Was Myron Magnet a wise man and just a man, an accurate scholar who sees the true meaning behind all things? Or was he simply a golden child who puts himself atop so high a pedestal that it nearly collapses from the weight of all the nonsense he is filled with? For those of you who have been fortunate enough to have never heard of Myron Magnet and his magnificently accurate theory…please, allow me to enlighten you.
Magnet’s theory is that people become poor not because of inequality, but because they lack the ambition which drives them to achieve success. He claims that they are lazy, uneducated people who partake in deviant behavior such as smoking, drinking, and out-of-wedlock sex. I myself, being from the lower class, know how this is the furthest thing from the truth. People from poor communities have some of the biggest drives to succeed, simply because we know how it feels not to have anything. I say the ones who have everything handed to them their entire lives are the ones who are lazy.
Also, poor people are not the only ones who smoke, drink or indulge in sex with people they have no intentions of marrying. Politicians have been doing this for years. Bill Clinton was damn near our country’s mascot for adultery. Wealthy people partake in deviant behavior just as much, if not more, than those who are poverty stricken. They just find easier ways to hide the cocaine residue on their noses. Magnet’s opinion, is the typical perspective of one who has had the silver spoon of the bourgeois crammed in their mouth for their entire life.
Those of the bourgeois class just like to take credit for all their spoon-fed achievements. To support my claim, I take an excerpt from chapter one of the sociological work “Social Problems, 4th edition”, written by Joel Charon and Lee Garth. In interviews, people have admitted to receiving parental financial assistance or “gifts”. Mind you, some of these small gifts are in the thousand-dollar range, but the data also shows that these respondents take complete credit for their assets, saying things like “we worked our butts off for what we have” (p.77).
Some may say I am standing up for people in my own class. I say I am standing up for the reality in society. It all just comes down to raw inequality. If you took away all the inheritance the upper class receives, they may well be mirror images of the people they so passionately frown upon. It would be easy for all of us to “seize” ample opportunities if mommy and daddy served them to us on a platter.
This post is published as part of the Prison Op/Ed Project, an occasional series authored by CCRI sociology students who are incarcerated at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute.