by Marsha Rakestraw
When I was in school, we never talked about privilege.
I think the first time it was addressed in a class was my studies in humane education — after 2.5 bachelor’s degrees and a graduate degree. Even after being a classroom teacher myself.
Since I hadn’t been taught to discuss or explore issues of privilege, it never occurred to me to do so in my first years as an educator.
While privilege is more prominent in the news headlines (including backlash insisting privilege doesn’t really exist), it rarely gets more than cursory attention in our schools. But privilege is integral to how our society views and treats others, as well as to the systems we construct and whom those systems favor.
It’s important to explore privilege in age-appropriate ways and to focus on how we all can use whatever privilege we have to help others.
Here are four short videos to help introduce issues of privilege.
1. “Students Learn a Powerful Lesson About Privilege” (1:45 min)
An animation of a teacher’s icebreaker introducing students to privilege with balls of paper and a recycle bin.
2. “What Is Privilege?” (3:59 min)
BuzzFeed recreates a brief version of the Privilege Walk, which asks people to step forward or backward, depending on how they identify with the statements given. Participants are asked what they think privilege is, and then give their reactions to the activity after they’ve done it.
3. “Check Your Privilege” (3:25 min)
Using humor, YouTuber Anna Akana explores the concept of checking our privilege, being aware of how privilege influences us, and highlights some of her own privilege. (Note: Contains profanity.)
4. “Why Does Privilege Make People So Angry?” (4:09 min)
Franchesca Ramsey of MTV’s Decoded defines privilege and then discusses some of the reasons people become angry when issues of privilege are raised. She also highlights how conversations about privilege are “tough but necessary.”
Find more resources in our Privilege Pinterest board to further explore privilege.