This is the final part in a series based around Wall Street Kid for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It originally appeared in the zine The Backlog: Fortunate Son.
To buy this in zine form, click here.
Wall Street Kid perfectly encapsulates the ‘80s neoconservative mentality. Not only does it normalize greed and nepotism, it obfuscates the 99% who work at the bottom so that corporate shareholders can rake in millions of dollars and feel like they earned it. Privilege comes in a lot of ways and can still be fealt by people who otherwise face hardships.
As I write this, I currently make less money than a full-time Wal-Mart employee. However, I own my house. And I was able to buy my house without a down payment because I bought it from my wife’s grandma. I also have the lowest possible interest rate because I’m not borrowing my mortgage from a bank: I’m borrowing it from grandma in what Kentucky calls a “Family Mortgage”. Because of this, my mortgage payments are half of what I used to pay in rent. So even though I am dirt poor, I took advantage of family resources that I just happened to marry into as well as state law. And now that I own a house, I am able to use it as collateral against buying a car. From here on out, no matter how much money I make, I will still be able to use these assets to gain more assets in a neverending game of borrowing money with collateral, paying it off, and borrowing more.
Despite being aware of some of my privilege, I am certainly oblivious to others. Just like others who grew up in a country with running water and available electricity, I need to be attentive to other people’s stories. The only way to solve the problem of “privilege” is to listen to other people. Don’t make excuses, and don’t apologize for what you have. Just listen to someone else speak. You don’t have to give a response. In fact, please refrain from giving a response other than “Thank you”, because it’s only going to make you sound bad. By listening to other people’s stories and gaining their perspectives—especially those, like the Kid, who sit at the top—we can better understand the problems and work towards the solution.