6 Times Privilege Went Wrong for White Families

Alexandra Wallace

Most times, the people who suffer as the result of entitled attitudes are the ones who, because of race and class, don't have them. But lately, privilege seems to be coming back to bite the wealthy parents who provided it, in the form of everything from court costs to hassles to humiliation. A New Jersey girl's lawsuit against her parents for her private school tuition is just the latest instance in which we can only imagine some moms and dads must be feeling as if elitist attitudes are the worst things they ever gave their children.

In some cases, providing your kids with what you think is the best of everything doesn't work out as planned.


1. When your kid decides it's reasonable to sue you for tuition.

"My parents … should be required to provide for my support and education until I can stand on my own two feet," 18-year-old Rachel Canning said. A New Jersey judge denied her "request" (more like a demand) that her mother and father pay the remaining tuition for her last semester at her private high school, pay her current living and transportation expenses, commit to paying her college tuition and pay her legal fees for the suit she filed against them. Guess that before things with their relationship went south, they never talked to her about the possibility of taking out loans or doing work-study.

2. When people blame the way you raised your kid for his reckless conduct.


In the trial during which Ethan Couch—who drove drunk and caused a crash, killing four people and injuring two—avoided jail time, a witness claimed that Couch was a victim of "affluenza"—the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for him. As a result, although the teen didn't have to spend any time behind bars, his upbringing and accompanying attitude were in the national spotlight for at least a week.

3. When your kid's social media bragging about money gets your settlement snatched back.


"Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver," Florida headmaster's daughter Dana Snay wrote in a Facebook post gloating about her father's legal win against his former employer. "Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT." The only problem: That settlement was supposed to be confidential, so upon learning of the breach, a court threw it out. No word on whether or not the vacation is still on.


4. When kids learn at their $10,000-a-year prep school that it's OK to destroy a home in a wild party.


Why would teens who were sufficiently well off to afford a $10,000-a-year education need to steal jewelry and cash after they trashed a house where a friend was cat-sitting? Unclear. But as they picked up the pieces, their parents had to have been asking themselves exactly what kinds of lessons those tuition bills were paying for.

5. When you send your kid to college, only to have her spend her exam period apologizing for a racist rant.


In her apology for a "repugnant" YouTube video mocking her Asian-American classmates, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace said, "I cannot explain what possessed me to film it." We're going to take a wild guess and say an upbringing with little to no cultural diversity or accountability for how her words might affect others helped with the creative process.


6. When your kid commits a murder and blames your career.


Apparently, being the son of a high-powered publishing executive can lead to … murder? That's the case being made by attorneys for Jason Bohn, a 35-year-old lawyer who's on trial for the death of his girlfriend. He claims that the crime stemmed from his sense of abandonment when Mom started devoting herself to earning money for the family when he was 10 years old.

Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root’s senior staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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