Wealth therapy. I kid you not. Here are some choice quotations from the therapists in question:
Often, I use an analogy with my clients that coming out to people about their wealth is similar to coming out of the closet as gay. There’s a feeling of being exposed and dealing with judgment.
Sure. Except for the risk of violence, the loss of rights, the weight of years of hatred. It’s just like coming out as gay.
Sometimes I am shocked by things that people say. If you substitute in the word Jewish or black, you would never say something like that. You’d never say – spoiled rotten or you would never refer to another group of people in the way that it seems perfectly normal to refer to wealth holders.
I just can’t even. I can’t even with this nonsense. The super-rich do not have a history of oppression and persecution. They don’t have a contemporary risk of being gunned down in the street by agents of the state who walk away unpunished.
I’m not saying rich people can’t have problems. The death of a loved one, parents’ divorce, a broken heart; these things can and will happen to anybody and everybody, including rich people. But they are not an oppressed group. By fucking definition. And I don’t have much sympathy with their feeling that it’s unfair for them to have to pick up the tab at a restaurant. From each according to their abilities, jerkface.
So, this is clearly absurd. But I do think it’s an example of what happens when we talk about “diversity” or “multiculturalism” but don’t talk about power. Diversity is the easy part. Who doesn’t want a rich variety of people in their school or workplace or life (well, a lot of people, it seems, but bear with me)? But when we empty the discussion of the varying amounts of power some groups have held at the expense of other groups, when we make all groups of equal weight, this is what we get: a rhetoric in which rich people are compared to Jews or black people. You can have a classroom with 30 people in it, and 2 black kids, 1 kid of Indian descent, 1 Native kid, 1 kid of Korean descent, 2 Jewish kids, 1 kid of Saudi descent–and hey, what a rich and diverse group of backgrounds! What great photos you can take for the school’s brochure! Never mind that 22 of those kids are white Gentiles! Or that, say, all but two of them (I don’t care which two, take your pick) are from super rich families! We’ve got diversity!
And that, in my opinion, is why “diversity” is in fashion and, say, “integration” is not. Because diversity is easy to achieve with just a handful of cosmetic changes. Diversity doesn’t care about power dynamics or history or contemporary circumstances. Something like integration, on the other hand–if your commitment is to integration rather than just diversity, you can’t just recruit a few brown faces here, a couple of scholarship kids there. For integration, sustained integration, you have to look at systemic changes, you have to examine how and why you’re so white and rich in the first place. Your ridiculous equivalences about how it’s no more acceptable to make insulting generalizations about rich people than it is about Jews or black people (I CANNOT EVEN) fall apart when you talk about integration, when you talk about power. So don’t be fooled by “diversity.” Diversity’s fine. I’m not opposed to diversity. But it’s not the real deal, either.