by Abbi Berry
Public Relations Manager
Brand new BMW’s, Audis, Jeep Wranglers, the newest iPhones, Apple watches, Lululemon leggings, Birkenstocks, Tiffany necklaces, SoulCycle memberships, AJ tutoring sessions, extravagant trips, commitment to private universities – these are just a few ways the wealth that surrounds our community permeates the everyday lives of teens in the Bay Area.
No, not every teen has these pleasures, but it often feels like many, if not most, do. And the truth is, everyone who lives in Los Gatos and the wealthy residences of the Bay Area are really lucky – lucky to live in a safe and affluent community, afford our education, and live with general ease when it comes to expenses. But there are several teens who are even luckier to be able to afford expensive clothes, cars, devices, not to have to worry about paying for their education past high school, and to have almost limitless travel opportunities.
And when it comes to teens living these luxurious lifestyles, that’s all it is: luck. Kids who were born into money or whose parents worked to afford all their family has, are simply lucky to have ended up there. They didn’t work to buy a home that costs several million dollars. They didn’t earn the luxuries of being able to splurge on every new Apple device, afford expensive gym memberships, or sustain bi-yearly travels to foreign countries. They were born into a situation where they had more access than others. They won the birth lottery.
There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s life. And my argument isn’t meant to chastise those who are lucky. I’m lucky too. But it’s when my peers treat those whose families are not as privileged as theirs poorly, or use their fortune as a reason to justify their superiority over others, then I have a problem.
Your family’s wealth does not speak to your own success or your future. You can be proud of your parents’ achievements, but their wealth is based on what they’ve done, not your work. Your parents’ success shouldn’t enable you to attack others for not being as advantaged, or exclude those who can’t afford the same lifestyle. From overhearing my peers at LGHS brag about their parents making “seven figures” or experiencing encounters with wealthy students from other schools who dismiss me for going to a public high school, I’ve had enough.
If you’re someone who can afford the myriad luxuries listed above, then you’re lucky. You’re lucky to have all of those opportunities and experiences. But if you can’t recognize that it’s pure chance you ended up in a wealthy family, then coupled with your luck is ignorance and entitlement. So next time you fly to Europe, drive your Bentley to school, or drink coffee out of your prestigious private prep school tumbler, try to be grateful and remember you’re lucky and you didn’t earn this.