​Students had an opportunity to participate in a Privilege Walk, a Buzzfeed inspired activity, to discuss the concept of privilege. The event was held by the Office of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs in the Lower Level of the Barone Campus Center on Wednesday, Feb. 1 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The walk was organized by Diversity & Multicultural Affairs Program Coordinator Marisabel Santiago and Kelly Villacres ‘17.
​Around 10 students attended the event and began the walk by standing together in a line. They were given 35 statements, or “privileges,” that included themes of race, gender and wealth. Students were asked to respond to the questions by stepping either forward or backward if they agreed. These included statements such as, “If you had more than 20 books growing up, step forward,” or “If you ever felt the need to change your behavior or speech in public, step back.” At the end of the walk, students were asked to look at where they and others stood.
Students discussed their privilege, what it meant to them and how they were made aware of other participants’ privileges.
During the discussion, Santiago urged participants to speak up and share their thoughts. Many students opened up about how they hadn’t thought of certain luxuries as privileges and taking for granted their position. Senior Riley Barrett said, “I never would have thought of having books in my house as some form of privilege, it isn’t something you immediately think of as a luxury.”
After one student recounted how they felt the need to give back to their community in the form of donating books, Santiago responded, “It’s important to realize who you are and what you can do with your own privilege to better someone else’s life.”
Junior Monet Monterosso believed the exercise stressed that everyone has privilege and those with more privilege have a chance to speak up for others. She said, “When people can take steps forward because of their privilege, they can’t see who is behind them.”
Villacres was inspired by a Buzzfeed video detailing privilege, finding it very revealing. Following the “ghetto party” held off-campus last year and issues brought up about race and class during the presidential campaign, Villacres thought students should have an opportunity to explore their own identity and reflect. She believes it is important for events like these to be held to start a dialogue about privilege. Villacres said, “It’s really important for people to have hard conversations like these in order to find common ground and understanding, we just need to talk about it in the right way.”
Villacres said, “These are issues that should be talked about, but in the right way.”
Some students like ​Domonique Jackson ‘18 agreed, saying, “It was a fantastic event overall, because it really highlighted different privileges we all have, which is important in the political climate we live in today.”

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.