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Privilege

February 20, 2008 pm29 10:07 pm
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I found this on Jose Vilson’s blog. From: What Privileges Do You Have? - based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. (If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.)

I was shocked at how many I highlighted. I don’t think of myself as having had a privileged upbringing.

1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college. (and grad school)
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college. (to become a teacher, never did though)
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children’s books by a parent.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 assuming that sport counts.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 assuming that sport counts.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp (3 years)
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. (nothing resort-y)
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child. (2 paintings my mother loved, and then some great stuff by a cousin)
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16. (Miami Beach, to visit grandparents, and one trip to Disney Land)
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

A lot of the $$ related ones don’t apply, but lots of the other “rich cultural environment” do. Privileged upper middle class? Not how I think of it, but certainly how it looks based on this survey.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2008 pm29 11:04 pm 11:04 pm

    It’s like I said in my comments; while I don’t think that this is a complete and definitive list, you can see some of the indicators of what it means to be privileged in this country based on this list. It doesn’t make you a snob or a prick because you can highlight a ton of these. It just means that you have these things. It’s a reflection / discussion piece and not much more as far as I’m concerned. It’s still valid, though, because these are some of the themes we see in those who we consider privileged in this country.

    p.s. – I wrote a math post.

  2. February 21, 2008 am29 8:42 am 8:42 am

    Thanks, I see the post.

    And I appreciate the comments. The whole exercise made me think, which is clearly part of the idea.

  3. Rachel permalink
    February 21, 2008 am29 11:17 am 11:17 am

    I’m plagarizing myself here, since I made this comment on another blog…

    My sense is that this list weighs education fairly heavily compared to material things — but that may be an accurate reflection of the things a kid needs in childhood to graduate high school with a sense that all of life’s possibilities were open to him/her — and in someways that is a true privilege.

  4. February 22, 2008 am29 6:55 am 6:55 am

    Definitely a valid point. This post appears to be relevant.

  5. ms. v permalink
    February 23, 2008 am29 9:53 am 9:53 am

    Our lists are similar… but I’m wondering why you didn’t highlight #12? What was your reasoning? Because I thought of myself as a middle class, white female, and people who look like me are generally portrayed positively in the media. When I think of you as a middle class, white male, I’d say the same… so I wonder what you were thinking about in not highlighting that one?

    Native language is left completely out of this list.

  6. February 23, 2008 pm29 12:32 pm 12:32 pm

    #12 is people who dress and talk like me, that sort of catches native language, no?

    I think you are saying something nice, thank you (-:
    but we may look at me a bit differently (self-perception) +
    we grew up in slightly different places and a bit over half a generation apart.

    My sense was I knew 1) who was portrayed positively, and 2) who was portrayed negatively, and that I looked more like the former than the latter, but didn’t really fall into either group.

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