Note to Facilitator
This variation is a lower-risk activity compared to Variation 1. Please see the Variation 1 to see its benefits and risks to determine which variation is more suitable to your participants. Yet, this activity is not a no-risk activity. In this variation, participants cannot identify who is more privileged or marginalized than others in the room as they can in Variation 1. Nonetheless, they can see where they are positioned in the spectrum of privilege and lack thereof in comparison to other participants. Especially if this is the first time for them to think about their privilege or lack thereof in society, the realization of their social position in relation to others may trigger strong emotional reactions, such as shame, guilt, anger, and denial. It is important to allow enough time for them to process their feelings so that they can reflect on their social position and their relationship with others in a critical and productive way. To do so, you may assign some of the discussion questions provided below (See #2 in Discussion) to participants as part of homework.
- Social Identity Worksheet (Appendix 2) – Optional (If participants are unfamiliar with the concepts of privilege and marginalization or have limited or no experience with exploring their social identities.)
- Privilege Walk Worksheet (Appendix 3)
- Ask participants to write anonymously, on a small sticky note, their score from the privilege walk worksheet and turn it in to you.
- Put participants’ scores on a continuum to show the distribution of the scores. (Note: The highest possible score is 6, and the lowest possible score is -11).
- Before sharing participants’ scores, explain:
- What to expect from this exercise – I will share the distribution of your scores from the privilege walk worksheet anonymously. We will see that we hold different levels of privilege. Regardless of how privileged or underprivileged you are compared to others, you may find the experience very uncomfortable, and it may trigger challenging feelings, such as shame, guilt, anger, and denial.
- Limitations of the exercise – As you might have noticed as working through the worksheet, all aspects of your identity and their intricate intersectionality might not have been fully addressed in the worksheet. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the result of this exercise is not complete and absolute. There is likely to be a lot more complexity to your score and how the score is positioned in relation to others’ scores.
- The purpose of the exercise – The reason why I will share our scores despite these challenges and limitations is for us to understand how we are positioned in a social structure and to reflect on how different aspects of our social identity shape our everyday experience, including our relationship with one another. We are born and socialized into the social structure, and we tend to see the structure and our relationships in it as “normal.” However uncomfortable it may be, uncovering the structure and the social positions that we occupy in it in a tangible and personal way is a necessary learning process in order for us to engage with critical and productive analysis and reflection.
- Show the distribution of the participants’ scores and discuss in a group:
- What do you see?
- What does the distribution of our scores tell us about our society?
- How does this inform who is in the room and who is not?
- What are your thoughts and feelings?
- How did you feel responding to the statements or calculating your scores on the worksheet?
- How do you feel about where your score is relative to other people?
- Which of the statements did you find surprising or unexpected? Why?
- Which of the statements made you feel uncomfortable or hurt? Why?
- Which of the statements made you felt unsure whether it applies to you or not? Why?
- What would you add to the list of the statements, or which of the statements would you phrase differently?
- How did this exercise inform your social position and experience?
- How has your social position (i.e., your privileged or marginalized position in society based on your social group membership) affected you, your family, and your community, in terms of opportunity and access?
- What does your position in the room say about societal messages about your worth and the worth of people with similar privilege levels?
- How have your privileges and under-privileges been shaped by history?
- Which of the privileges did you inherit from your family? For inherited privileges, how far does the privilege go back in your family tree?
- How might your privileges or under-privileges today have been different if anything in the history had been different? What could have been different?
- How does this exercise make you think differently about your own identities, daily experience, or relationships with other people?
- Reflecting back on this activity and new perspectives you may have gained, is there anything you might consider acting upon or doing differently from now on?
- How does this exercise make you think about your social responsibility? How might you engage in the responsibility individually or collectively?
- What do you see?