The other day we did an exercise demonstrating privilege. For most of the exercise I was able to predict most of the division of the class depending on the question. What I found interesting though was how no one exactly fit the “perfect” persona of privilege to the T, and yet many would consider themselves or other more privileged then others. Although I was not particularly shocked by any of the questions, amount of people who fit into certain categories, or touched by any of them I do think it was nice to see how many people think they are alone in so many of these things when in reality they are not. On that note it was also interesting to listen to people share afterwards because even though many were in the same group they all had different stories or reactions.
One of the times that I thought got me the most the feeling I got when walking or standing on the other side of the room with the rest of the people who hadn’t moved looking right back at me. Although I do not know most of my classmates I felt more comfortable being at the starting side of the room with the rest of the class. I felt like our starting point was my home and every time I left I was being watched not so much in a bad way but in a way where I just wanted to go back “home.”
Also, what we had talked about later and was the first questing was about gender; if we were a woman we needed to go to the other side of the room. During the exercise this question didn’t mean much to me but when we talked about it later I realized and began to remember things that had happened to me just for simply being a woman. Many times I have been and continue to be a victim of cat calls, cooing, ogling, and even sexual harassment, just because of my looks and gender. But just because I have experienced these things because of my gender does not mean I’ve ever felt underprivileged because of my gender.
All in all this exercise was interesting for me, and doing it showed me that most of the time we don’t realize how privileged or underprivileged we are. I personally have never really felt privileged or underprivileged, I just feel diverse. I know there are people a lot better off then me and there is a lot of people a lot worse off then me and I am mostly just happy to be where I am and happy to have what I do. I think that the way I feel about most things is unique and that is why I was not so surprised or impacted by this exercise.