A Short Comic That Will Forever Change Your Perspective on Privilege


Auckland-based illustrator, art director, comic artist and author, Toby Morris, has created a clever, eye-opening comic that outlines privilege and its impact.

Originally posted on The Wireless:

“This content is brought to you with funding support from New Zealand On Air.”



Higher Perspective. Jun 6, 2015. (http://higherperspectives.com/comic/)


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    • All round improvement in quality of life for everyone benefits socity. People have more money to spend. There’s less mental illness and physical illness. People are better educated so they can value and encourage scholastic effort in their children – everyone is happier. The only people against it are the mega rich who benefit from a large pool of unemployed who will work like slaves to keep their jobs.

  1. What a load of shite. The guy on the left had parents who got paid more for their job than the girl on the right. That’s not privilege. That’s life.
    The girl’s dad got sick, but the guy’s dad didn’t? That’s not privilege, that’s just unfortunate.
    The guy begins to think he “deserves” to be on top? Maybe because, if he got a better education, and worked harder, he does deserve to be on top.
    If you’re trying to say that people in unfortunate circumstances deserve to have the same as people who were lucky enough to have a good education and then work hard to be successful, then you are a communist and you need to be punched in the face.

    • What about those that were fortunate enough to be born into a family that could actually PAY for the better education?!?! Some people can’t afford an education because all their money goes to survival! Community college will still have a person struggling vs. an individual born into an ivy league affording family!

    • @Devon – Clearly you lived the privileged life, and don’t have a clue what it is to work twice as hard as someone who hasn’t had everything handed to him / her all of their life. These are people who will ultimately also gain something you also will never have – integrity. It’s a big word, I know, but you can google it with the computer your Dad got you.

      • Well said Penelope! I was not great in high school, dropped out at 16 because they would not let me take a hairdressing course. After I had my family, at 36 years, I had the opportunity to go to University. I had to prove myself as I went back as a mature student with grade 8 education. I remember one little smart ass saying to me that I would never get my degree. He was there for the 2nd time as he dropped out the first and his parents took a second mortgage out on their house…all I can say is, he did not graduate when I did.

        It seems the privileged have things handed to them, like the kid on the left. It is expected, not because they can do the job necessarily but because they are the son of———.

      • @Penelope: “integrity. It’s a big word, I know, but you can google it with the computer your Dad got you.” You summed up ‘Devon’ right there! 🙂

    • Devon, what you call “life” is just the result of an unequal society. People should have the same studying and working opportunities, and only by then you can see who deserves or not to be on top. It’s called SOCIAL STATE. I know that for an asshole middle-american like you is something too complicated to understand, but this’s how things should work.
      Moreover, you wasn’t able to catch the meaning of the comic.
      The man thinks to deserve a high-level job and a good salary, but the only reason he achieved something like that is the social-economical context in which he was born. There’s a very high probability that if he had been in the same situation of the lady, he would have ended to be a waiter too.

    • Let me guess… You were not born into poverty, had parents, & never faced serious health problems? I’m betting you had good schools & were never denied your dreams because of the color of ur skin, sexual preference, etc… & I’m gonna bet you never had to sacrifice your dreams to support your children or family, eh?

      • Well this escalated quickly. Look I am a first generation college student. My parents are citizens but they were born in puro Rico I’m a very poor neighborhood. They came to this house and purchased a house with hard work and determination. Granted our home is not in the fanciest neighborhood whatsoever and I am not a student at usc. I began at Glendale community college and transfered to the university of Berkley California. I am in a school full of snobs who don’t have to work or worry about what they’re having for dinner. I share a dorm with 3 people and work graveyard shifts at a local supermarket and drive a crap car. At the end of the day coming from this backround has only made me a stronger competitor and has made me want to pursue my career as a biochemical engineer. You bettwr believe that I struggle harder to get good grades and I don’t go out or party at all like the other privileged kids here. I know at the end of the day my financial status doesn’t define who I am. Like drake says, “started from the bottom now I’m here”. Let’s see how far along these rich kids make it in the real world when mommy and daddy can’t get them into medical school. They’ll be calling me boss.

        • I hate hearing about Drake: Did you know he’s from a wealthy family in Toronto and was a successful child actor? He knows nothing of the struggles you’ve faced by comparison, and his statement about starting from the bottom is an insult to those who have or do.

        • And you deserve good things because you are strong and stand up for your friends you are a awesome person keep going and never let people tell you different

    • I sincerely believe that we need a sea change in this country. Not towards communism but away from fascism (government run by corporations).

      The children of the privileged will never get it. They are brainwashed to believe that happiness lies in the power and control that money can buy and threatened with the removal of the money of they go against the party line.

      They are unaware that their parents are inherently unhappy since money truly cannot buy a sense of self worth, happiness, respect (except the detrimental sort over power and belongings), or a sense of accomplishment in your own actions.

      I don’t know what we can do to change this world towards a sense of true equal opportunity, to shutting down those who pay (illegally) to have avenues of opportunity closed to those who want to work hard ONLY to protect small-minded accumulation of wealth. These are not patriots or humanitarians that work to keep the remainder of us from ever profiting from our own hard work.

      But it will take a sea change. Small groups of people forming and starting. It may take 50-150 years. But if we never start, the goal will never be reached.

    • I had 4 paragraphs here, but I feel this will work just as well.
      “The world aint all sunshine and rainbows,it’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tuff you are it will beat you to your knee’s and keep you there permanently it you let it.” Rocky

      That means you.
      I’m confident you wouldn’t be able to get back up. Because all it takes is one good hit, and you’re done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdbHEZp0WPA
      Here’s a damn good example.

    • If you’re saying that the girl got what she deserve, and the boy is right about his own arrogance? if you don’t see it same way as the cartoon just pictured so perfectly well for you, then you clearly don’t have the perception to see the truth and reality. and you definitely never have tried to be poor and actually see the other side of the medal. If you agree, then you can see that the reality is that, and rich ppl got greater opportunity than poor ppl, and it doesn’t matter if you come from africa, australia, denmark, romania or any other places.. it’s the same. On the other side, some poor ppl are so strong that they turn negative into positive and still wanna help other ppl like them, that they do better than rich ppl. poor ppl have some of the best qualities in the world, yet their situations make them do dumb things, but it’s all about survival, so any rich men say that piece of shit, clearly have no idea about the reality nor have the understanding to make such a statement! and yes i no poor ppl have come up and became rich, but you go and ask them what the price was? bc it probably wasn’t to get a great recommendation from their parents.. i’m about to get a great education where i can choose to become rich, and maybe harm ppl like you in order to get what i want, or i can be poor and do good to protect ppl, but all the ppl a know keep telling me that i can become rich with that education. they never get the idea that i want it to help ppl, they are all being rich to get what you never got. a life where you can be free and do what you actually want without anyone telling you what to do. they told me i was to stupid to become what i want, yet those who actually work in the field, tells me i have a great potential and have to keep going, even thou my grades are shit. and those friends i had in the school, whose parents are rich, they only have the potential of their parents bc that what they got. poor ppl have to fight to get what they want, rich ppl just need to be more rich by hustling or have rich parents, that make you shine. just saying, that poor ppl do bad things for survival, but do good things outta of love. some rich ppl do good things for “help”, but do bad things to help themselves. not all of them. and money are what controls our world, so to say money don’t have an impact of our education, are extremely arrogant. it’s great that you may have live in a privileged lie, but just don’t think you can come with that statement without living that life, as a hungry little lost child that only got parents that can’t afford a computer and still have to work even thou they are worn out, and see their parents fight bc of money and the possibility to end up in the street!! if you’re rich and you don’t feel you’re one of them, then don’t take it personally just don’t try to cover up the truth about our current situations. remember that poor ppl commit crime bc of their choices, rich ppl do it bc of their entertainment or for their own sake. there’s a huge difference!

    • You MUST be an American. Perhaps you will stay happy with this attitude, but I hope, one day you’ll cry for people who don’t like you for your pride or your money but for being someone who cares for his “friends”. As most of you americans you don’t have the slightest idee of what communism is. Being poor and dreaming of a fair world is not communism, it’s humanism. Ever heard of it?
      I am so fed up with people like you. Would you have liked it to be born poor,
      without hope and help. Try to get somewhere from there.

    • You probably don’t know what communism means. School should be free for everyone and the level of education high and even in every school. It’s a right every human being should have and not depend on how much money you have.
      By the way Capitalism cannot function without Socialism. The difference is Capitalism keeps the wealthy wealthy.

    • Your view is exemplary and explains why the system which gives privilege to the fortunate ones only will take long time to be obliterated.Paradoxically and shockingly it is usually people on Paula`s side of the story who shout most for the status quo. Would not surprise me if you were from such background.

    • Hi, so then I’m fucking proud to be a communist, and you are fucking proud than people who had a “better education” (your words…) DESERVES to have a “better life” and more money. It’s because of people like you that the human kind is as fucked up as we can see each day. No help, no hope, only shitty people with capitalist thoughts.

    • You do not get the point at alll. !!! – are you thick ?or just dumb ? -or from the Boy’s Line, ?? If from the Boy’s Line you believe you did it all yourself BUT you still ended up dumb ???? Now , if you were in the girl’s shoes I wonder where you would be ?, from your comment I suggest A FAILURE – Dumb – as your comment is.

    • If one of the richest men in the world can admit he is fortunate to have won the genetic lottery and can be graceful enough to lend a hand up to others surely even an ignoramus can admit privelege is a real thing.

    • What is wrong of being communist? I don’t get why is that some people get to have better than others because of money! It’s unfair… There is nothing wrong with a socialist society where you get to have the same opportunities the same chances to go to a good school and where the name of your family means nothing. Yeah good for you you have money but but how about these people who don’t have the same opportunities? Should you be punished because you were born into a poor family?

    • Wanting future generations to have equal opportunities for success, is not Communism, its just a collective desire to level the playing field. It has nothing to do with party politics, its about the distribution of wealth, of which, with exception of an elite few, we are all victims. It’s immoral to accept the present inequalities as rights just because it works for you.

  2. You guys in America really need to sort of the minimum wage. In Norway we don’t have it because we don’t need it. If someone gets payed bad (which is like twice as much as a mcdonalds worker in the US), the institutions in the storting (government house) start reacting and make the parties responsable look bad. This forces them to raise the payment to those workers. Sorry for my bad english, I don’t know how to explain it with english words.

    • Yes! WE are the most ‘advanced’ country yet we treat people like crap. I heard Norway’s education is awesome especially for teachers. America has it all backwards. I am in education however I work a part-time job at a department store with a minimum wage payments. I don’t know how people could ever live on that type of income! People look down on those types of jobs but it actually is hard work! Unfortunately, our country treats those people badly.

      • You are not the most advanced country..yer education is a joke..half the pro Pl e couldn’t pick Iraq on the map yet believe it’s right to bomb and invade ..yer health care is non existing. .ye are run by a pack of greedy oil tycoons in texts. .Please tell me where the advanced part is…

        • That’s why advanced was in scafe quotes, man. So many people on top say we are advanced, even when these issues are present. Now that you’ve made a self-righteous ass of yourself, have a great day. 🙂

  3. Smh….so OBVIOUSLY the authors don’t get it either. That’s not privilege! That’s poor choices and poor circumstances. Just because you CHOOSE to have 1,000,000 kids doesn’t mean they all can’t have straight A’s just like the family that CHOSE to only have one. Privilege is when BOTH kids meet the criteria and the white kid gets the sxholorship or internship simply because he/she is white when the minority kid is just as (or more in most cases) qualified. Privilege is when that kid, who’s gotten by on skin color alone and looks down on someone of color (or opposite gender) assuming that they haven’t worked just as hard (or harder in most cases) which is why they’re in the poor situation they’re in. Privilege when you’re actually innocent until proven guilty and not tried, convicted, sentenced and executed before the first fact is discovered. And finally, privilege is believing yourself to be superior simply and only because you are …..white, male, etc.fill in the blank.

    • Not being born into poor circumstances is privilege, especially when the lack or existence of poor circumstances is a result of generations of “the white kid gets the scholarship or internship [or job or loan or promotion or…] simply because he is white”.

      Privilege, like wealth, is often inherited. And like wealth, it can be squandered, it can be shared, or it can be used to try to get more.

    • Yes, those are all examples of privilege. The ones in the cartoons are also. For example, when the father gets sick – maybe both did. But one had a medical team to look after him, while the other had to be looked after by a child who is also trying to get an education. IMHO, the worst one is that the rich people who did not have to work harder think that the poorer ones just need to stop whining and work harder. It’s just not that easy!

  4. Are u serious?!?! Many people are born into families that cannot afford to pay for college for themselves, nor their children’s’. All their money goes to survival (living expenses)! So, community college or the military is usually their only option other than being stuck in a dead end job like their predecessors! In other cases, some people are born into a families that has never seen a day of struggle in their lives (usually the ones who like to call the less fortunate”lazy”), ivy league education and all. Then there’s the middle class that have enough money to pay their living expenses and still have money to put aside for a college fund!

  5. Devon is not getting the point being made here! The girl in the script worked even harder than the privileged boy! Read beyond that u relate to the boy more!!!!

    • Yep deep down he knows what he is and she can be proud of being an independant, hard working, compassionate person. He will always know that he had that privileged life. Having it all still means that you can be missing out, I feel sorry for him too


  7. A wise man once said “You will always have the poor with you.” For some their poverty is economic, others are bereft of compassion. Any abundance that comes is for sharing. Only this way will we all move forward together.

  8. Some people won’t get it even if you hold a banner in front of their eyes… That boy got the job because his dad had a friend. He didn’t get it ’cause he was qualified or educated or lucky. He was priviledged. And the girl, she was been kept an eye on ’cause she was poor and a woman (and not white). Is this bad luck? NO. It’s her being under-priviledged and the bosses’ being misogynists and racists. People make sure you go out into the world without your parents’ money before starting explaining others how things work.

  9. Not everyone in the comfortable middle class started out there… My husband and I both came from poor families that couldn’t pay for college. He went into the military and I went to work. With no formal options for education I educated myself. I worked hard and became very good at what I do. We may not be rich but we are comfortable. We spend our extra time and money with non-profit organizations and are teaching our children that they need to work for anything they want, but that won’t stop us from helping them some along the way. Not everything is black and white. Not everyone who appears privileged came from the background you might think and not everyone who is born without it is doomed. It is your own responsibility to raise yourself up. Those who have been born without a silver spoon should spend more time reaching for it and less time lamenting its absence… I came from NOTHING. I don’t blame the world for that. I have a high school diploma from a public school (which I got while working full time to support my family), no one has ever bought me a car, no one ever paid my bills… yet I was able to work and scrimp by, and educate myself, and save my money… I was able to become a world traveler, a successful business woman, a philanthropist… I have carried the tray, and I have eaten from it. No one ever said you couldn’t have it both ways.

    • Okay, Lucky.Your name even shows that you know that you were fortunate to be able to get out of your situation, so I am not quite understanding the exact point of your argument. To indulge in the idea that “if I can do it, so can everyone else?” Everyone has different opportunities, and with the growing income disparity, it is becoming arguably harder to overcome class-based obstacles.A few questions: In what era were you born and of what ethnicity? Was the minimum wage enough to support yourself and save for education? Were you able to pay your way through school? How high was the interest rate for student loans? Was a bachelor’s degree required for an entry level position? It’s one thing for one born in poverty (or to a lower class family) to resign themselves and say that all of their problems are the result of the world, having not worked hard. But those that work hard and whom the system fails to advance most certainly have the right to reference the instances of bias and absence of opportunities that they faced. These experiences may have resulted in the inability to achieve a satisfactory living standard in which they can enjoy life instead of being exhausted by it. I am glad that you were able to lift yourself up and live comfortably in addition to giving of your time and money to nonprofits.However, your comment proposes the idea that those that are privileged should not think of the underprivileged and work to balance out the scales in order to make chances of success better for those that start out in poor backgrounds. The idea that those that have present parents (not trying to simply get by, but who also can guide their children along the way and afford to give them all the resources they need to succeed) and who coax through life with few setbacks ought to be in a higher class then those that work harder to try to get to the same class and still fail is ludacris. And yes, the system needs to be mended by people that have the power and recognize its faults.

    • Congratulations! You are one person that this worked for. How about the ones that may also have crises going on in their houses every day? How about the ones that may need a little extra help, such as a tutor, and can’t afford it? How about the ones that quit school to help support a sick or invalid parent? Just because you could become a success, doesn’t mean that it is possible for everyone. Many people who are less successful aren’t necessarily blaming the world for their lack of success, they are just hoping for a hand up, not a hand out.

  10. I see this all the time. I work my ass off at 2 full time jobs… one 1st shift and one 3rd. I make more money combined than anyone I know personally, and I still make plenty of time for my family and friends. I just want my kids to have a good life. Anyway, I see people working these shit jobs and I just wonder why they don’t reach for something better. I think this comic pretty much hits the nail on the head with perspective. I never once have thought “I can’t get that job” or “I can’t make that much money” I just think “How?”. I can literally see that people just don’t even think its possible, or maybe don’t even consider it. Its weird to me… BUT I come from a hard working middle class family so that’s just where my behaviors came from I guess.

  11. This sounds more like predeterminism than anything. The rich man can’t help his viewpoint, the poor lady can’t help her position, etc. Pure predeterminism. But regardless of privilege, successful people know that the two keys to success are working smart and thinking optimistically. You won’t get anywhere by hammering the same rock over and over again. You’re going to have to go outside yourself, outside of who you think you are as a person. That includes your culture, your race, your family, your socioeconomic position.These things do not define you. I can see why a person that has had nothing will continue to manifest that nothingness, but you’re going to have break that cycle to get anywhere. I believe this learned helplessness is passed down from generation to generation. You’ve got to believe in yourself to go anywhere, even if you’re rich. And even if you’re born rich, that doesn’t mean you’ve done anything worthwhile in your life. You’ve got have the ambition and the willingness, and the mind that believes undoubtedly that great things are here and are continuously coming your way. Regardless of what the surrounding may seem like around you, they do not define what is within.

    • I disagree. Some of the ‘privileged people’ are the most negative and unhappy people that you can come across. They like to complain about the ‘lazy poor people’ and seem passionless a lot of the time. They basically like to complain all the time. Hence them being the most likely to write ‘letters of complaint’. And as a person from a minority group ‘black tax’ is a reality- whats sad is that you even have to pay it to people from the same background as you. Its a form of mental abuse I think. And you wonder why people find it hard to break out of the idea of cutting themselves short. J-Maki you need to align your optimism with reality friend.

  12. The cartoon is trying to trick it’s readers into accepting the author’s opinion that all people who do well don’t deserve it, and got there by some mysterious privilege. A tired leftwing trope. The boy’s parents probably worked harder and smarter than the girls, so their offspring benefited from their work, one of the valid rewards of hard work. But, the cartoon does not tell us if the boy worked harder and smarter than the girl, making better career choices, there is a good chance he did; instead we are made to believe that his success was solely based on undeserved benefits outside of his control. I know people from “privilege” who have done badly, and many people not from “privilege” who have done very well – the bulk of their success came from their own relentless effort and smart decisions. The dangerous message that the left teach through this sort of simplistic propaganda, that it’s hopeless, you can’t succeed, the game is weighted against you, and that all people who succeed don’t deserve it. This sort of message is increasing in tempo in our society, and is destroying the future of many young people. It prevents them from engaging in the game and so reaching their potential. Ultimately this sort of message is a power play by the left to keep people down, since people who succeed typically stop voting left, and so people succeeding is the last thing the left want.

  13. If your born poor it’s 0% your fault. If you die poor it is 100% your fault. There has an ever been an easier time to change your destiny. With free access to education and training via the internet and libraries. It only takes a change in your mentality to change your life you can do it in 1 day. Whether your 15 or 50. everyone makes they’re own decisions and is the master of they’re own destiny. If you walk around talking about how others had it easier, or making a list of excuses a mile long of things you can’t control that are keeping you from living the life you want to then you NEVER WILL. Put down your phone and get off facebook. Turn off your tv. Read a book. Take a free online course. grow some balls and ask for a raise, if they say no then quit your shitty job you hate.No one can help you if you give up and no one can help you if you won’t help yourself. If you live in north America YOU ARE PRIVILEGED! Whether your rich or poor, happy of sad. is 100% up to you.

  14. So what would be the solution? Not let people help their children? The idea that your hard work will help your children in future is one of the main motivators in society. Even if you have 2 kids starting in exactly same conditions, they will never end up exactly the same – one will be a bit or a lot more successful. Then the more successful one can’t use what he earned for the benefit of his kids? That’s nonsense. What we can do however is make sure that even children from poor families have access to education and are not hindered by problems like sick parent and nobody to take care of him. A decent universal healthcare would be a start.

  15. For all those who grew up like Paula but ended up like Richard…Maybe the whining we hear feels unjustified, that handouts for those who didn’t work as hard to beat Paula type circumstances are unacceptable, that we appreciate those who did what it took to outperform; makes us collectively sound like we don’t care for the sick and poor when instead feel like we deserve to be where we are because we lived in the overcrowded rented homes, held the serving tray in those pictures, we cleaned the toilets, swept the floors, washed the dishes, held multiple jobs at once while going to school, no one handed us anything and NOW we hear whining and feel like we’re being punished for working that hard, for sacrificing everything to achieve our goals and we ask what were we just lucky and everyone else unlucky when we who have lifted ourselves out of Paula’s ranks don’t believe in luck or talent or privilege, we believe in hard work, faith and perseverance and if you don’t you are probably the one pointing at this story cursing Richard and thinking that having a harder road like Paula means you deserve some special consideration rather than making it your raison d’être to get ahead of the Richards of the world.

    • It’s different now a days , right wing capitalist , your out dated , gone are the days when one only had to work hard .
      Get some facts on massively rising rents , car repairs for flimsy designs purposely designed to fall apart, and so badly designed they are difficult to fix crippling the American public from getting to work .
      That cards are staked differently nowadays , in favor of the v elite and their excessively oppressive laws.
      Like forfeiture of money and goods that are not returned even if no crime has been committed.
      And traffic cameras that have massive fines collected by out of state agencies , even if they are unjust and the person did not go against the law of that state , such as not counting to ten before turning right ON A GREEN LIGHT!!!
      Yeah buddy get a grip on the oppressive system !
      Get some facts like it takes between 72 and 82 hour to of work just to pay the rent on a modest one bedroom apt !!

  16. So yeah, it’s not a “race thing” (I use the term loosely , since the v term “white people” is racist)and the southern and Easter Europeans were considered an inferior race by the English Anglo-saxons / Nordic ruling class of america who passed racist and bigoted laws ag as in st them .

    In America’s factories foundries and steel mills they were given the worst jobs, paid less, and called dirty filthy names, one of which still appears in most American dictionaries.
    Most of their descendants got bilked out of their pensions by the rich elite too!!!

    So yeah, when you are cheated by the wealthy on the top YOU ARE NOT PRIVALEDGED! !!

  17. The first time I noticed that I was “privileged” (I didn’t know it was called that then,) was noticing I was treated differently from my cousin. She was the first grandchild in my generation, but I was the first grandson. First born of the firstborn, and I carry my father and grandfather’s name. My family back then valued males more than females. So I was spoiled more. Retrospectively now, I can see that opportunities came to me because i’m white that didn’t come to people who are not. Opportunities came to me because I a man that didn’t come to women, because I’m tall that didn’t come to short people, Because I’m intelligent and well spoken that didn’t come to less educated less articulate people. Outcome is not guaranteed however. I blew many of those opportunities, made poor choices, spent time in prison, and in my old age, (69) live below the poverty line. Yet, I’m still privileged and because of it better off than many others in situations similar to mine who are not white and male and tall and smart. It’s not my fault, and the only thing I can do about it is try not to carry on the traditions and treat everyone well.

  18. The problem with the comic, is that it undermines all the hard work of the person on the left, and because he is successful, he some how doesn’t really deserve what he has gotten in life. Which probably isn’t the case. People grow up like the girl on the right and become the guy on the left all the time. You shouldn’t look down on people because of their economic status, this goes both ways. While the guy in the comic fails to see his advantages in life, it is the author of this comic who assumes that the man has had everything handed to him on a plate.

    • You didn’t get in. The point is, they both try to be best as they can, but start point(environment and genes) is different.

      Not everyone got in handed on a plate, but most of them yes. They just don’t realize that.

  19. We’re here, the dinosaurs aren’t. Talk about privilege. Survival is greatly dependent on luck. There is no right to life.


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