Privilege Artist: Nick Agin

For more about the movie: Artist: Nick Agin

One of the un-looked for perks of choosing the film program at USC is the opportunity to occasionally see movies before they are released in the theatres. For free. Every few days an email announcement is sent out letting me know what the next screening is with a link to the reservation site. I’ve learned to stop asking myself whether I “want” to attend a particular film and instead to ask myself if there is any reason why I “can’t”. The up side to this (there’s really no down side) is that I find myself introduced to films that I otherwise would never have thought to watch.

Yesterday I went to a film called “Ivory Tower”: a documentary that asks the increasingly relevant question of “is college worth it?”. It’s an uncomfortable topic- especially as a current student. It’s an extremely obvious, looming, problem that is going to get infinitely worse before it gets better. The film itself was excellent. I find it difficult to motivate myself to watch documentaries, but I was interested to see this one because the topic is so monumental and I realized that I knew very little about it.

One topic, hinted at but gracefully side-stepped in the film, is the question of privilege. Is college a privilege or a right? Should college be free so that anybody could get a college education or should college be a privilege of the privileged classes? Is the massive balloon of student debt (currently greater than one trillion dollars- more than credit card debt) proof that college should be limited to the people who can afford it- no matter the cost- or proof that the value of a college education is so important that students are willing to gamble their entire futures in order to get it?

I think the question of student loan debt is straddling a deeper identity crisis that Americans are struggling to recognize. The very foundation of our country is built on the concept of equality. All men are created equal. But not exactly equal because that would be socialism. We want equality, but not if it means that everybody can have it.

I happen to believe that college is a privilege that should be available to anyone who is willing to work for it. I was grateful to my parents for putting me through my undergrad years and I strived mightily to be worthy of it. Now that I’m in graduate school and making an effort to pay for it myself I am striving even more mightily to make it count. But I’m under no illusion that this education was “owed” to me.

And me a Millenial. The entitled generation.

The more I think about the dichotomy of rights vs privileges in general, the more I realize that rights are privileges and need to be earned, but that are free to be earned by anybody.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 4, 2014.

One Response to “Privilege”

  1. Reblogged this on TGM Millennials.

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