Thursday, June 30, 2011

Privilege, Power & Difference Responses

Privilege is often associated with wealth. However, after reading Privilege, Power & Difference, reflect on where you may come from privilege. This may look like where you grew up, your support network of family and friends, the color of your skin, your gender, birth order, etc. We all come from a place of privilege, some more than others. Please identify yours and how it has granted you access and possible power.


  1. As suggested in the prompt, before reading this article I never considered myself to come from a place of privilege because growing up my family did not have a lot of money. However, this article definitely put things into perspective and made me realize how being a white, heterosexual, non-disabled, female affects how people treat me in my daily life. The issues raised in this chapter are important for us to be aware of, especially as educators, because our students are bound to come with many of these differences. I believe we need to teach children to be aware of how society may judge them based on characteristics that are beyond their control, but that these obstacles can be overcome and should not be allowed to define who they truly are.

  2. Being a Sociology major I took many courses in my undergraduate program that related to the topics in this article and I have learned a lot about the specific social characteristics that a person is born with and which they cannot change such as gender, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity which make some people more privileged than others. Growing up I lived in an affluent beach side community in Southern California; I had Caucasian parents whom remained married, who had respectable jobs, and who were both educated. Many people would say that these social characteristics would put me in the category of being a “privileged” person of our society, and I would agree that these traits have given me many opportunities that many do not have. Being privileged with these social characteristics have given me access to things that many people do not have for instance; I was fortunate enough for my parents to pay for my undergraduate education, I have an amazing supportive family who I know will always be there for me, I have many material objects that make my life easier such as a laptop, a car, the comfort of knowing that I will always be able to eat the next day, a shelter to live in and clothes to wear. Many of these items we take for granted but we forget that these are actually luxuries that many people in our world do not have.
    As I was growing up I did not realize how privileged I actually was, I just thought that this way of life was “normal.” As the article quotes, “White privilege gives whites little reason to pay attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them.” But, as I got older and become more educated I realized how privileged I actually was compared to many other people in the world and this realization was a huge reason as to why I wanted to get into the field of education. I feel that I have been so blessed with these social “privileges” of which I was born into that I want to give back to the community and share with the world that you cannot choose where you come from but you can help change how people perceive one another. As an educator I think that it is so important to educate your students that where someone comes from is not chosen and that everyone should be treated equally no matter what social characteristics they have.

  3. Like Laura, before I read this article I never even thought about priveledge as something to consider. During SI we did an activity related to this article and it illustrated the various things in life that can make you "step forward or back."
    It is important for us to remember this as we teach our students and help them understand how this can effect us. I need to be aware of the societal influences I have and not judge my students based on the judgements I didn;t even know I had.