Some in this country deny the existence of privilege based on race or class.  This baffles me.  If they would befriend even one poor minority, their minds might be changed.  Anywho…

Thanks to Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University for developing the following exercise on race and class.  Feel free to share your results in the comments section or your own blog.  Eye-opening indeed.

(If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.)

Directions: Bold the statements that apply to you.

1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college.
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college.
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher social 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.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.
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.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. (occasionally — usually we were visiting relatives)
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (most but not all).
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parents 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.
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.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Daniel Gray on June 5, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Excellent post Steve. I think most of the same ones apply to me (plus and minus a couple). Amazing how many things I didn’t earn myself but were given to me because of my parents’ position…


  2. Posted by anon on June 13, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I see class, but where’s race in here??


  3. I certainly don’t deny class- and race-based privilege. And I have and have had friends who were of different classes and races than my childhood household, but then again, the friends I had during that time were Japanese, Sudanese, Iraqi, Irani, Bagladeshi, Indian, and African-American. Sometimes they were poor, but usually not too poor. The poorest friends I had were actually white. I didn’t grow up in a very urban environment and, in fact, it was a college town, Stillwater, OK.

    I think, though, that it’s time to look at “privilege” differently. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor”. Aren’t they privileged?

    And I’ve been in the poorest of homes and thought, “Don’t they have something of great value here that I’m missing?” They have resources that I don’t have.

    When I hear people say, “God helps those who help themselves,” I think the arrogance should be corrected. But there’s also truth in the idea, “He who can be trusted with little will be trusted with much.”

    I like stories of people like “The Pursuit of Happyness” and the widow in 2 Kings 4. The widow had the resources she needed right there in her home; she just needed Elisha to bring encouragement and a little guidance and . . . she didn’t earn privilege, did she? But she found it by faith. There seems to be some value in that thought–the possibility that someone underprivileged can by faith pass on privilege to their children.


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