Exploration 1: Examining privilegeIn this assignment you will explore the phenomenon of structural privilege by observing and reflecting on how it works in your own life and the lives of those around you. To get an idea of the many forms of privilege (including those you yourself do and donât enjoy), itâs highly recommended that you start by taking Buzzfeedâs popular privilege quiz (URL below). The quiz has some problems, and it doesnât capture every form of privilege (see the link to a thoughtful critique below), but it can be very eye-opening.Buzzfeed privilege quiz: https://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/how-privileged-are-you?âThe Flaws in Literally Checking Your Privilegeâ:https://crippledscholar.com/2016/06/22/the-flaws-in-literally-checking-your-privilege/ObservationDuring the next week, you will:(1) observe how someone else claims and/or enacts privilege in everyday life(2) observe and reflect on how you yourself claim and/or enact privilege in everyday lifeFor the first part of your observation, you may focus on anyone who claims and/or enacts privilege as long as you are physically present (for this assignment, you should not focus on media discourse or online discourse). You do not need to know the person/people involved, and it can take place in any setting (a classroom, a workplace, a club or organization, a peer group, on the street, in a place of business, etc.). Your observation and reflection can focus on a brief moment or a longer episode, or on an ongoing or repeated claiming/enacting of privilege, as long as you observe at least part of this phenomenon this week. However, you must focus on specific instances, not vague generalizations. If you recognize the act of privilege at the time it happens, you may choose to (discreetly) take notes at the time of your observation, or you may only identify what happened after reflecting on it after the fact. The purpose of this assignment is to examine how privilege works, not to publicly shame people (since everyone in the United States has and exercises some form of privilege), so you should not use real names or other information specific enough to identify the individuals involved.Privilege can be based on any parameter of inequality: race, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, gender, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic class, education, language, age, âdisability,â etc. Often more than one of these categories is enlisted to support a claim of privilege.NOTE: For our purposes, âclaimingâ privilege means to assert oneâs privileged status in some way, whether or not that status is recognized by others. âEnactingâ privilege means to assert oneâs privileged status in a situation in which the claim to privilege is upheld by at least some others, so that the claim is successful in allowing the person to maintain their privilege. Bothclaiming and enacting privilege can happen either explicitly/directly (through overt expression or acting out of oneâs privileged status) or (more often) implicitly/indirectly.WriteupSubmit a discussion of approximately 2 double-spaced pages (500 words) reporting the results of your observation and reflection. Weâre less concerned with length than with quality. A strong analysis will offer specific observational and self-reflection details in support of your discussion and will connect up with relevant course readings, lectures, and/or discussions. Your analysis should represent both your own situation and that of the person (or persons) you observe fairly but critically: that is, donât only express your opinion, but provide a reasoned argument supported by the facts you observed, knowledge and concepts from the course lectures and reading, and your personal experience, feelings, and reactions and/or the experiences of other people.Your discussion should address the following issues for each of the two instances of claiming/enacting privilege that you examined (write your responses in prose paragraphs, not in list format):Describe the context: Where did it occur? Who was the person (or persons) claiming/enacting privilege? Who else was present? What was going on at the time? What did the person/persons in question do and/or say? How did others in the setting (including you) respond? (Keep in mind that silence is also a response.)Analyze the act of privilege: What was the basis of the act of privilege (see the parameters of inequality above as a starting point). What characteristics of privilege discussed in lecture are evident in each instance? How did issues of language, power, and learning come into play in each example? (Itâs okay if you donât see any connection to learning, but keep in mind that learning can be involved in any situation.)Compare and contrast the two instances: What similarities and differences do you notice? How does the experience of examining your own act of privilege relate to the experience of examining another personâs act of privilege?How do your observations and reflections connect up with the class lectures, discussions, and readings?Youâre also welcome to comment on the Buzzfeed quiz, if you have thoughts about it.
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