents of special needs children, as she is learning more about how to help her own daughter navigate this world.  She has a super supportive husband who is a very active participant in their children’s upbringing. Mikila is also a partner in a debt management consulting firm. A born-again Christian, Mikila also enjoys volunteer work, music, and helping her children grow into the people they are destined to become.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Capt. Charles Morgan is Gulf To Table Certified

    Capt. Charles Morgan Gulf Table Certified

    Most restaurants peppered along the Gulf Coast claim to serve fresh local seafood, but when you utter the name Harbor Docks, claim becomes fact. Read more

    9 hours, 22 minutes ago by   30aeats.com
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Does Coffee Raise Blood Sugar? Preliminary Findings.

    Does Coffee Raise Blood Sugar? Preliminary Findings.

    A few weeks ago, I started an experiment to better understand how different foods and lifestyle decisions impact blood sugar, using a constant-glucose-monitorin... Read more

    9 hours, 48 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • New Music Round-up Featuring Everything Everything, Sl0tface, Quiet Lions,...

    Music Round-up Featuring Everything Everything, Sl0tface, Quiet Lions, False Advertising Samoans

    Everything Everything – ‘A Fever Dream‘ (live) This video sees Everything Everything showcase the title track from their new album in all its glory. Read more

    9 hours, 54 minutes ago by   Spectralnights
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • WhatsApp Spy – Monitor Someone’s Calls, Chats & Multimedia

    WhatsApp Monitor Someone’s Calls, Chats Multimedia

    Are you aware of the fact that WhatsApp has one of the biggest fans following worldwide? It has more than 100 million users. It is obvious that employees,... Read more

    10 hours, 10 minutes ago by   Ruby Mariah
    GADGETS, TECH
  • The Best Of : The Processional

    The processional is one of those key moments in a wedding day; a moment which can be a one in a lifetime event. As a wedding photographer, it’s vital that we... Read more

    10 hours, 12 minutes ago by   Belinda Mccarthy
    SELF EXPRESSION
  • Eating Healthy in Barcelona3 Min Read

    Eating Healthy Barcelona3 Read

    One of the great cities of the world, Barcelona is a feast for both the eyes and taste buds. An estimated 32 million people visit the city each year to walk... Read more

    10 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Healthytravelblog
    TRAVEL
  • Will Coconut Oil Kill You?

    Could coconut oil kill you, like the American Heart Association recently announced? Here's a man who has mistakenly been healthy and ripped for many years from... Read more

    10 hours, 32 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE

Magazines