It Must Be Hard Being You

Posted: May 2, 2014 in From Student to Teacher
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Yesterday I read an essay that has gone “viral” by a young man who attends Princeton University.  It is his retaliatory response to a common phrase, “check your privilege,” which has apparently annoyed him so much that he felt compelled to defend his life of elitism.

While I am sure many other commentaries have been written, I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Fortgang myself. Not too proselytize to him or anyone else, but because there are things that dig into my consciousness to such a degree that I have difficulty sleeping and they pop up in my mind throughout the average day filled with mundane tasks.

Perhaps I’ll entitle it: “IT MUST BE HARD TO BE YOU.”

Mr. Fortgang,

It must be hard to be you.  Your days must surely begin with such strife and calamity as you saunter into your closet and try to decide which designer pair of jeans to toss on, and then consider which preppy sweater to tie haphazardly over your tailored, and monogrammed oxford shirt. After all, the classrooms at Princeton are undoubtedly rather chilly.

It must be hard to be you at the onset of a new semester, trying to figure out which classes to take, which ones will be interesting enough for you to muck through an entire semester. But take heart that at least you won’t have to worry about all the good classes filling up while you wait for your financial aid loans to be entered into the system.  Surely your schedule will be on point!

It must be hard to be you when you go back to New York to your family, maybe for a day trip into Manhattan.  I hear the city is overrun with clean-shaven Jewish boys and it’s getting hard to hail a taxi these days.  You might be tried severely by having to wait for, oh, maybe three seconds.

Yes, it must be hard to be you, to have doors opened for you while you ride on the coattails of your hardworking and long suffering ancestors, everyone expecting great things from you, because THEY survived and lived to tell the tale of horrors at the hands of one monster and his minions.  The crucible must be a difficult one to bear.

But Mr. Fortgang, what you will NEVER, EVER, EVER, have to deal with is the following:

You’ll never be cast aside before having an opportunity to even utter a greeting, simply because of the color of your skin.

You’ll never know what a substandard education feels like simply because of your residence because your whole life has been exclusive day schools, living along


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