The guilt of class privilege

My embarrassing moments have always been related to my class privilege. There was the time someone commented on my new Samsung Note 4 then the time someone asked how much it cost then someone told me how eloquent I was then someone asked me if I am not going to American University of Paris because of financial aid then there was  the conversation with a professor who asked me if I will go back to my*boma and then quickly changed the statement to, “So there is a Mercedes awaiting you at home…” after I told him that my father is the governor of Narok county. Every single time this happened a strange feeling would sweep over me. This feeling kept me from being myself, restricted me from applying for opportunities because, “You have enough opportunities already.” and made me cover myself in false humility because, “If you do not talk about it you are humble.” Recently I was able to name the feeling. It is the same feeling the white woman in Americanah experienced, the one that made her call all black people beautiful. This feeling is guilt. After years of beating myself up about being my father’s daughter, the guilt is slowly fading. I know this because of a discussion with my Kenyans about public schools when said,” Okay, I am privileged! Now let us move on.” after rebuttals on how my experiences in public schools were not hustler enough.

I acknowledge inequality and I think equality must be upheld for its intrinsic nature. I think the solution to inequality would be having a Giver society where everyone is equal but different. However, even the idealist in me is slapped back to reality by this harsh world although I still believe that things could change the change I have in mind is different. The change I envision was perfectly captured by an experiential we did in my Entrepreneurial class. The experiential had some of us squatting in a circle and others standing. The ones standing could touch the ones squatting to relieve them as soon as they were allowed to. In the same way in this world there are people squatting and there are others who are standing. I am now more aware that I am standing in wealth, riches and fame, but at the same time I am squatting because I am a woman who has just enough say. As a stander I have learnt that I must make the most of my standing to help those squatting, and simultaneously, I should not beat myself up because I am standing. As a squatter, I have learnt that I need to collaborate with standers and squatters to change my situation. profile