Last Thanksgiving I decided to volunteer. It turned out to be a really enjoyable experience but while I was there, one of the diners asked if she might take some food with her when she left; she even brought her own containers. When I asked the coordinator of the event if this was alright, I was surprised by her reply, “She brought her own containers? Ugh, the entitlement.”

Entitled? I’m actually having trouble thinking of what to type because even now I am befuddled by this woman’s reaction. Wasn’t this a charitable event? Wasn’t generosity the spirit of the event? Earlier, she bowed her head during a prayer of supposed gratitude for being able to serve those in need. As I expected, there was more than enough food to take home and it was no problem: but since when was bodily sustenance too much to expect?


I encountered a similar attitude from my roommate who is letting me stay with him until I get back on my feet. He’s told me on several occasions that his allowing me to stay in his apartment rent-free entitles him to treat me however he pleases and entitles me to NOTHING.This came up because I felt I was being treated poorly in the house and was requesting to be treated with more respect, as an equal. In so many words, he told me that I was being “ungrateful” and that he could kick me out any time. Asking to be treated well? How dare I?! Uncomfortable with the way things are and want them to change? The nerve!!!

“The whole day?!”

This is not the first time I’ve heard, “After all I’ve done for you!” My abusive mother and ex said the same thing–mostly prompted by my request for better treatment.


Entitlement is assuming you can do whatever you want and others will just have to be okay with it. It’s assuming you speak for an entire group and not just yourself. Entitlement is assuming that whatever you choose to give is more than enough and if there’s a disparity it’s because the other person is lacking, ungrateful or too demanding.

Wanting and even expecting the basic necessities of life, INCLUDING respect is NOT entitlement. We live in a culture that teaches us nothing is free–not even the food, clothing and shelter we need to survive. And respect? Well THAT has to be earned! The respect that is afforded every human being JUST because they are alive is apparently NOT a given.

No, you must fit the criteria for respect. Optimally, you will be light-skinned, male, a female who panders to males, adult, wealthy, “successful,” conventionally attractive and you will behave in a conventional manner that doesn’t upset any of the elite too much. If you are a female who does not pander to males, dark-skinned, to young or too old or unconventional in any sense, you’ve got to EARN the respect that the first group is ENTITLED TO.

THAT is entitlement. All people deserve respect, NOBODY deserves unquestioning reverence. 


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