Privilege Walk Workshop The Privilege Walk Workshop: Learning More about Privilege in Today’s Society



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Privilege Walk Workshop

The Privilege Walk Workshop: Learning More about Privilege in Today’s Society

Tira J. Young

Azusa Pacific University

Diversity Workshop

CSA 567 The Role of Diversity in Student Affairs Practice

Dr. Sharyn Slavin Miller

March 11, 2006

Purpose/Abstract

The Privilege Walk Workshop is designed for students in college level courses across the country that are devoted to race, diversity, and the study of whiteness. This workshop has also been designed to provide college students with an opportunity to understand the intricacies of privilege. This exercise is controversial and should be voluntary, and it is very important that all who participate in this workshop remember to keep the things, which are discussed, confidential. The participants can share about their own experiences, but nobody else’s. This activity must be done in silence and if any of the participants feel uncomfortable, they should excuse themselves from the workshop. It is important for the individuals who participate in workshop, that they challenge themselves and understand some of the privileges that have been granted to them because of their race, religion, education, family upbringing, etc. Please be honest when participating in this workshop.

Learning Goals

The learning goals for the Privilege Workshop are to increase the understanding of privilege amongst the participants by presenting the facts; that each student has most likely been in a situation where privilege affected their life in one way or another, both positive and negative. We need to remember that learning is the process of acquiring attitudes and values through experiences or changes of behavior. Klecker found that students gain more out of a learning experience or environment when they are actively involved in the learning process. Therefore, this workshop is designed to be a cooperative learning experience, based on five key points about learning:

  1. Learning is an active, constructive process.

  2. Learning depends on rich contexts.

  3. Learners are diverse.

  4. Learning is inherently social.

  5. Learning has affective and subjective dimensions (Klecker, 2003).

Outline for the Privilege Walk Workshop

  1. Set up

    1. You will need a room that is large enough for all students who are participating in this workshop to stand in a single file line, shoulder to shoulder.

    2. The facilitator should lay masking tape in middle of the room so there is equal distance to the front and to the back. The students should stand behind the line, so when the sentences are read aloud, the students will walk forward to go over the line for the privilege walk, or stay behind the line and take steps back on the privilege walk. Each step depends on the participants responses to the sentences that are read aloud by the facilitator.

    3. The total estimated time of this exercise is 1 ½ hours.

  2. Exercise

    1. All participants should begin this exercise silently without speaking, hand in hand, in a single file line, shoulder to shoulder.

    2. The participants should be instructed to listen carefully to each sentence and, take the step required if it applies to them.

    3. The participants should be told there will be prizes at the front of the room/end of the walk that everyone is competing for.

    4. This workshop is not a competition. It is about learning what privileges some people had while growing up.

    5. Notify the participants that if they do not feel comfortable moving forward during the exercise, they have the right to stay back. Remind them that this is an experience based on trust and mutual experience. This exercise and the room it is being held in is considered a safe environment, and that all participants should remain silent throughout the process.

    6. Start this workshop with a few easy sentences to ask the group.

      1. If you are right-handed, please move one-step forward.

      2. If you are a female under 5-feet tall, please move one-step forward.

      3. If you are a male with a mustache, please move one-step forward.

    7. You can now begin the Privilege Walk Workshop with some more in-depth sentences.

      1. You can share statistics and statements about each sentence if you wish to enrich the conversation.

      2. Ask the participants who have moved forward or backward to wait until you are done sharing the statistics if they are being included.

      3. Ask the participants that have moved forward during the privilege walk to look side to side and see who is standing with them. It is important to be sensitive to the participants who did not necessarily move forward, as they may be embarrassed or upset.

      4. Ask the participants to move back to the middle of the room and stand along the line.

  3. Sentences to speak:


  1. Please take one-step back: If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA not by choice.

  2. Please take one-step forward: If your primary ethnic identity is American.

  3. Please take one-step back: If you were ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  4. Please take one-step forward: If there were people of color who worked in your household as servants, gardeners, etc.

  5. Please take one-step back: If you were ever ashamed or embarrassed of your clothes, house, car, etc.

  6. Please take one-step forward: If one or both of your parents has a college degree.

  7. Please take one-step back: If you were raised in an area, where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc.

  8. Please take one-step back: If you ever tried to change your appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to avoid being judged or ridiculed.

  9. Please take one-step forward: If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school.

  10. Please take one-step back: If you went to school speaking a language other than English.

  11. Please take one-step forward: if there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up.

  12. Please take one-step back: If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up.

  13. Please take one-step back: If one of your parents was unemployed or laid off, not by choice.

  14. Please take one-step forward: If you attended private school or summer camp.

  15. Please take one-step back: If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent.

  16. Please take one-step back: If you were ever discouraged from academics or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  17. Please take one-step forward: If you were encouraged to attend college by your parents.

  18. Please take one-step back: If you were raised in a single parent household.

  19. Please take one-step forward: If your family owned the house, where you grew up.

  20. Please take one-step forward: If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member.

  21. Please take one-step back: If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  22. Please take one-step back: If you were paid less, treated fairly because of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  23. Please take one-step back: If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  24. Please take one-step forward: If you ever inherited money or property.

  25. Please take one-step back: If you had to rely primarily on public transportation.

  26. Please take one-step back: If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  27. Please take one-step back: If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  28. Please take one-step back: If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation.

  29. Please take one-step back: If you were ever the victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  30. Please take one-step back: If your parents did not grow up in the United States.

  31. Please take one-step forward: If your parents told you could be anything, you wanted to be.
  1. Processing


    1. Ask participants to remain in their positions and to look at their position in relation to the line and the positions of the other participants.

    2. Ask participants to consider who among them would probably win the prize.

    3. Suggested questions for processing are:

      1. What happened?

      2. How did this exercise make you feel?

      3. What were your thoughts as you did this exercise?

      4. What have you learned from this experience?

      5. What can you do with this information in the future?

  2. Questions

    1. Start the question, answer session by going around the room, and have each student share one word that capture how they are feeling right now. If they do not want to share, have them say, “pass”.

    2. Would anyone like to share more about their feelings?

    3. How did it feel to be one of the students on the “back” side of the line?

    4. How did it feel to be one of the students on the “front” side of the line?

    5. If anyone was alone on one side, how did that feel?

    6. Was anyone always on one side of the line? If yes, how did that feel?

    7. Were there certain sentences that were more impactful than others?

Evaluation

Students: Please rate the following questions

  1. I learned more about myself in relation to the issue of privilege and race.

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    No Opinion

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

  2. The Privilege Walk Workshop challenged me.

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    No Opinion

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

  3. The Privilege Walk Workshop provided me with some insight about the different privileges people had growing up.

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    No Opinion

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

  4. I was comfortable sharing my opinion and experiences about privilege.

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    No Opinion

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

  5. The Privilege Walk Workshop helped me to realize the effects of privilege.

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    No Opinion

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

  6. I am not ashamed about the privileges I had or did not have growing up.

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    No Opinion

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

  7. I am more likely to appreciate the different types of privileges granted to me because of my experience in this exercise.

Strongly Agree

Agree

No Opinion

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

5

4

3

2

1

8. Additional Comments:

Annotated Bibliography

Chizhik, E.W. & Chizhik, A.W. (2002, November/December). Decoding the Language of Social Justice: What Do Privilege and Oppression Really Mean? Journal of College Student Development, 43(6), 792-808.

This article asked 65 mostly White and middle-class college students to share their interpretations of privilege and oppression. This article also touched on social justice disorders.

Klecker, B.M. (2003, September). Formative Classroom Assessment Using Cooperative Groups: Vygotsky and Random Assignment. The Journal of Instructional Psychology.

This article covers the five key points of learning and how we as learners can improve our experience.

Kuh, G.D., Douglas, K.B., Lund, J.B. & Ramin-Gyurmek, J. (1994). Student Learning Outside the Classroom: Transcending Artificial Boundaries. Washington DC: Clearing House of Higher Education.

Learning in higher education takes place in and out of the classroom. This article focuses on the various ways higher education institutions can enhance student learning outside of the classroom. It focuses on breaking down barriers between various institutional units and creating situations for the students where they can examine the connections between their studies and life outside of the classroom. This article also addresses how all faculty, staff, trustees, and fellow students can foster out-of-classroom learning.

Nixon, D., (2006). Explorations in privilege, oppression, and diversity. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 32(1), 127.

This book review explores privilege, oppression, and diversity and how it affects our everyday lives. It covers topics of White privilege, heterosexism, sexism, classism, and racism. It challenges all of it readers to evaluate their social consciousness.

Tatum, B.D., (2004). The Road to Racial Equality. Black Issues in Higher Education, 21(10) 34.

This article touches on racial equality, and how an African American woman by the name of Beverly Daniel Tatum overcomes all of the challenges of growing up when segregation was still happening in schools. She was born in 1954, four months after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Her father was denied admission to college because of his race. Tatum touches on the importance of affirmation of identity in college choice and it cannot be underestimated.



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