Many people, particularly those who are not wealthy, don’t understand how difficult it is to be rich. The well-to-do are continuously being slammed by those who are not so fortunate. This is a prejudice that is often overlooked.
One of my acquaintances, who chooses to remain anonymous, shared with me some of the ill-spirited comments he and his family have overheard in the past. These included things like, “He probably inherited his wealth” and “He couldn’t care less about the poor.” Of course nothing could be farther from the truth as my friend is 100 percent self-made and his parents could not even afford to pay his college tuition. He has created more than 1,000 jobs for people who otherwise might not be employed.
Other wealthy friends have shared the fact that many lower wage earners think the rich don’t have the common problems of everyday life. One of my closest friends, who is in the upper 1 percent, has lost a brother to cancer, has a child with autism and is currently struggling to keep his emotional stability in check. No amount of money can change these conditions.
This “behind the back” snickering that is directed toward the rich can be gut wrenching. Employees are often heard saying, “We should all be given higher wages,” without even taking the time to contemplate the financial challenges and risks of owning and running an enterprise.
Some of my prosperous celebrity friends go to work 12–14-hour days for months on end while filming a movie or television show. They often sacrifice all the things we hold dear like more time with the kids, spouse, significant other, etc. One of my musician friends spend so many days on the road when she is touring, that the number of times she gets to enjoy her Southampton mansion per year, can be counted on her fingers. Still, those who hold prejudice against these hard working people don’t take those types of sacrifices into account.
As an example of the misconception that the rich are selfish, consider the billions of dollars Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffet have donated to charity. They are saving lives on every continent through their generous giving.
Despite their philanthropy, the rich are in constant threat of the “Robin Hood mentality,” which involves taking their money and giving it to the poor. How would you feel if others wanted to take what you worked so hard for?
I know that many will throw up the “trust fund” argument. But someone, be it a parent or grandparent, obviously had to work to make that fortune in the first place. How would you feel if your children or grandchildren were condemned just because you left them an inheritance?
Sometimes I think we should take a minute and realize that prejudice is not just targeted toward specific ethnic groups or genders. The rich don’t deserve to be ostracized, criticized or demonized just because they are wealthy.
Let’s stop this form of prejudice now!