Privilege Walk


If one of your parents was ever laid off or unemployed not by choice take one step backward



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If one of your parents was ever laid off or unemployed not by choice take one step backward.

Discussion

Discussion questions are a deeper dive into the results of the privilege walk so that an individual can understand what advantages they may have had in their lives and it’s impact to their success or disadvantage.

The intention is not to make a person feel isolated, targeted or singled out but to allow an opportunity for personal growth and empathy for others.

When all the statements have been read process the activity with discussion questions such as these: 

  • a. 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”. 
  • b. Would anyone like to share more about their feelings? 
  • c. How did it feel to be one of the students on the “back” side of the line? 
  • d. How did it feel to be one of the students on the “front” side of the line? 
  • e. Did anyone think they had experienced an average amount of privilege, but it turned out to be more or less than they thought? 
  • f. If anyone was alone on one side, how did that feel? 
  • g. Was anyone always on one side of the line? If yes, how did that feel? 
  • h. Were there certain sentences that were more impactful than others? 
  • The Privilege Walk Exercise - Dolores Huerta Foundation

What good is a privilege walk activity if participants aren’t engaging in perspective shifting?

A valid and significant criticism of a Privilege Walk is the punitive perception of the questions asked but we must encourage participants to be open-minded and reflective on themselves in order to identify what privilege they enjoy and the compassion and empathy to see that others do not. It is not to introduce feelings of guilt. But through self-reflection one can comprehend how others may not have the same privileges.

Privilege is, by nature, insidious and invisible. As author David Foster Wallace notes, “The most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about.” Gaining awareness of unexamined privilege necessitates a deep shift, one that takes place below the level of intellectual learning. 


For it to work, participants with privilege must become ready to reinvent their perspectives. Neuroscience calls this skill neuroplasticity: the brain’s innate ability to structurally and functionally change with new experiences. How will YOU alter your perspective if you identify your own privilege?
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