Dear Society…

Dear Society...

Kiera Modder, Contributing Writer

Dear Society, 

The vicious cycle of hate and anger spiraling through our communities, isolating people, invalidating feelings, and tearing down others for personal gain, needs to end. 

You place strict restrictions on how people may act, look, and what they may do in life. From the moment they are born, you do not hesitate to show your ugly face and solidify what you believe a person is capable of. You define what they will become before they can explore the world around them and fully embrace the beautiful privileges and opportunities we are awarded at birth as citizens of the United States. 

Of course, a few people have squeezed through your ugly fingers, people who did not let your norms define them. People such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Mark Zuckerberg, MLK Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks refused to let your toxic definitions of whom they could become alter what they did in life. They were told that they would not go anywhere in life by you and your poisonous mindset, but they found a way to flourish in sub-par environments, growing and being prominent, successful, and well-accomplished leaders.

Instead of praising some of these people’s actions, you immediately discredit their accomplishments by claiming they were privileged and assisted in reaching their goals, but it is the opposite. Many of these people were degraded, told they were stupid, ridiculed by society, and discredited, but they were still willing to push onward. For example, Ketanji Brown Jackson–the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court–faced criticism from many people due to her race and gender. These people claimed she had only advanced because she was a woman and enjoyed privileges that many men did not receive. This claim is entirely wrong and is not backed up by any statistics. It is incredibly disheartening that society has not grown to celebrate others’ incredible accomplishments. 

Some may argue that success is determined by how much privilege one has. It is undeniable that privilege exists in this world, whether due to ethnicity, race, gender, education, or connections, but the ultimate way we reach success is through hard work and dedication. The way we pick away from others’ accomplishments, claiming they are due to privilege, invalidates the struggles, hard work, and time that a person puts into their work. This invalidation of achievements is incredibly hurtful, and it needs to stop. 

We need to stop characterizing others by their race.

We need to stop characterizing others by their economic status.

We need to stop discrediting other people’s hard work

We need to celebrate others’ accomplishments and acknowledge their perseverance.

We are all so unique in our experiences, and we have our own definitions and opinions on privilege. People in Massachusetts generally view privilege as wealth, class, race, or gender. I would urge for a more simple, non-materialistic definition of privilege. Privilege is being able to wake up in the morning; privilege is being born in the United States; privilege is having food on the table; privilege is having people who love and support you. 

I have experienced polar opposite opinions on privilege, which has shown me how useless the word is. This knowledge comes from living in different places and having different experiences. Being around a diversity of people and learning and growing from them helps one understand other perspectives and grow away from the societal norms that drag people from success. 

When I lived in New Jersey, people felt privileged to have a home–regardless of being in the ghetto—and they felt privileged not to be shot during the day. In Scituate, MA, people see privilege as a more materialistic aspect of life. People see privilege by skin color, wealth, and house size. This materialistic definition of privilege invalidates the struggles of those who may be considered to have ‘privilege’ and invalidates their opinions and feelings about Society. 

These drastic differences in perceived privilege highlight how un-defined and interchangeable this word is. If no one can agree on a definition of this word, then why do you, Society, continuously insist on creating a toxic environment that discredits people’s struggles and hard work?

We should celebrate others’ accomplishments, not tear them down. 

Comments such as “she only received that position because she’s a girl,” “He only got the job because he’s African American,” and “He is only successful because he is a white man” can’t be tolerated in a healthy environment. No one’s accomplishments come from being born a different color or gender. All achievements are the product of hard work. We must rise against the negative to create a new, better, positive community.

This starts with changing societal norms and creating an environment where people can flourish. Society needs to understand that everyone on the planet has privilege, but the perceived amount does not define where we will go in life. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This is what we must strive to do to reach societal success.

Society, it is your duty to change your ways: they are harmful, damaging, and irrelevant. It is time to grow past what separates us and move toward why we, the human race, are more powerful together, supporting one another. I believe in you. 


Those with hope for the future