Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.
Melissa McEwan summed it up thusly:
It’s quite amazing … that this entire story could be written into existence with nary a single use of the word “privilege” in its entirety.
Did I say amazing? I meant typical.
Apparently this type of story is “man bites dog.” Or rather, white man bites dog. Because suddenly certain issues are becoming big news. Take unemployment. Unemployment in the African American community has been more than ten percent for years. But unemployment is big news now. Because it has hit white people.
This is what happens when people are raised with an overinflated sense of privilege and entitlement.
The 24-year-old in the Times story majored in political science and minored in history. The article mentions he was the “winner of a dean’s award for academic excellence.” Which means he managed to achieve a 3.3 GPA for one semester. BFD. Where I come from, that’s not much of an accomplishment. Especially for a student whose college education is entirely funded by his family.
Because there are lots of students who don’t have that kind of family money. And they maintain high GPAs despite working nearly full-time. Because there is no other option.
And they take entry-level jobs upon graduation. Because, again, there is no other option. No parents to pay their $1,000/month rent and their cell phone bills.
Let’s face it, $40,000 is a heck of a starting salary for somebody with no experience. I know Ph.D. recipients who have started for less. It’s the economy, stupid.
But again, this struck me as an old story, made new again by the addition of a white protagonist. Look to communities of color and this is nothing new. Only it doesn’t make the New York Times. African Americans with undergraduate and graduate degrees working in so-called “menial” jobs. Japanese Americans after World War II working as “houseboys” and gardeners and store clerks, despite their education. This type of underemployment persists to this day.
Recent immigrants are also familiar with underemployment. I’ve met engineers and medical doctors working in restaurants and dry cleaners. The phlebotomist at my doctor’s office is herself an M.D.
But suddenly it’s news. Because it wasn’t supposed to happen to white people.