Day 3: What is Privilege, Anyway?

  • Let’s talk about the notion of privilege and what that means. For many, this is a relatively new idea. Often the word itself is so charged that it can stop a good conversation right in its tracks. Maybe it would be easier to discuss if it were labeled differently. Privilege, as an idea, should not be used as a weapon, but as a tool to help foster greater understanding. It is not intended to demean or diminish an individual or group of people, but instead to help lift up everyone. 

    In its most pure form, privilege means someone has an advantage based solely on who they are. This is not limited to a particular segment of society. Most of us can think of an advantage we enjoy, such as our educational opportunities, job status, marital status, a strong grasp of the language, wealth, or a special ability, skill, or talent. 

    Having a form of privilege - a built-in advantage - does not mean you aren’t a good person, haven’t worked hard for what you have, or aren’t deserving of the life you lead. It means that you enjoy an advantage that some others do not. It can be helpful to take stock of those as we move forward. Today, we share several videos that give another perspective of what privilege is and may look like in our daily lives. 

    Did You Know?

    In so many ways, Rush-Henrietta is one of the most diverse communities in the region. Our population is made even more eclectic thanks to our proximity to well-known local colleges and universities, as well as the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, located at RIT.

    Resources for Learning

    Option 1: Watch Students Learn a Powerful lesson about Privilege (1:45)

    Option 2: Watch Bitesize BBC on Privilege (2:31)

    Option 3: Watch Race and Privilege: A Social Experiment (7:27)

    Option 4: Read Why It’s Important to Think About Privilege - And Why It’s Hard

    Consider these ways to reflect, grow, and take action:

    Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection:

    • What did you notice about your personal reactions while reading and viewing today's material? What do these reactions tell you about your experiences?
    • Looking at the community where you grew up or where you are living, what do you notice about how privilege and marginalization may have shaped the community and your opportunities?
    • Identify one commitment that you can make starting today to make our community a better place.

    Ways to Get Involved:

    Office of Professional Learning Google Site Offering: 

    Additional ResourcesWhite Fragility

    "White Fragility," by Robin DiAngelo

    “Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility brings language to the emotional structures that make true discussions about racial attitudes difficult. With clarity and compassion, DiAngelo allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people.’ In doing so, she moves our national discussions forward with new ‘rules of engagement.’ This is a necessary book for all people invested in societal change through productive social and intimate relationships.” -Claudia Rankine


    R-H Equity Journey Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved.

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