Monday, January 21, 2008

How Privileged Are You?

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.

Bold the true statements.

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 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.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.

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 [kid's work is original!]

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.

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.

An interesting exercise, coming right on the heels of a week of preparation for the sermon on classism that is posted below.


Earthbound Spirit said...

Interesting. My Christian ethics class participated in a similar exercise last year - but the statements were a little different. It was called "level playing field," or something like that. We all started in the middle of a long hallway - as we took steps forward or back in response to statements the class started spreading out. I ended up at the back of the hall with a cluster of African-American men, who were curious as to how I (white, seemingly middle-class) ended up with them. They were amazed that I had parents who hadn't finished high school, much less college (just one reason I wasn't farther "ahead"). It generated an interesting discussion. Very educational for all of us!

Joel said...

You wouldn't consider Moody a college?

ms. kitty said...

No, at that time at least, Moody wasn't a college, it was strictly a Bible School.

faded said...

I am somewhat bothered by this. There are two unspoken assumptions in this exercise.

1. Privilege gets you "ahead" or gives you an advantage in life.

2. That people having that advantage is "unfair" in some way to those who do not.

There may be some truth that privilege gives you an advantage for the first five years or so out of school. At some point the young adult needs to start performing for themselves. The advantage fades away. If they do not have the talent and are lazy, the privilege or advantage counts for nothing. Generally privilege tends to make people lazy and spoiled.

The great thing about our society is equal opportunity. If the person has the talent and the desire to work hard, they have a good chance of making good. They can earn their chance to bestow privilege and advantages in their children.

The most offensive people I have met are the folks who have a sense of entitlement. They believe that a wealthy child hood give them a special “right” to things they do not deserve.

A small note on my background, you would have to make every statement in the post bold then add a few the author never thought of.

In the final measure, wealth and an affluent upbringing mean nothing and sometimes mean less than nothing. It always about hard work, character, virtue and service to your fellow man.

Terri Dennehy Pahucki said...

This is an interesting survey. My husband and I took it. We all consider ourselves to have had similar upbringings in regards to class/economics--but I scored 15, while they only scored 5 out of 34. Nearly all my points were scored in the area of education (i.e. dad's college, books, lessons & private school(catholic, via scholarship)) And yet--
when I first saw the way my husband grew up, I was jealous--he had a privilege I never had: NATURE. He had woods and open fields and mountains. I had stifling city blocks. He didn't get piano lessons ; he got time learning to fish with his dad. And today? I haven't played piano in years...he still fishes with his dad several times a year.
Well, I know it's just one survey...but it makes me wonder: which of us was more privileged?