I attribute a majority of my success to the generational privilege that comes from being a middle-class White American male. And from my perspective, the rest had more to do with the talented people I worked alongside than with me. While I may have some natural ability and put in my share of sweat and tears, the best pilot in the world can not fly to the moon unless someone provides them with a rocket ship. Seen in this light, my privilege is the vehicle most responsible for my success. I may have flown it a little further than most, but I would be nowhere without it.
There are true “self made” successes in America. Immigrants that arrive with nothing and rise to the top. Black men and women who overcome generational inequity sown from centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, housing and loan discrimination and cultural bias. For them there is little chance of inheriting a network of success and power or having a rich Nana to fund their dreams. They have to build their own rocket ships and fly them — a task so difficult it’s no wonder most entrepreneurs come from wealthy families.