Monday, November 24, 2014

If you could see privilege...

...what would it look like?

For some reason, that is a question which my Facebook news feed has answered twice over the past week. The timing is particularly eerie as I am helping with a video project on exploring the topic of diversity at Burning Man, and privilege being one of the issues and topics that comes up.

Regardless, I wanted to share several examples in order of increasing effectiveness for me.

The first one is one that actually came up when I google'd "cartoon privilege" for one more example to round out the other two.


The only problem is that as it's oversimplified history and groups of people into a single interaction between two people, the challenge is how to have an engaging dialogue about a multifaceted and complex issue, which leads to definitive actions with measurable outcomes.

By the way, if anyone knows the artist of the cartoon above, please let me know? The image is used so much that trying to google its creator was not yielding any results.

This next comic, while a bit better, still has an illogical statement. I don't want to repost it without permission, but you can see the cartoon with some context at Everyday Feminism.

My problem is the supposed conclusion of the exchange is with the "white male" pointing out his own burden, and it seemingly the conclusion that there's no way for the others to convince him of the fact that their own backpacks are considerably bigger, by virtue of the fact that he doesn't even notice the difference himself; the mere presence of his own backpack to bear is enough.

And this leads me to the third visualization...less of a cartoon, and more of an exercise. This one, I have to thank Buzzfeed for, "This Teacher Taught His Class A Powerful Lesson About Privilege".

The gist of it is that everyone sitting in a class can move up from their own class if they get a crumpled piece of paper into a bin at the front.


Human nature unfortunately leaves us relatively aware of our backspace, much less anything behind it. So folks from the front of the class, while they have their own challenge to make the shot, don't realize much less think about how much more difficult it is for those farther and farther back to do the same. But it is painfully obvious for those towards the back and especially those in the back of the advantage others have and their own disadvantage.

You can read about the exercise more in depth Buzzfeed. But what I appreciate about that exercise is that while physically demonstrating the challenge of working with different privilege, it also illustrates the challenge of having a conversation about it as everyone isn't coming to the table from the same perspective.

Anyway, just wanted to share. Are there any favorite visualizations, from comics to exercise, that you think have helped you and others understand and talk about privilege?

Please share in the comments,

JR
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