Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Snobbery and Privilege

Hypocrisy is the essence of snobbery, but all snobbery is about the problem of belonging or exclusiveness.

Torun poland

“Some people have such good taste they can’t enjoy anything.”
Marty Rubin

“They [Harvard academia] liked the poor, but didn’t like the smell of the poor.”
Chris Hedges

“It was culture as class performance, literature fetishised for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys, so that they might afterwards feel superior to the uneducated people whose emotional journeys they liked to read about.”
― Sally Rooney, Normal People


Why are some people Snobs?

Snobs are people who judge people for what they do or how much wealth they have, not for who they are. They fixate on product and performance, not personality or spirit. Snobs might display rigidity of thinking as some well heeled who, despite their expensive educations, came to admire Hitler’s autocratic style of government. The snob pigeonholes people according to superficial criteria such as their birth, their profession, either regarding or disregarding them. Countries with strict class systems are renowned for this. Exclusion may even be based on the way a person speaks.

schnauzer dog reading

Some interesting explanations on snobbery are found here

It is suggested that snobbery is a symptom of social insecurity; that social insecurity may be rooted in childhood experiences, especially feelings of shame at being different, or an early sense of privilege or entitlement that cannot later be realized.

The true answer to snobbery is not to say that there is no such thing as a better or worse person, but to insist that better or worse exist in constantly unexpected places and carry none of the outward signs of distinction. Perhaps the antithesis of snobbery is recognition of those who fail as much as those who succeed?

Is it feasible to recognize everyone for their effort?

“People who hold important positions in society are commonly labelled “somebodies,” and their inverse “nobodies”- both of which are, of course, nonsensical descriptors, for we are all, by necessity, individuals with distinct identities and comparable claims on existence. Such words are nevertheless an apt vehicle for conveying the disparate treatment accorded to different groups. Those without status are all but invisible: they are treated brusquely by others, their complexities trampled upon and their singularities ignored.”
― Alain de Botton

Do you know some people whose self-concept is not so strong that they spend a lot of time making comparisons and judging others, who often fail to come up to their high standards? Is this a form of snobbery?

Or perhaps the do-gooders who are not really keen on the people they help in their everyday lives, at all. It looks good on paper to help the needy and they feel they are doing the right thing, and yet, if the recipients are not grateful for the handout, the donations or assistance abruptly stop .And then there are the group who seek to gain something from handouts, business favours or social favours.

Humans can be poor judges of the worth of others, and thus it may be simpler to be kind, curious, open and imaginative about all we interact with and that includes ourselves.

Snobbery and its contributing factors is Something to Ponder About


39 thoughts on “Sunday Sayings – Snobbery and Privilege”

  1. This was good pondering food for sure! I like how you defined snobbery – and the word exclusive was what came to my mind – and side note – I do know that sometimes when people judge and flaw find – and tear others down it can sometimes come from s perosnlity disorder – we have a relative with narcissism and wow – part of the symptoms of this illness is “snobby treatment” of others st times – they also have depression and low self-esteem – and have I met needs so it is always about them and meeting their needs – (me me me) with immature indulgences – and in many cases the person had something significant that elevated them above others (the roots of snobby mindset)
    So for some it was good looks – played an instrument well at a young age – were the wealthiest ones in their circle – something that elevated them –

    Anyhow – just wanted to note that sometimes a mental illness (or disorder) exists – other times there are many factors – as you address here – and ugh – it can be so tough being around snobby people 🙄


    1. Ah, Yvette, I relish reading your contributions to Sunday Sayings. You always have a great comment to make, as is the case this time. It is definitely worthwhile remembering the excluding nature of some folks might be due to a lack of empathy or mental condition! How right you are about low self esteem being another contributing factor. If they can’t like themselves, they seek to denigrate others so that they themselves feel a little elevated in status. Low Self esteem and a low satisfaction with their interactions with others can spill over into depression. Or depression itself may contribute to a cynical sneering attitude, such that positive traits in others, are unseen. I am wondering if there is any trigger for the relative’s narcissistic ways?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. well we now know three people with high narcissism and the triggers are “life in general” – ha
        but trust me Amanda – when you meet someone with this disorder it is crazy how they fit the checklist of symptoms – and CBT does help with managing their distortions and selfish approach (they are needy so it is always about them) and they have destructive patterns – or can – because they lack empathy – when they inflict hurt on someone there is not remorse like you or ai would have – instead – they often feel dignified or feel a sense of justice to deliver pain – or to see hurt –
        I have examples for another time –
        and with some narccisim –
        tough confrontations can sometimes shake up their thinking and they slowly become more aware of the destruction they bring to others and self. But it takes work – and lots of time – but small change is possible.

        and getting back to the SNOB topic directly again – I actually walked away from a date one night because he was a snob.
        We went to a wedding together – it was a girl I worked with – her name Wass Kirstin – she was a few months pregnant and so they had a rushed wedding – 1989 – wonder if they are together still – because in 1991 I ran into some guys down in FL who knew her hubs and they told me some stuff. But I digress –
        anyhow, her wedding was in a banquet room in downtown buffalo and simple but still nice – and had 500 people – buffet and dancing – etc.
        after the wedding – my lil’ sister was managing a restaurant at the time (very young for her age to have the keys to this cool little place that was down the way from he wedding) –
        and so Bob – my date -and I ran into some folks he knew (from his upper crust town of Williamsville) and they asked why we were dressed up. He said we were coming from a wedding and he kind of snickered when he said it was at the location it was.
        ((like not a country club or expensive venue))
        shortly after that – I told him I was going back to see my sister and he could drive himself home – my sis took me home and that was it. done.
        but he had other snobby ways on our three dates preceding the wedding and as sweet as he was (and cute – he looked like Pete Sampras) snobbiness is a heart thing.
        and your post gets to that point.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. What an experience, for him to go through the whole evening and then reveal his true feelings. No wonder you were done.
          I can also imagine it is difficult at family get togethers with people who are self centred. Maybe, I would have to hide my eye rolling?!! I would certainly be thinking about their behaviour and wondering the motivation for it. My workplace is filled with such beautiful people I forget there are folks like that. Perhaps some get their comeuppance? Life in general is a trigger for them? Gosh, what happens when they are stressed?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well said and yes – we are all human – and in Bob’s defense (feels like a different life actually) he wasn’t that snobby when he said the venue – I see that in hindsight – and he was a gentleman at the party – I was just “done” with him overall
            And wishing you a wonderful rest of your week

            Liked by 2 people

  2. I like to hope that in general I am not a snob. However, I am guilty of being a coffee snob. Can’t be doing with instant. I wonder if most of us do in fact have some little corner of us that feels superior about something?


    1. That is worth remembering, Margaret. There are many things that people feel strongly about. Where does the boundary between preference and snobbery lie? Do you think it might depend on the background, values and attitudes of the person observing the behaviour.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right of course. However, I think that many of us, if we’re honest, may harbour a secret sense of being ‘right’ about a few – often quite trivial – things which we’d be horrified to be guilty of if applied to areas of life that really matter, such as our attitude to people or to sections of society who are different from us.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ig only we coukd vie ourselves through another’s lens; then there may be many things we would wish to change. Sometimes watching a home video and hearing myself – I think: gosh – do I really sound like that?


    1. Being civil, Peggy? Disliking people who get anger or who don’t greet or follow the accepted social conventions of acknowledging others? Is that what you mean?


  3. Yet another thought provoking post- I was always brought up to treat everyone as an equal from the window cleaner to the doctor just so long as they were polite and courteous. I do have my preferred supermarkets though and some I would only use if there was no alternative. Could this perhaps be perceived as a type of snobbery or is it just making a choice where I buy my groceries?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have liked to grow up in such a nurturing equality based family unit, Marion. Lovely. As I mentioned above, the distinction is between snobbery intended to exclude or demean, and a choice based on analysis or convenience. If one shop offers products of higher quality and you are happy to pay the higher price, I don’t think it would be considered to be snobbery if the quality of the product did indeed, justify a higher price.I prefer certain brand names for goods that I purchase. That could also be snobbery over generic brands. For me, it is a thorough examinations of the options and a decision based on needs. I have had my fingers burnt before with poor quality seconds or faulty produce.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we can all be a bit snobbish at times and I work at catching myself at it and straightening out my thinking. I have nothing to be snobby about but I remember my mother talking about people who wore used clothes and didn’t take care of their appearance even they were poor as were we. It’s that thought of, well at least I’m doing it better than they are which is snobbery. We can all be a bit judgemental and I don’t like it in myself or others though if we don’t forgive it, we are the bigger snobs. My stepdaughter accused me of being judgemental when I disapproved of her choice in a life partner. He was a drunk and a sex offender. I told her I wasn’t being judgemental, I was being discerning and she deserved better. She never understood the difference. We still don’t speak. So sad. I think it’s important to watch our own behavior before we judge someone else. Good post, Amanda.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I quite agree that we should watch our own behaviour before we pass judgement on others, as we have never walked in their shoes and are not perfect ourselves. However, I still would have had to say something about the sex offender! Some things are beyond the pale.
      It is funny – the criminal and judicial system passes judgement all the time as does the school system. We are asked to be critical in writing reports and in financial, economic, political and scientific analysis, even in essays and literature, yet it is deemed bad if we are judgemental in our personal lives! So ironic – teach us to think critically, but only employ this style of thinking in certain aspects of one’s life. No wonder we might be tempted to be judgemental in our personal lives.
      In my view, a degree of self awareness is vital if we are to acknowledge our own faults and if those faults are seen to be undesirable, hopefully they can be worked on, or eliminated, if not acceptable. In order to have self-awareness, we first need to have a level of self-responsibility. Responsibility for our actions, and words.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said, Marlene. Folks that live in glass houses, should not throw stones. We should monitor and watch our language towards others lest there be some kind of in advertant demeaning put downs of certain groups that usually are less fortunate than ourselves. Often this happens when discussing politics.
    Furthermore, we often think we know better than the Doctors or are snobbish about which Doctor we allow to treat us! This comes back to individuals seeing things differently to the next person.
    Who are we to comment on another’s choice of life partner? Still, if it involved a convicted sex offender or someone with an alcohol problem and a dear family member, I would certainly be concerned and may say something aloud but would have to think a lot about wording it beforehand, so that it wouldn’t come across as hostile.. In this instance, that you mention, it borders on the issue of trust, as well. And you may have been absolutely right. There is a difference.
    At least you can rest easy knowing you gave her an opportunity to see another perspective. I can be snobbish about witnesses speaking up about bullying or harassment! I hate the conspiracy of silence and would rather be told information that is bad news or hard to swallow even if I had a hard time accepting it at first.


  6. I believe some people are snobbish because they have a false sense of greeter self-worth. It’s not necessarily an inborn trait, but rather, learned from others – mainly their own families. To some extent, they may also be psychopathic. Regardless, these are among the people who – when science finally discovers the center of the universe – will be upset that they are not it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol!!! You make me laugh, Alejandro. That Thinking style: that one can be the centre of the universe- yes I do wonder how much of that is nature versus nurture? Psychopaths/narcissists have little empathy for others and perhaps are over- indulged or fawned over by their families? This seems to bear out that suggestion: “Although the cause of narcissistic personality disorder isn’t known, some researchers think that in biologically vulnerable children, parenting styles that are overprotective or neglectful may have an impact. Genetics and neurobiology also may play a role in development of narcissistic personality disorder.”
      Too much attention or too little seems unhelpful to certain childen, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Snobs or cliques – it is all about inclusion/exclusion. I do hope that the snobs as described in the video are few and far between, but I think we have all come across them, in our life.


  8. This was again a wonderful, thought provoking post. This made me wonder if my behavior at times could be characterized as that of a snob by others- for example when I voice my choice of buying organic food or coffee that is sourced ethically or using make up items that are cruelty free…to name a few. I hope not. And I examined my attitude towards those who are unable to adhere to similar thoughts and actions because of personal reasons and I am ashamed to admit that I have slipped a couple of times…I have been judgmental. It had momentarily slipped my mind that for people trying to make ends meet, there are more important things to worry about than using cruelty free make up items, like putting food on the table and giving their family a roof over their head. It’s the character of a person and their ideologies that makes them snobs I think..where the privilege that has come their way is used to belittle those who are different. I have brown skin and I know of people, who look like me,but who think being ‘fair/ light skinned’ is a ‘quality’ and he who is not so is someone who can be looked down upon (at least in terms of look) It is also the first thing they mention when talking about any other brown person and I am appalled and embarrassed every time I am around when such a thing happens. This, I think, is a classic example of snobbery. I wonder if they even realize how shallow they sound when making such ridiculous degrading comments. And I used to know someone who thought that it was important to have at least one luxury car , if not more than one! I am glad that I no longer have any connection with this person. I think it’s about our thoughts and how we choose to word our thoughts, recognizing our privilege and behaving in a manner that is not hurtful is what helps us keep our balance and away from stumbling into the side that berates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wise words, Moon! It is important to keep grounded and balanced in our viewpoint. This video certainly challenged me to examine my preferences to eliminate more judgmental practices and to be more understanding of other’s situations or choices. We have not walked in their shoes, so who are we to judge.
      I think it is crazy to think that someone of a different skin colour imparts some kind of rights over the other, and this goes for anyway it is compared. Skin colour/ethnicity/ even gender or sexuality differences. We don’t have to like everyone, but it is better for all of us if we try to empathize and understand others. We all do live on this one big planet!

      Liked by 1 person

Everyone is important. What do you have to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.