Nepotism babies, also known as “nepo babies”, are the children of wealthy and powerful individuals who are given preferential treatment and opportunities due to their family connections. The proliferation of nepo babies can be seen in various industries such as music, film and politics. All your faves are implicated Angelina Jolie, Emma Watson, Jaden Smith, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Zayn Malik, John David Washington, Ben Platt, and even others like Ivanka Trump internationally and basically every Kenyan politician locally. Nepo babies have been getting so much heat recently which is why it may be time to play a little devil’s advocate. Nepo babies everywhere, except in politics, this is me riding for you.
Benefits nepo babies have
It’s no secret, nepo babies have a lot going for them. While the rest of us fight and scramble for the crumbs, they have:
- Access to resources and mentorship that others may not have
- Exposure to the industry and connections that can help them succeed
- Potential for unique perspectives and diversity in the industry
- Ability to continue and build upon the legacy of their parents
- Opportunities to learn and hone skills from a young age
- Financial stability and support from their family
- Close role models in the same industry
- Familiarity with the industry and its workings
- Familiarity with the industry’s culture
- Specialized education in the field they are entering.
The problem with nepo babies
Having a system that privileges the few people with wealth and connections has numerous shortcomings.
Lack of meritocracy: Nepotism can lead to a lack of meritocracy, where individuals are given opportunities or promotions based on their family connections rather than their qualifications or abilities. This can create resentment among those who feel that they have been passed over for opportunities that they were more qualified for.
High expectations: Nepo babies may feel pressure to live up to the expectations of their parents and their parent’s fans. This can be a heavy burden to bear, especially if they are trying to establish their own career and identity.
Unqualified people: A huge problem with nepotism is positions and opportunities being given to unqualified people who then do a poor job or worse actively mess things up. This is especially dangerous in politics.
Lack of diversity and representation: Nepotism can also lead to a lack of diversity and representation in the industry, as it is often the privileged who have the resources and connections to take advantage of nepotistic opportunities, leaving people from underrepresented communities out of the loop.
Perceptions of unfairness and privilege: Nepotism may be perceived as unfair and privileged by those who are not able to access the same opportunities, leading to resentment and mistrust.
Profoundly undemocratic: in the case of politics nepotism leads to profoundly undemocratic societies where the elite and their families have control of all the seats of power.
In defense of nepo babies
Hear me out, a number of them really suck and dunking on them is easy but here’s why we shouldn’t hold all they have available to them against them:
You don’t choose family: It is not fair to hold nepotism babies responsible for the advantages they have, as they did not choose their family or the opportunities that come with it. Every parent does everything they can with what they have to push their kids ahead. The parents of nepo babies just have a lot more to work with.
More than just nepotism: Nepotism is not the only factor in success. Not all, but enough nepo babies work hard and do good work. Beyonce’s father’s industry connections and the fact that he was Destiny’s Child’s manager definitely gave her a leg up, but no one doubts her talents and abilities because of it. Nepotism definitely did a lot for her, but it’s not her entire story. Think of Tracee Ellis Ross, the daughter of Diana Ross who has gone on to be an objectively amazing actor in her own right. Being Diana’s daughter must have helped, but it’s not the entire story.
Not addressing the root cause: The problem with dunking on nepo babies is it fails to address the root of the problem. Instead of focusing on the children of wealthy and powerful individuals who are given preferential treatment, we should focus on addressing the root cause of inequality and lack of opportunities for many people. We need to talk about why so many people lack so much and how systemic issues like poverty prevent them from succeeding much less pursuing their passions. The problem isn’t that the children of celebrities and the wealthy get all these opportunities but that too many of us don’t. The problem is that this is a feature of capitalism not some kind of bug or failure. It’s by design. And that’s the problem. We need a system that allows all of us to live, thrive and pursue our passions even if our parents are not millionaires and billionaires.
So let’s agree to let the nepo babies be. They just got lucky. If we had their luck, we’d be nepo babies too and what a life, right? Nepo babies are not the problem. The system is the problem. Capitalism is the problem. The only exception to this is political nepo babies where the division of blame is 84% the system and 16% the nepo babies themselves. If you’re a nepo baby, stop with the denial. Own it. You got lucky. You got lucky, damnit. That’s not a moral criticism or a mark against you. It just is what it is. You got lucky. Own it and move on. Live and do everything you can to avail opportunities to other less fortunate people. See how easy it would have been to be unlucky and work towards dismantling a system that privileges only a few.
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