Last week’s post about the differences between national and global income distributions reminded me of this scene from Brad’s Status. One of the film’s main themes is social comparison and my favorite scene highlights the fact that we often fail to acknowledge our global position and privilege. I could not find a clip of scene, but was able to find the below transcript:
BRAD : What are you thinking? Please tell me.
ANANYA : I’m thinking… you’re lucky. You’re fifty years old and you still think the world was made for you.
BRAD : I’m forty-seven.
ANANYA : It’s like you’re mad because you don’t like your position in the ruling class. Most people don’t even have a position. Most people can’t even get in the door to see what’s inside. Do you even know poor people?
BRAD: Of course.
ANANYA: When I visit my mother’s family in Delhi, a lot of people there live on two dollars a day.
BRAD: Right, I get that…
ANANYA: They don’t complain about being ignored at dinner parties. They’re happy they get dinner.
BRAD: Right – but I’m not competing with those people. You compete with the people who are your markers in life.
ANANYA: Why are you competing at all?
BRAD: It’s the way this world is.
ANANYA: From my point of view – you competing with your friends from college? That competition is the history of colonialism, okay? And the oppression of women – and the fucking up of the environment…
BRAD : Look, don’t go there, okay?
ANANYA : Stop competing already. The future of the world depends on it…
BRAD : I’m not the problem, all right? I work for a non-profit for fuck’s sake.
ANANYA : Sounds like you just kinda backed into it ‘cause nothing else worked out.
BRAD : That’s not nice.
ANANYA : Sorry. It’s just – from where I sit, it kinda sounds like white privilege, male privilege, first-class problems.
BRAD : Maybe I seem like a cliche to you – but this is my life, you know?
ANANYA : Just don’t ask me to feel bad for you. You’re doing fine. Trust me. I promise you. You have enough. I’m going to use the rest room.
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