Privilege & Justice
Privilege, like a beautiful gift, comes in many shapes and sizes. The value of a privilege is infinite depending on who the recipient is. The privilege of luxury bestowed upon a wealthy person may not be as greatly cherished as the privilege of health insurance given to a person of a lower economic class. In our world today, privilege is dispersed in many forms and among many social classes. However, privilege seems to favor the wealthy as they seem to promote from within their own groups. Social and economical privileges are necessary among the elite to maintain their status among the Jones?; where as a privilege granted to the poor, simply allows a more stable existence. Two examples of privilege that are not material, but are equally as important, are justice and piece of mind. Unfortunately, these two privileges are likely to be less attainable to the lower class.
Wealth and privilege seem to go hand in hand in today?s society; great advantages come with being wealthy. For example, material items are abundant for people with money. Wealth allows people to own anything they desire, from finest clothes and furnishings to the automobile of their dream. Those who posses these items are already at an advantage, they have what the latest magazines say you need and what everybody else wants. I find it a bit discerning that these material items dictate the social order, but the fact is, they do. Along with material items, beauty also determines your place in society. Once again, money allows for people to make necessary adjustment to become beautiful if they were not born ?beautiful?. It not only cost money to make physical changes in order to stay beautiful, but it also takes money to keep your wardrobe up to date with the ever changing fashion world.
It is my opinion that the greatest advantage of wealth would be the opportunity for educational and technological enrichment. Being blessed with the finest education and most up to date technology only solidifies the foundation for growth and further advancement in life. Nearly everything that exists on the planet can now be researched through a web site; that literally puts the world at your fingertips if you are lucky enough to have a computer. In addition, high school and college students are being prepared for professional career situations where it is likely they will be tested on their computer knowledge. An individual who is computer literate and able to use a palm pilot or communicate via e-mail already has the advantage. I do understand that not all privileged people take full advantage of their learning opportunities. Afterall, how would they know the value of a clean, safe, well-staffed classroom if they have never attended an inner city public school?
Justice, this is privilege bestowed upon every person in the nation. The forefathers of our nation drafted the constitution to ensure equality for all. However, when a person finds himself in a legal situation, their social standing and the finances available are the key factors in accessibility to justice. It is my belief that immediately upon being detained for any sort of criminal activity, the suspect is ?sized up? and treated according to what social class they are thought to be in. Of coarse the lower class of society is treated with less respect and little regard for the law; because in most cases they are not equipped with a cell phone to call their power defense team immediately. Now, imagine for one moment that the suspect is actually detained in jail and bail money is required in order to be released. Once again, privilege comes into play. Do you have enough social status to be released on your own recognizance? If not, the downward spiral has been set in motion. You will no longer be able to attend classes or maintain a regular work schedule from county jail. In turn, this means you earn no money, you can?t pay bills and so on and so on.
On the other hand, Mr. Jones, the president of the Bank of Sacramento has been caught with just a wee-bit of cocaine in his pocket, oops! Mr. Jones has several options; all of them are to his benefit. He can either go straight to the ATM and with withdraw a little ?hush money?, agree to be arraigned and immediately released on his own recognizance, or, worst case scenario, he is charged and has to call his brother in-law, the founder of the city?s largest law firm. So many choices so little time. This is the reality in today?s society. Wealth and social privilege do allow extended opportunity.
In addition to justice, there is another enormously important, non-material privilege that often comes with being wealthy. ?Peace of Mind?. People of all social classes may have ? peace of mind? but only the truly affluent know it, in it?s entirety. This is a state of well being, a calm over your heart and mind because you know everything is taken care of. Little by little a person has had the time to address all of the issues that plague the average working class man and woman. The house and cars are paid for, the grass is cut, the cat has had her shots and the refrigerator is full of food. Most importantly, you are in touch with your children, your spouse and yourself; because you have the luxury of time to take care of all of these items. One can only imaging what a day would be like if the only worry was what dish you would bring to the bridge game.
In short, a small percentage of this world is made up of wealthy people. Yet, the well-off seem to reap all of the great rewards in life. My only response to this is fight for your privilege in life, earn every thing you can! The one advantage to earning all of your privileges as opposed to being born into them, is that it is much harder to take from someone who understands the value of what they have. Being wealthy is nothing to be ashamed of. Being wealthy and privileged because you earned every bit of it, has to be so sweet. Where justice is concerned, I have no recommendation. Things just are the way the are. I can only hope that I have at least one opportunity in life to assist a less fortunate person in the pursuit for justice. I will admit that I am somewhat ignorant on the subject of how to seek justice, being that I have never needed legal assistance. As for ?peace of mind?, I strive for it. I know I will find it. Monetary earnings can only put me closer to my goal, so I will continue to work my ass off.