Rich And Poor People Seek To Understand Each Other




The Benefits of Privilege: Being Rich and White Is Proof You Must Be Good

Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony was dotted with a remarkable number of references to his privileged upbringing. It was peppered with references to pro-golf tournament father-son outings, being “out of town for two weeks of the summer for a trip to the beach with friends,” and going to “the legendary Five-Star Basketball Camp.”

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And God, he sure did spend a lot of time lifting weights with Tobin.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of that. It all sounds very pleasant—though, admittedly, sometimes Kavanaugh seems unaware of the role privilege might have played in his good fortune later. Discussing his admission to Yale, he claimed, “I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail.” That is a lie. I do not doubt that he had to work hard to get into Yale. However, Kavanaugh was, in fact, a legacy student. Moreover, yearly tuition to Georgetown Prep is currently between about ,000 and ,000 a year, and I imagine parents pay it not because they like the uniforms so much as because the school is considered a pipeline to Ivy League schools.

That said, I don’t think that these numerous mentions to a wealthy, preppy background were made by accident. The implication to all of this seemed to be that because Brett Kavanaugh was a well-brought-up boy (that is WASP for having no tattoos, a good handshake, and a blue blazer) from a nice family (that is WASP for rich), he cannot be a sexual predator.

"The implication seemed to be that because Brett Kavanaugh was a well brought up boy from a nice family, he can not be a sexual predator."

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The upbringing Brett Kavanaugh described—dotted with references to beer and sports camps and his dad telling tales from his calendar at Christmas—is tailor made to appeal to the nostalgia of the Make America Great Again crowd. It does not sound like a particularly exciting upbringing or, frankly, an especially intellectually stimulating one. It sounds like a world anyone who fancies themselves a “real American” could slip into seamlessly with the addition of some money. If it is appealing, and I think it is, to a great many people, it is appealing because it gives the illusion of predictable safety. Sports games. Manly weight lifting. Beaches. Sharing family stories at Christmas. All of Kavanaugh’s references bring to mind a "Leave it to Beaver" type lifestyle where nothing terribly bad happens.

And again, to some people, that is very appealing. Studies show that conservatives tend to be more fearful than liberals. That fear is very real, but it is directed outwards, not towards members of their own communities (or communities they imagine they could be part of with a financial windfall). Specifically, it’s directed towards black or brown people, not privileged white boys.

Donald Trump still believes, despite DNA evidence exonerating them, that the Central Park Five were guilty. Meanwhile, he still defends Rob Porter, a former white house aide, despite detailed descriptions of alleged domestic violence from his two ex-wives. He believes that Mexico is sending rapists over the border to the U.S., despite the fact that studies show that U.S.-born citizens are more likely than immigrants to commit violent crimes like rape. He cannot believe that Kavanaugh is guilty, despite testimony from multiple women, claiming, “I think he was number one in his class at Yale. He was number one in his law school at Yale. What he's gone through over the last three weeks is incredible ... it's not fair.”

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Of course, most people would wonder, “what on earth does his going to Yale have to do with anything?” But that notion ties to the prosperity gospel that many conservatives have bought into. It states the wealthiest and most successful among us are those favored by God. The fact that Kavanaugh is rich, and white, and a Yale graduate is proof that he must be good, at least in people like Trump’s eyes.

If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that that notion is not true when it comes to who commits sexual assault. Powerful, fortunate men—yes, even, those who went to Yale—doassault women.

That’s not to say class in America doesn’t matter when it comes to assault. But it matters for thosebeingassaulted. Women in the lowest income bracket are six times as likely to be assaulted as those in the highest income bracket. Women without high school diplomas are 400 percent more likely to be assaulted than women with bachelor’s degrees.

"Powerful, fortunate men—yes, even, those who went to Yale—do assault women."

It’s harder, unfortunately, to find statistics on the background of men who commit assault. However, from the past year, we’ve overwhelmingly seen assault allegations about privileged men who had power over women. And it seems like kids committing crimes in Kavanaugh’s community was common enough three decades ago for people to be concerned about it then.

In 1990, not so long after Kavanaugh was attending Georgetown Prep, the headmaster sent out a letter warning about parties where, “excessive drinking and sexual license are common." The letter claimed, “It would be hard to devise a better recipe for disaster than a social scene that includes the anonymity provided by an 'open party,' no adult supervision, considerable amounts of alcohol, and teenage hormones which encourage sexual or violent behavior.”

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Studies have found similarly that alcohol abuse and underage drinking is prevalent in affluent communities like the one Kavanaugh grew up in. One study notes that police speculate that’s the case as the kids have “easy access to alcohol given money and transportation with which to acquire it," and adds that "absence of parental supervision and achievement pressures has been seen as implicated in adolescent substance use and related deviant behaviors in wealthy communities.” But this will likely not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen a John Hughes movie.

The pride Kavanaugh takes in his background should do little to dispel the claims against him. If anything, it seems to indicate that he might have participated in behaviors that make young men more likely to assault people.

The past year has shown that a “nice” upbringing doesn’t stop men from being abusers. Brock Turner, Track Palin, and so many others this year are showing us as much as much. Their background seemingly didn’t make them good, it merely made them feel entitled to treat others however they wished.

If only there was some way to convince Trump and other members of the GOP of that.





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Date: 01.12.2018, 04:04 / Views: 75552