Basically, we all decided that there was one "good" type of family, and then put up huge roadblocks to sabotage the success of other, "alternative" family structures. Which makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. And speaking of self-fulfilling prophecies ...
Your Life Is Defined More By Luck Than Hard Work
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You know the American Dream: work hard, dream big, get rewarded. Or, in nerdy terms, you start out as a low-level NPC, but through hard work you keep leveling up your bank account until you reach a limit break and the law no longer applies to you. Every single argument we've talked about in this article is based on the idea that there is something of a level playing field for families. If you're a good parent to your kids and teach them the right shit, then it doesn't matter how much money you make or where you live -- they'll have the tools they need to succeed.
Ha! Wouldn't that be nice. No, it turns out that who you are is less important to your success than who your parents were: Statistically speaking, a rich kid who drops out of college is likely to end up doing better in life than a poor kid who sticks around long enough (and takes out enough predatory student loans) to graduate. A big study of over 800 kids in Baltimore, from first grade to their late 20s, found pretty much the same thing: Only 33 of the kids -- that's 4 percent -- managed to climb out of their income bracket, or get college degrees. You can work your ass off to raise kids, and you can break your spine trying to be a good and honest person, but in the end, dumb luck decides whether or not you ever claw your way out of the bottom of the poverty pit.
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Luckily, cheering yourself up only costs as much as your outrageously inflated Internet bill.
As for why, I mean, there's all kinds of speculation we can do. Most jobs require extensive networking, and since low-income kids learn different social skills than kids in high-income families, they're probably finding themselves with a huge disadvantage on that front. Then there are unpaid internships, which are considered a career-necessity by rich kids and a hilarious fantasy by 20-year-olds who have to pay for their own gas and cellphone. In fact, you know those "troublemaker" entrepreneurs I mentioned a couple entries ago? They also tended to come from wealthy families.
Of course, this doesn't mean that hard work doesn't help. I don't know anyone who's doing well in life and hasn't broken their goddamn back, every day, for years. But there are a ton of other folks doing the same goddamn thing and not getting those same opportunities. Luck is just a way bigger part of it than anyone wants to admit. In fact, I think we're so addicted to this meritocracy myth that every lie in this article is just another attempt to hide the fact that the line between rich and poor has a barbwire fence built over it.
JF Sargent is an editor and columnist at Cracked with a new article every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter if you dare, and like him on Facebook if you've got the guts.
For more from Sarge, check out Why Ultron Is A Secret Criticism Of Marvel Movies and 6 Lessons You Learn On Long Road Trips.
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