What Is Privilege?

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Some people are born into families where

Some people are born into families where

they have to walk miles just to get water.

All I have to do is turn on a faucet- that's privilege.

What is Privilege?

The privilege walk is an activity designed to help people understand the effects of societal privileges.

A list of 35 social privileges or disadvantages were read to a group of 10 people.

Each person took a step forward or a step back based on how they identified with the statement.

- I think privilege is when some people have some things

and other people don't have things.

- I feel privilege is something that you don't even really even have control over.

- I think it'd be silly for me to say I don't have a fair amount of privilege,

considering the country I live in and the job I get to do and the college I was allowed to go to.

- I suppose being a white male will help me end up somewhere towards the front,

but I'll take a few steps back from being gay.

- I don't think I'll make it to the front.

I think I'll maybe be in the middle.

That's just a gut feeling I have.

-If your parents worked nights and weekends to support your family,

take one step back.

If you can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence,

take one step forward.

If you were embarassed about your clothes

or house while growing up, take one step back.

If you have ever been diagnosed as having a physical

or mental illness or disability, take one step back.

If you have ever been bullied or made fun of based on

something you can't change, take one step back.

If you get time off for your religious holidays,

take one step forward.

If you came from a supportive family environment-

If you can see a doctor whenever you feel the need-

If you are able to move through the world

without fear of sexual assault-

If you took out loans for your education-

If there were more than 50 books in your house right now-

So these are your final positions.

How was it?

- I think it felt kind of strange for everyone.

- It's a hard thing to discuss or even reflect on.

It was very awkward.

- I think when you can represent it so visually like this

and so immediately, it definitely takes on a new form.

- Oh, I think we're all joking around in the beginning.

It was pretty lighthearted

and as soon as the questions started coming in,

the mood shifted immediately and it was just silent.

- Just looking back and seeing a bunch of people behind you is not a good feeling.

- It's like weird how you want to hold onto explaining a certain privilege

like, "Oh, but that's not actually me because I hard to work really hard for that."

So it's weird to take a step forward when you feel like

you're taking a step forward with someone else,

but you wear a lot of the baggage of how those things were hard.

- It was more emotional than I thought it would be.

- It reminded me of when they talk about slavery in high school and you feel angry for a few days,

but then you just realize like, this is how it is.

- For me it was just kind of frustrating almost

to look back and see how much further some people were behind me

and realizing that, you know, a lot of that stuff,

no amount of hard work or even legislation can make up that gap.

- It's interesting being an Asian American

because you're not really sure where

you fall on the spectrum of privilege.

- I know that for me one of the reasons I ended up

so far back was that there were questions around safety.

As an African American, as a woman, as a gay woman,

there was just so many different ways that I don't feel safe.

- I feel like I just learned to be grateful for what you have.

You know, we're in such a huge society where

it's always complaining about what you don't have.

- It just shows you that for some families, like each family, you're meant to do better.

My grandparents did good, my parents did good,

and I'll do even better.

- I do think if you're not aware of privilege you should do

this exercise, but it's more complicated.

Vocabulary

Expressions / Collocations

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