Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Privilege - I'm a 7

There is a Buzzfeed video making the rounds on the internet about demonstrating privilege. A group of people stands in a line, holding hands. As statements are read, each person steps forward or back or stands still. Handholds eventually break because of distance. Some move forward, some end up stalled in the back.

I don't have a quick way to bring together a group of people and do this exercise - but I was really curious to see how it would play out for me. A friend of mine searched and found the list of statements used. I have adjusted it so that the instructions have you add or subtract a point instead of moving forward or back one step. Go through the list and see what score you come up with. Did any of these statements make you think differently about privilege and where you are in life?

 1. If your parents worked nights and weekends to support your family, subtract one point.
2. If you are able to move through the world without fear of sexual assault, add one point.
3. If you can show affect
ion for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, add one point.
4. If you have ever been diagnosed as having a physical or mental illness/disability, subtract one point.
5. If the primary language spoken in your household growing up was not english, subtract one point.
6. If you came from a supportive family environment add one point.
7. If you have ever tried to change your speech or mannerisms to gain credibility, subtract one point.
8. If you can go anywhere in the country, and easily find the kinds of hair products you need and/or cosmetics that match your skin color, add one point.
9. If you were embarrassed about your clothes or house while growing up, subtract one point.
10. If you can make mistakes and not have people attribute your behavior to flaws in your racial/gender group, add one point.
11. If you can legally marry the person you love, regardless of where you live, add one point.
12. If you were born in the United States, add one point.
13. If you or your parents have ever gone through a divorce, subtract one point.
14. If you felt like you had adequate access to healthy food growing up, add one point.
15. If you are reasonably sure you would be hired for a job based on your ability and qualifications, add one point.
16. If you would never think twice about calling the police when trouble occurs, add one point.
17. If you can see a doctor whenever you feel the need, add one point.
18. If you feel comfortable being emotionally expressive/open, add one point.
19. If you have ever been the only person of your race/gender/socio-economic status/ sexual orientation in a classroom or workplace setting, please subtract one point.
20. If you took out loans for your education subtract one point.
21. If you get time off for your religious holidays, add one point. 
22. If you had a job during your high school and college years, subtract one point.
23. If you feel comfortable walking home alone at night, add one point.
24. If you have ever traveled outside the United States, add one point.
25. If you have ever felt like there was NOT adequate or accurate representation of your racial group, sexual orientation group, gender group, and/or disability group in the media, subtract one point.
26. If you feel confident that your parents would be able to financially help/support you if you were going through a financial hardship, add one point.
27. If you have ever been bullied or made fun of based on something that you can't change, subtract one point.
28. If there were more than 50 books in your house growing up, add one point.
29. If you studied the culture or the history of your ancestors in elementary school add one point.
30. If your parents or guardians attended college, add one point.
31. If you ever went on a family vacation, add one point.
32. If you can buy new clothes or go out to dinner when you want to, add one point.
33. If you were ever offered a job because of your association with a friend or family member, add one point.
34. If one of your parents was ever laid off or unemployed not by choice, subtract one point.
35. If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke or a statement you overheard related to your race, ethnicity, gender, appearance, or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation, subtract one point.

Out of 35 questions, I came out with a 7.  What I find interesting is that if I add and subtract every single time, the end result is a 7. There are 14 lines that subtract a point. 21 that add a point. I had 7 subtractions and 14 additions, the rest being no action lines.

How did you score? By sharing scores and talking about the statements, I think we grow in our understanding of what privilege is and how it impacts us.

sig jan 2014 photo owlsig.jpg


Ann-Marie said...

I watched the video, it was compelling. And one of the guys said he felt ashamed that he was farther ahead than others. I scored a 14 and felt the same way.

Billy said...

14 for me as well

Michelle said...

I scored an 11 I think (I kept adding a point and then subtracting). There's also a 100 phrase quiz on buzzfeed right now. It's interesting to think about the things that give people an advantage, many of which Are uncontrollable.

Anna said...

This is really interesting. I scored an 11. It's pretty thought-provoking.