Most Americans are familiar with the “snobby rich kid.” Maybe his name is “Sebastian” or “Neville” but whatever the case, he is one of the most out-of-touch, obnoxious, bratty kids one could ever meet. He is not snobby because he was born that way, and it doesn’t even have anything to do with him being named Neville: it’s because he is rich.
I am currently reading a novel by the name of Americanah written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the love story of a Nigerian woman, Ifemelu, who moves to America leaving her boyfriend, Obinze, behind and returns many years later to find her past lover married with children. Early on in the book, the reader gets a glimpse at life in the newly democratic Nigeria from the lens of Obinze. Trying to make his way in Nigeria, Obinze associates himself with the country’s elite social and economic class. Obinze himself does not possess a luxurious background, and by no means an elitist way of thinking. For those around him, the same cannot be said. They think that the wealthy class of Nigeria, themselves, has the right “to be rude, to be inconsiderate, to be greeted rather than to greet.” This way of thinking is not specific to this region of the globe, nor is it specific to this time period; however, it is specific to the upper class.
Empathy is arguably the most important characteristic of personality, yet a majority of the most privileged group of people on Earth lack it. This is because empathy is something born out of necessity to work with others and for others, a necessity that those who know the luxuries of affluence don’t have.
In my short time alive I have experienced a larger portion of the spectrum of wealth than most my age, and am happy for that as it has given me a better outlook on where I fit into society.