American privilege: The country so many take for granted

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Maleigha McCulley

Emma Cramer is surrounded by the joyful Peruvian kids whom she visited in the Summer of 2019.

Beth Mooy, Infographic Manager

Americans live in a place where anything one may need or want is at their fingertips. This is not the case for most of the world.

Over 36 percent of the world’s countries are developing, in which 90 percent of the world’s young people live, and another 11 percent of people live without clean water.

Senior Emma Cramer spent a summer in Peru in 2019, and that experience allowed her to gain a greater perspective on the life she lives.“The kids we worked with didn’t have any running water and had very minimal materialistic things, but they were still so happy. It made me realize how much I had to be thankful for,” she said.

If one is living in a poor area in a developing country where there are no businesses for miles and everyone surrounding them is in a similar, low-income situation, it can be difficult to imagine how one may get out of that. It is a challenge to get anywhere when one has nothing to build off of. 

Many children have to spend their whole day walking just to get water, and have no time or opportunity for education. There are no places to work and maintain a liveable wage or lifestyle. Those who live in developing countries with next to nothing are the people who may struggle to  become successful.

Cramer explained the hardships families and children have to face in Peru. “The mafia is a really big deal down there. Because poverty rates are so high, it is common for parents to sell their kids to the mafia for money for food or drugs,” she continued.  “When I came home, I was thankful for living in a safe environment, having parents that have my best interest and just having clean running water.”

People in developing countries experience things that many Americans could not imagine. Americans live in a privileged country where they are protected from mass corruption and where many opportunities await their success.

The best thing about the United States is that one can go from rock bottom all the way to the top. The economy allows progress as it is ever changing and there are jobs and opportunities everywhere. 

A person can create their own business and become successful from that. One  can do anything if they live in America because our economy, educational opportunities and our freedom allow it; regardless of race, religion, or gender, one can become successful.

Senior Addi Steele recognizes the vast difference in the average American lifestyle compared to those less fortunate. “While things aren’t perfect here, I am grateful for the opportunities I have. I have access to a good education, a job and the ability for my family to afford a nice house and cars,” she said.

Every American is privileged in this way– it is possible to grow and succeed as a result of the economy. The sooner one can  realize this, the sooner they will be able to start using the opportunities given to them. It is important for people to appreciate the place where they live  because, if people succeed in doing so, it can create an uplifting and high-achieving atmosphere. 

Throughout her experiences, Cramer has noticed  a common theme among those with high amounts of materialistic things: they often have little appreciation for the value of what they have. “In America, the people I’ve grown up around have so much yet they are still so unhappy and never settle for what they have,” she reiterated.

Compared to the innumerable suffering of this world, America is a place where one has the ability to change their  future, and that privilege is often underappreciated.