Published on Monday, 01 December 2014 00:00
Many times, we take things for granted without even realizing we are doing it. You are probably not aware of the number of privileges you have bestowed upon you, such is the nature of privilege. A lot of us are extremely privileged but don't realize it and still complain and whine about insignificant things. Privilege is a hard concept to understand even for adults, but one very brilliant high school teacher have found a wonderfully simple yet powerful way to accurately deliver the message about privilege and social mobility to his students.
A high school teacher decided to teach his students about privilege and social mobility through a very simple exercise. He passed around scraps of paper to his students and told them to crush it up into a ball.
Then he placed the recycling bin in front of the classroom.
“The game is simple — you all represent the country’s population. And everyone in the country has a chance to become wealthy and move into the upper class,” the teacher addressed the class.
“To move into the upper class, all you must do is throw your wadded-up paper into the bin while sitting in your seat.”
The students in the back of the room immediately started protesting, “This is unfair!” They could see the rows of students in front of them had a much better advantage.
Despite the gripes from the students from the back, the teacher still insisted on continuing with the exercise so all the students took aim and threw their wads of paper. As expected, most of the students in the front made the bin and only a few students in the back landed the shot.
He concluded by saying, “The closer you were to the recycling bin, the better your odds. This is what privilege looks like. Did you notice how the only ones who complained about fairness were in the back of the room?”
He then went on to say the most insightful thing ever; “By contrast, people in the front of the room were less likely to be aware of the privilege they were born into. All they can see is 10 feet between them and their goal.”
“Your job — as students who are receiving an education — is to be aware of your privilege. And use this particular privilege called “education” to do your best to achieve great things, all the while advocating for those in the rows behind you.”
Share this article with your family and friends so that they could learn a thing or two about privilege.