13 thoughts on “Define “elite”

  1. The elites are those anointing themselves the gatekeepers of society. It’s Betsy DeVos talking about Christian values yet will destroy education for the very people Jesus talks about in the gospels. It’s Paul Ryan trying to destroy health care and make sure the bootstrap narrative only applies to whites. It’s the current president stacking his cabinet with whoever will say yes and a pay the price tag. The elites think only of themselves and their position, not provide a hand up to those feeling like a hand pushes at their forehead, keeping them from realizing the fruit of their hard work.

    To these guys, the elite live in the east coast, protest on the streets, have college educations, and generally say ‘there’s a better way.’ Close enough?

  2. I would say, that elite, has several definitions. There’s the intellectual elite, and the sports elite, the art elite and the wealthy elite. Sometimes they combine these features. Elite has social positions “above” others for some reason, either because they’re influent, or because they have power, or because they can do or enjoy things that others can’t. They are supposed to be rare and hard to meet. This is how humble people would mostly define elite, but maybe that very wealthy people, who have no other superiority than their wealth, might think that they only belong to the elite, a little bit like noble people would consider themselves, in the past. I would conclude, that if we somehow have the feeling to belong to elite, we ought to question ourselves closely. Is such a feeling justified? If we really do belong to elite, we have a duty of sharing (knowledge, beauty, efforts, wealth) and trying to help others in order to uplift the general level of society. Elite being on top, they’re supposed to be what a society has best to offer. If somehow they don’t fit that last requirement, I wonder if they really qualify for the term. Can somebody be elite, and not be amongst the best in his society?

  3. I think of elite is exclusivity that stems from reduced access to a way of life and the nature of the scarce resources defines the type of elitism. It is also the mystery in the minds of those on the outside looking in, left to ponder what’s beyond the gates. And from this mystery grows an idealization of elitism. So in many ways elite is ‘perceptions’. My first encounter of elitism was as a young girl in Nigeria on my long walk back from fetching water, I would stand in front of a dreamy white stoned mansion with its ornate bronze gate peering at children approximately my age playing about the compound. In that moment as the pail of water grew heavier on my head, elitism felt like grandparents not having running water. With maturity and more personal encounters I would discover that those with within the exclusive club also had a perception of what their lifestyle offered them. However it is possible for those within and outside of the various types of elitism to perceive their experience of lack or privilege differently. But all in all, the concept of scarcity which underpins the notion of elitism entails an imbalance of power between the haves and the have nots. And as such elitism can be political in nature, where those with increased access to the desired resources have a vested interest in maintaining this status quo and often create conditions to do so.

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