“We slaughter one another in our words and attitudes. We slaughter one another in the stereotypes and mistrust that linger in our heads, and the words of hate we spew from our lips.”
Privilege is the unearned social, political, economic, and psychological benefits of membership in a group that has institutional and structural power (YWCA). There are many types of privilege that different groups have in the U.S. We commonly hear about privilege because of race or gender, but privilege also exists for different groups based on religion, sexuality, ability, class, and education level. Having privilege can give you advantages in life, but having privilege is not a guarantee of success.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…
“Americans don’t see me, or Ahmaud Arbery, running down the road—they see their fear.” written by Ibram X Kendi, Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. This piece articulates the relationship between Black people and American perceptions of them.
Watch this short, powerful Buzzfeed video titled What Is Privilege featuring a privilege walk. See how privilege shows up differently for this group of co-workers. (3:59)
Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” Anti-Racism Exercise | The Oprah Winfrey Show. In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice. Watch as the audience, totally unaware that an exercise is underway, gets separated into two groups based on the color of their eyes. The blue-eyes group was discriminated against while the people with brown eyes were treated with respect. Jane says she first started this exercise in her third-grade class back in 1968, the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Take this eye-opening privilege self-assessment by Buzzfeed to discover where you are on the spectrum.
NEXT TOPIC: CULTURAL COMPETENCE
Artist: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion
Title: Absent Matter (Excerpts)
Date of piece: 2015
ABSENT MATTER (2015), explores the perceived posthumous grandeur of death and violence in urban communities throughout the US through sound and movement, tracing the racial epithets in songs of Grief, Love, and Death by artists ranging from Notorious B.I.G and Tupac to contemporary rap artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake. The work explores hip-hop’s lineage to create an abstracted dialogue about race in America through the lens of those who feel unacknowledged or without value. (ABSENT MATTER was performed in full at the Des Moines Civic Center in 2017, as part of The Dance Series presented by Des Moines Performing Arts.)
“Dancer/choreographer Kyle Abraham often centers difficult themes of racism and identity in his work. As you watch, think about why the artist chose to title this piece ‘Absent Matter’. What does it mean to be absent? Whom or what is this dance suggesting is absent in our society?”