Privilege: Do you own some?

Our next class will be held in Catmints Cafe,on Sunday Sep 6, 3:00pm.
Address: Catmints Cafe Roosevelt Road, Sec. 2, Lane 101, No. 9 (02)8369-1271 MRT Kuting Station, exit 3..?

The moderator will be Stacy.

The following are the questions we are going to discuss in our next meeting. There are some quotes from the article. You can find the article from the links after the quotes. You don't need to read the whole article if you don't have time or if you don't want to.

1. Here is a test to see if you enjoy privilege.

2. What privilege do you think you have from belonging to a certain group in society?

3. Do you think having privilege is an inequality in a society? If yes, do we need to get rid of all kinds of privilege in order to have equality in our society?

Here are some quotes from the articles linked to save you time from reading it all.

My partner and I decided that if we’re going to raise a white child we want to pay attention to how she becomes white and how she is white. It’s the same thing as paying attention to the fact that she is a girl, that she likes to dance but isn’t so into playing soccer, that she gets shy in front of lots of people she doesn’t know. Each of these things is about her, and each is about the world around her.
Paying attention to how our child becomes white is about a lot of things: and we already know that we don’t know half of them. Sometimes it means paying attention to all of the ways in which being white gives her a kind of “get out of jail free” card, a kind of free pass into better jobs, more income, and less stress and struggle. It means watching and learning from what happens when she pops out of me, all instinct for survival and connection to mama, and starts to grow a personality and set of understandings about herself and the world. It means learning what there is to be proud of, to celebrate, about who she is in the world as a white person.

From “White Noise”




The minute we are born, we are surrounded by information. Some of it is directly pointed out for us by the adults in our lives. Most of it goes completely unnoticed by all of us, children and adults alike. Making whiteness visible means seeking to notice the presence of whiteness in every aspect of our lives. How do we do this? We practice everyday. What does that mean? Well, one example is when we walk into a store or into a restaurant or down a neighborhood street, we ask: “Who is here?” and then we notice. Once we notice who is here, we began to intentionally wonder about why they are here. And then to notice who isn’t here. And to wonder the same thing.
A story for explanation: we are out running errands and we all get hungry. We stop by a coffee shop. Right away, Luca notices, “There are only white people in here.” Raquel and I both look around and see that she is right. So then we ask, “Why might there be only white people in here?” We notice that the coffee shop is in a predominantly white upper-middle-class neighborhood. So we assume that drop-in traffic is going to be mostly local. We wonder if people of color might not come by this coffee shop or this neighborhood because it might not be comfortable or because they wouldn’t feel welcome or reflected back by the staff or other customers. We next wonder if there are people of color who would even be interested in this coffee shop – maybe the culture of this coffee shop is one that mostly white people are attracted to and so some folks of color are choosing to not come here, or to instead go somewhere that will better reflect their experiences. Then we talk about what it is like for us to be in this coffee shop – noticing that when we are white and we fit in with the other white people, we barely even notice that we are white. We talk about how there are different kinds of white people, but even though there are different kinds, we don’t really need to think about race when we are among all white people. This is important. We notice that we don’t need to think about or even notice race when we are around other white people.
Making whiteness visible means noticing the books we read, the movies or television shows we watch, the people in our families and neighborhoods, and the rhythm of everyday life. It’s a practice for white people, just like meditation or parenting is a practice. If we don’t do it constantly, we don’t notice.

From “White Noise”


As I wrote above, some responses to Raffo's piece were disheartening, but I was not surprised by them. Privilege is hard for people to embrace. No one wants to admit to having some unfair advantage. In this country of up-by-your-bootstraps, everyone wants to believe that they owe their achievements to their personal efforts alone. It feels far better to think I graduated near the top of my high school class just because I was so much more smart and talented and awesome than my classmates or the many students across the country who failed to graduate. But my considerable efforts are only part of the equation. I know this. Recognizing educational privilege is easy for most everyone. .... Talking about racial privilege, though, makes people uncomfortable. They equate having white privilege with being racist. They think possessing white privilege makes one a bad person. They think white people are required to feel guilty about the past or turn away from opportunities. None of these things are true.
Confronting one's privilege, whatever sort of privilege it is, means simply this:
- Acknowleging that a quality you possess offers an advantage over others. (That quality is often unearned like race, gender, sexuality, etc., rendering the advantage unfair)
- Recognizing the unique opportunities and successes that your privilege has afforded you
- Exploring how the less privileged are marginalized
- Working to mitigate the marginalization of the less privileged where you can
Confronting privilege is an ongoing exercise, requiring learning, self-reflection and empathy. It is a struggle to be vigilant against something that we are often completely blind to. But isn't the struggle worth it? How much better would the world be--how much more equal-- if we all dropped our defensiveness and confronted our privilege?

From “What Tami Said


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