Privilege and inequality in Silicon Valley
Ricky Yean

I am so touched by your story. I have coined your term of “mindset inequality” as “poor people’s disease” because it causes malfunction in many systems, not just self-worth and understanding the value of the dollar, but also general well-being, which trickles down into relationships and health. It truly is deadly (in addition to keeping many potential entrepreneurs from being successful).

I, unfortunately, did not have your resolve when I went to college. Like you, I purchased SAT prep software to make sure I would be able to leave my meager upbringings. The result was numerous full ride scholarships, an invitation to WestPoint, and the world at my fingertips. What did I do? Freak out. “Mindset inequality” is no joke, man.

So I never filled out the application to Cornell, and instead opted for a full ride to a small liberal arts school, Xavier University, where I was supported by an understanding student body and financial aid office. =P Even that wasn’t enough to deal with the differences between me, a lower middle-class black girl from the South, and the upper middle-class lifestyles of my midwestern scholar friends.

Unlike you, I left. (I returned home and got my degree from UNC - Chapel Hill), which I tell myself is just as good, however, I am constantly haunted by what could have been if I simply dealt with it better.

Thankfully, I was raised by a serial entrepreneur, with a degree in business and a career as a freelance small -business consultant. I honestly believe that my upbringing prevents me from settling for mediocrity despite having a fairly bad case of poor people’s disease.

Now, after reading your post, I am encouraged to not only upgrade the way I think, so that I can be more successful with my second online venture, Freelance America, but also so that I too can help others do the same.

Thanks so much for sharing.

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