Short story about privilege

RNZ:

This short story about privilege was penned in 2015. It remains one of our most shared stories, even four years later:

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All: The Pencilsword: On a plate

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49 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  26th December 2019

    Where is the privilege? I see two (racially profiled) families doing the best for their off spring.

    Is the white boy more privileged than the brown girl?

    No, he is better encouraged and privately funded but that is not privilege.

    Privilege being a special right, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

    White boy had an advantage but not privilege.

    Why would the parents expectations be different for their children be they rich or poor.

    Plenty of unmotivated rich kids in “rich” schools and plenty of motivated poor kids in “poor” schools.

    I wonder if Toby Morris has ever been to South Auckland and seen the motivation in the kids attending local schools. Plenty of success stories there.

    I really cant get what is trying to be conveyed by the story, rich kids have it easy and plenty of school and home support whilst poor kids have no school or home support?

    Far too simple a concept in the pencil drawing aimed with perceptions of inequality directed at whose prejudices?

    And is this supposed to be a guilt trip? Ain’t working for me. But then I see the reality here in deepest, dark, and multi cultural South Auckland, a reality that is nothing like that simplified and racist pencil sketch.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  26th December 2019

      Until a better meme comes along that jumps this narrative and creates new expectations from society and individuals as a whole, this is where society will be stuck for a very long time. A new meme will have people realising success come from within, followed by ones actions.

      But..but..what about the rich!?

      My, arent they lucky. Looks like they have advantages many poor don’t. But that’s life; it isn’t fair. Just get on with your life, like many success stories from NZ who grew up in austere circumstances.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  26th December 2019

      ‘First rule’ of White well off privilege is you dont know about it or even call it privilege.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  26th December 2019

      What about Brown well-off privilege ?

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  26th December 2019

        Beat me to it. First rule of Brown well off privilege is you don’t know about it or even call it privilege.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th December 2019

      privilege….advantage =mere semantics.

      Not a level playing field is the depiction.

      Reply
  2. duperez

     /  26th December 2019

    Paula’s main problem is that she’s not Paul who’s really good at rugby. Richard’s school would scout him and he’d get the place in the First XV that Richard and his parents thought was his since the day he was born. There’d be a little kerfuffle about it but do big deal. Then Paul could go back to his old school with his new chums and thrash that team to prove their superiority

    Reply
  3. Ray

     /  26th December 2019

    I see a well connected lawyer (he set up David Cunliffe’s trust) calling for people not ti go shopping on Boxing Day.
    Which is a reasonable position if you are anti consumerism and you own everything you need.
    On the other hand you need a new tv and it is advertised as $500 off, not so much.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  26th December 2019

      No one needs a television, and if one had that much off, it would still be an expensive one.

      The Warehouse Veon ones are cheap and made in the same factory as the well-known brands so are just as good…and if someone ‘needs’ a new television, they don’t have to have a huge one.

      Reply
      • Ray

         /  26th December 2019

        Kitty, I fear you speak from a position of privilege when you dismiss TV and as for the Veon at the Warehouse any perusal of the brand reveals they are rubbish.
        But nevertheless a point, how about Bowker Menswhere Dunedin who are offering 50% off everything, we all need clothes!

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  26th December 2019

          I was going by reviews which seem positive.

          I didn’t dismiss television; I said it wasn’t a ‘need’ and that’s true. I know people who don’t have it and don’t miss it; and it’s not that they can’t afford one.

          Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th December 2019

      ‘need’ as opposed to….want.

      Reply
  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  26th December 2019

    Richard has pressure on him to be achieving at top level (all the time)…
    How many kids just get pissed off with that approach and give up on achieving for their parents’ sake?

    Paula has parents who are there to support her, but don’t apply any pressure…That’s the system that works for me.

    Reply
  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  26th December 2019

    It may be that we are meant to see Paula as the privileged one, but it falls flat either way; it tries too hard to be clever.

    The blinking eyes that go on-off-on-off are a bit creepy.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  26th December 2019

      Hello, PDTs, I hope that you’re having a lovely time downticking. Do you have an app that tells you when particular people have made a post, enabling you to downtick it no matter what it says ?

      Reply
  6. alloytoo

     /  26th December 2019

    Well lets see, Paula’s parents probably receive a working for families income supplement and her schools probably receives 10 time the resources of Richard.

    Reply
  7. Cyrill Figgis

     /  26th December 2019

    Gerrit, I’m not sure about your screen, but on mine everyone in the cartoon is more or less the same colour. There is no profiling in the cartoon.

    The thing about advantage is, well, that it matters. Kids of equal ability can end up on vastly different trajectories. It’s complicated, but a big influence on this is the home environment. Every little advantage accrued by wealthy kids – better health, fewer sick days, more parental attention, more resources, better grades, motivation to go to university or higher education etc, confers much advantage in adulthood. Note also that wealthy kids often also have a considerable finacial safety net supporting them after leaving home, should they need it, rather than the often crippling loans taken on by the poor. This is not the result of extra effort or ability on the part of wealthy children. That is the privilege.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th December 2019

      Artificial barriers to doing things, created and maintained by government bureaucracies, are the greatest enforcers of privilege. Those who can’t afford to get licences and qualifications can’t drive, work, build, travel or learn. Those who benefit from these barriers support and maintain them. And draw cartoons like the one above.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  26th December 2019

        So Wilco, still bitching about having to pay for licensed builders and designers for your projects and get council approval ….so sad

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  26th December 2019

          The latest invention of brain dead idiocy is HAIL reports on any land that might have had agricultural chemicals on it. 55 pages to report that 15 soil samples on a 600 m2. section show zero contamination and we still have to get a resource consent to cover their incompetent butts. And who do you think pays for that? The poor tenants of course while a bunch of useless middle class paper pushers get fat.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  26th December 2019

            And as I said to our planner who agrees it is crazy:

            This is what happens when completely incompetent people and organisations are given power and responsibility for things they know nothing about. The only way to protect their butts is to force ludicrous levels of documentation and multiple layers of expertise to sign off for them. Cost and time of course to them is no object.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  27th December 2019

              Dont you know the basic tenet of capitalism… go where the money is…banks…real estate agents..property developers….. all just part of the money chain . Do you complain about how much a real estate agent makes for say 3 days work over 3-4 weeks ? Yet you moan about some sort of chemist who does soil samples for a grand or 2. Hint check old aerial photos for market garden areas, orchards and green houses and price your buy accordingly if they were in the area.
              The property developers can and do makes pots of money just getting a consent and then onselling the site. Maybe you didnt get that memo…
              My brother had grand ideas of making money selling off his unused back of the 1960s sized section. A quick look at Council GIS by me showed the downside of 1960s section. No piped stormwater, so he would have to create a new public line in the street to connect to….ouch . The site slope would need considerable retaining, and paved driveway to reach the rear..ouch ouch… I dont him it was silly as he didnt buy the site decades ago, had no experience or knowledge (even though he had worked in the planning field it was offshore at a different scale.) and would be fleeced every step of the way. He made a better choice to upgrade an existing block of flats he owned for decades.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th December 2019

              Idiotic. I have no complaint about the chemical analysis which was done quickly and efficiently and produced hard facts. The complaint is about the wrap around bureaucratic idiocy which produces costs and delays for no benefit whatever to anyone but the salaried bureaucrats.

            • Fight4NZ

               /  30th December 2019

              Property Developer. That explains alot. Especially the hysterical name calling when there’s an attempt to actually have community and buyer interests impose some influence on the industry, as futile as that is.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2019

              @F4NZ, actually trying to create a home that a good friend poor ex battered Maori wife can afford to own for her and her family instead of paying rent for the rest of their lives.

              The utter ignorant and ideological stupidity of you and your Lefty fellow travellers is exemplified by your comment.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2019

              Typical Lefty. Too bloody stupid and ignorant to see that the policies and bureaucracies they advocate and support harm the very people they claim to help.

            • Fight4NZ

               /  31st December 2019

              Seems a laudable enterprise then. Even if you appear to be saying you’re happy for your friends to live on contaminated land rather than work with the government. Of course the multi layer of bureaucracy you refer to has only been made necessary by the billion dollar bills left to the government by property developers walking away from their leaky building projects and other shortcuts.
              But if you think you building 1 house for 1 family represents some sort of way forward for the country to solve the raft of problems left by National you wildly over estimate the generosity of your peers. As stupid as you are rabid as usual.

            • Fight4NZ

               /  31st December 2019

              Dam, I sank to your name calling level

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  31st December 2019

              @F4NZ, deliberately and half-wittedly obtuse. I’ve no problem with testing for safety but amplifying the costs by orders of magnitude with useless bureaucracy is typical Lefty destructive lunacy.

              And building one house is just what every family needs. Idiot bureaucracy you support makes that impossible for far too many.

    • Gerrit

       /  26th December 2019

      I think Cyrill Figgis, you are falling for the trap that does not differentiate between advantage and privilege, In fact you refer to both in the same paragraph.

      A comment here says it much clearer then I could

      “My take is that privilege could belong to anyone and everyone, that it’s not requisitely exclusive, but advantage requires that there be a disadvantaged group because it’s comparative.”

      https://www.quora.com/Is-privilege-and-advantage-the-same-or-are-they-different-Why

      Let me explain also by a personal example. Many moons ago an offspring wanted to attend Manukau Technical Institute for a course in computer programming. Cost was $3000 per term (yes it was a while ago).

      However if we had a racial ingredient of Maori or Pacific Islander in my Tauiwi status, or my offsprings Tangata Whenue status, then the course would be fully funded for by the state.

      This was at a time when positive discrimination was flavour of the month.

      As we did not have the single drop of blood to qualify for the “free” education we were at a comparative disadvantage (being not in receipt of the advantage meted out to others depended upon blood).

      Now if the intake was purely based on academic achievement than it becomes a privilege for ALL are able to train, study, learn, practice, etc to achieve the academic privilege required to attend the learning course.

      Subtle but important differences.

      Reply
      • Cyrill Figgis

         /  26th December 2019

        Gerrit, the accumulation of all those advantages gives the children of wealthy parents a fortunate and privileged position in this world. That is why I used both in the same paragraph.
        Also, not sure why you keep bringing race into it, the cartoon is about the influence of wealth and the extra hurdles faced by children from poorer families.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  27th December 2019

          … and shows the extra hurdles faced by teachers in some schools.

          A group of say, 15 year olds, in one school have 100% pass rate in NCEA while in another place it’s 80%. The common call in recent years is the the teachers in the second school aren’t working hard enough, are useless, or whatever. The call is that the intellectual capacity and ability of all the kids is equal so those in the lower results school have failed in their job and failed those kids.

          15 years and 9 months of being coddled and looked after with access to rich learning experiences and emotional and physical security gives advantages over those not having them. And having a class or school laden with either lot has significant ramifications.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  27th December 2019

            If 100% pass, the standard’s too low and the qualification is meaningless.

            Reply
        • Gerrit

           /  27th December 2019

          Cyrill Figgis, I accept your premise that the pencil sketch is non biased in regards race. Made me think about the cultural divide expounded these days by the current government and the brown good, white bad picture painted these days. As expounded by Duker’s comment “‘First rule’ of White well off privilege is you dont know about it or even call it privilege.”

          No surprise in that 30% of Labour (and almost all of NZFirst) is Maori.

          Problem for the government is promoting this cultural value divide has come at the expense (non privilege or lack of advantage) of non Maori.

          Note this cultural value divide has the Indian, Chinese, Pacific Island, etc, cultures sitting on the sideline feeling just as marginalised as the white culture.

          Well worth a view and listen for an hour as to the reasons off the Labour party demise in the last UK election.

          It was more about ignoring the cultural value of the voters by downgrading the “englishness” of the electorate. The radical left in Labour were blinkered (even when offered advice) in how much cultural values (in conjunction with economic values) were of major concern.

          Another very strong observation is that radicals capture political parties and as such override the cultural value of the electorate.

          Greens (in particular) and National (to a lesser extend) need to take heed, whilst Labour is at risk by ignoring 85% of the electorate through cultural value alienation by promoting exclusive Maori cultural values.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  27th December 2019

            ”Note this cultural value divide has the Indian, Chinese, Pacific Island, etc, cultures sitting on the sideline feeling just as marginalised as the white culture.”

            The silent National supporters…even if some hold their noses.

            There’s many ironies in that comment on yours.

            Reply
  8. duperez

     /  27th December 2019

    Maybe there are other problems than those you’re identifying. Like the notions in some people’s heads that the current government is painting a ‘brown good, white bad’ picture. Some may have it that Labour ‘promotes exclusive Maori cultural values.’

    Of course people thinking like that is an electoral risk. The limitations to their thinking and attitudes are unlikely to change given their perception of reality. When their festering ignorance is used to spread discontent to those looking for something to be malcontented about the risk grows.

    Prime material for negative, destructive, fear-ridden, lowest-common-multiple politics. can you imagine that happening?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th December 2019

      How dare you write a comment absent the obligatory Te Reo.

      Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  27th December 2019

      Yes,

      “Prime material for negative, destructive, fear-ridden, lowest-common-multiple politics”

      So by ignoring their negative (in whose eyes?) , destructive (for whom, those being ignored as they have a different cultural value to you?), fear-ridden (fight or flight when your cultural values are not important?), lowest common-multiple politics (those bleeding deplorables just don’t know what is good for them?).

      Yep, if you had listen to the pod cast, you would recognise yourself as the elitist knowall who thinks cultural value,s not in line with your own, need to be demonised by the statement you have made.

      It is the depolarables cultural values, held by the populace, that the radicals like yourself like to pigeon hole into the various fascist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc. catogories to show just how smart you and how dumb those who you despise are.

      But ultimately you wont carry the populace with you with your rhetoric. The age of populism is here.

      Reply
  9. Fight4NZ

     /  30th December 2019

    A good reflection of reality for 99% of society,

    I see the Empty Vessels are still bitter and twisted any time anyone tries to give a tiny proportion of the bottom end of town a leg up at effectively zero cost to themselves.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  30th December 2019

      Two words:

      1-Gratitude.
      2- Theft.

      I wouldn’t say I’m bitter and twisted. However, if society cannot see they are robbing Peter to pay Paul…and Paul accepts stolen goods, but has no gratitude, and has no desire to better himself…then society is philosophically and morally bankrupt.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  30th December 2019

        good to see its finally dawned…on you!

        Btw how did Peter become a victim?

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  30th December 2019

          Peter had the temerity to make a go of life and earn good coin. Envious malcontents believed they had a right to a share of that money because they had little..and Peter had much. The gummint agreed…and thieved from Peter.

          Reply
          • Fight4NZ

             /  30th December 2019

            Again citing less than 1% of reality.
            Peter didn’t have to make a go of anything. He grew up in Epsom, went to Kings and enjoyed a interruption free career track to the boardrooms of his choice. What tax he can’t “avoid ” is part of the government budget. An nth goes to Paul.
            Paul maybe Paula Bennett or John Key or just as occasionally a benefit bludger. But such examples are minuscule in the scheme of things, only made relevant by the twisted sense of envy and self centeredness prevalent in right wingers, as so glaringly seen in comments here.

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  30th December 2019

              I was about to answer you, but it’s obvious you have twisted reality to suit your philosophy. And as the British election has shown, people like you have been shown the door. Let’s hope we can also show Jacinda the door
              next year. Won’t be easy, but as long as Lefties like you spout your envious polemic, a 20 year National Reich awaits. I can’t wait.

          • Gerrit

             /  30th December 2019

            And when the state has raped Peter off not only his hard earned and worked for dollar but also his desire to work for nothing, he will change his name to Paul.

            Then the state will collapse as there are no more Peter’s to rape to pay Paul.

            Once that occurs, Paul (nee Peter) will see his opportunity and start to work for a fair wage and self betterment by taking responsibility for his own welfare.

            The original Paul will then complain bitterly that Peter owes him a living.

            Rinse and repeat.

            Reply
            • Fight4NZ

               /  31st December 2019

              Wow. You 2 really are cult believers.
              I guess that means 1 of 2 things
              a) you are Peters, so true benefactors of National policy. Therefore imperative to maintain this ludicrous notion that somehow the Pauls of this world and the Government have us all constantly under siege, when the true impact is microscopic. But it’s all about divide and conquer.
              Or b) You are Patricks. Patrick/Patricia are that middle NZ hard working type who can’t escape paying their full tax obligations. Regrettably they have swallowed this line that the Pauls are evil and only National can save them. Not their own fault entirely, the Peters own all the mediums that constantly feed the Pats’ base tribal self-preservation instinct, and many are not all that bright as we can see. How the Peters laugh every time they get their National lap dogs voted in by the Pats who haven’t realised how irrelevant they actually are in National ‘s agenda.
              Are bent double when they see the Pats who so strenuously do their work for them, first in their companies, then in the electorate. When they bother to look at all that is.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  31st December 2019

              And what are you, F4NZ? How do you see yourself? What do you actually do to make the world a better place for those around you? Spitting venom doesn’t do it.

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