Raise your hand if you've ever looked down on someone or made a snide remark in your head towards someone born rich.
OK, glad we're on the same page.
I'm not sure why it took me eighteen years to come face-to-face with the reality of an underlying prejudice in my own heart towards those who "have everything handed to them on a silver platter."
My Dad is a mailman and my Mom is a stay-at-home mom. I grew up in a working middle-class family with six kids and we certainly weren't poor but we definitely didn't have extra.
I had worked cleaning an elderly lady's house for a couple years, occasionally babysat, and worked seasonally at a strawberry patch out in the heat on my knees before I turned sixteen. I got a part-time job and bought a car at 16, while attending community college during my junior and senior years of high school.
I finished my Associate's degree last semester after graduating high school and am now taking a semester off to work two jobs and save before transferring to NC State to continue my education.
I hope this doesn't sound like I'm trying to talk myself up or anything; I just want you to know where I'm coming from. This resentment towards white collars was in no way encouraged by my parents and was probably too subtle to be discouraged.
I'm very thankful for the way that I was raised and the values it has ingrained in me.
However, when I start to take personal pride in the way I was raised and look down on others who were born into different situations, something's seriously wrong.
It's like reverse racism, except in socioeconomic terms, if that makes any sense at all.
I think part of this pride comes out of the ever-pervasive American dream — the passionate independence that we pursue, the freedom and ability to overcome all obstacles that life throws at you, by hard work and perseverance.
We like to be seen for who we are, what we've accomplished, and what we've overcome, rather than be judged for where we came from.
And this is where the irony comes out because we want this for ourselves and expect it from those born into privilege while refusing to give the same to them.
We choose only to see the worst of them, assuming motives and refusing to see or hope the best.
We judge them for that into which they were born, something they have absolutely no control over.
Not only is this utterly illogical and unfair to them, it's damaging to our own reputation and character. We appear foolish inconsistent and proud, rightly so, if this is our viewpoint.
But, ultimately, it's not so much about how we are viewed. It's about cutting off our pride, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and refusing to buckle to the shameful inclinations of our heart.
It's easy to try to excuse and rationalize ourselves out of it, especially with the American dream to back us up.
Not that there's anything wrong with the American dream itself. I'm disappointed, however, by our aptitude at finding ways to abuse and distort it in order to rationalize our own wrong attitudes and justify our crooked motives.
No matter how you attempt to frame it, though, it's really quite clear. Judging those born into privilege for being privileged is prejudice, plain and simple.
We cannot continue growing as a people or as a nation until we confront and get rid of the resentments and bias that we insist on harboring in our hearts, whether visible to others or not and whether it's coming from one side or the other.
What will you do to face up to the ugly prejudices of your own heart?