Exploring Privilege

This resource page was developed by the Exploring Privilege Special Task Group (STG) as part of Tania Israel’s 2010-2011 Presidential Initiative.  STG members  included: Rebecca Toporek, Daniel Walinsky, Anneliese Singh, Janie Pinterits, Will Liu, Lisa Spanierman, Matt Englar-Carlson, Pam Foley, and Lew Schlosser.

What do we mean by privilege?

The STG developed the following definition to articulate a common understanding of privilege for the purposes of the presidential initiative on exploring privilege:

Privilege is comprised of unearned advantages that are conferred on individuals based on membership in a dominant group or assumed membership. Privilege has the following characteristics:

  • Privilege reflects, reifies and supports dominant power structures.
  • Privilege is supported structurally and systemically, including an investment in maintaining a lack of consciousness about the benefits and costs resulting from that privilege.
  • Privilege is enacted through societal structures, systems, and daily interactions.
  • A single individual may experience intersecting privileges and oppressions which may reflect differential receipt of benefits.

 Thoughts About Privilege:

 “*%&* you for wanting to talk about homophobia while exploiting the desperation of undocumented immigrants to clean your hallways, bathe your children and cook your dinner for less than you and I spend on our tax deductible lunch!” (from Stacyann Chin’s speech at the Gay Games VII)

“Even if people from dominant groups are aware of their social status, they don’t feel privileged or powerful. Most people are struggling to live their lives. They worry about their jobs, their families, their health. They personally don’t have access to great amounts of resources or make decisions that affect the nation. More people feel controlled, rather than in control.” (Goodman, 2001, p. 33)

“Resistance stems from fear and discomfort. Because we are asking people to question their fundamental belief systems, it makes sense that people feel threatened and act resistant.” (Goodman, 2001, p. 63)

“When it comes to privilege, it doesn’t really matter who we really are. What matters is who other people think we are, which is to say, the social categories they put us in.”(Johnson, 2001, p. 35)

“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”  Aboriginal Activists Group

“Like many other Maori undergraduate students who attended university in the 1970s I read some texts for my formal course of study and another set of alternative readings to keep sane, to keep connected to the rest of my life and, more importantly, to make sense of things that were happening around me. Much of that alternative reading course is now collected in anthologies labelled as cultural studies.” (Linda Tuhiwai Smith).

Resources

Books, articles, and journals:

  • Adams, M., Bell, M., & Griffin, P. (2007). Teaching for diversity and social justice(2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Ancis, J. R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2001). Awareness of white privilege among white counseling trainees. The Counseling Psychologist, 29(4), 548-569.
  • Anderson, S. K.  & Middleton, V. A.  (Eds.) (2005). Explorations in privilege, oppression, and diversity. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  • Black, L. L., & Stone, D. (2005). Expanding the definition of privilege: The concept of social privilege. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 33(4), 243-255.
  • Black, L. L., Stone, D. A., Hutchinson, S. R., & Suarez, E. C. (2007). The development and validation of the social privilege measure. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 40(1), 16-32.
  • Butler, Judith. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.
  • Castricano, J. (2002). A modem of one’s own: The subject of cyberfeminism. Rhizomes. Retrieved from http://www.rhizomes.net/issue4/castricano.html
  • Croteau, J. M., Talbot, D. M., Lance, T. S., & Evans, N. J. (2002). A qualitative study of the interplay between privilege and oppression. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 30(4), 239-258.
  • Dressel, Kerr & Stevens (2010). Developing competency with White identity and privilege. In Cornish, Schrier, Nadkarni, Metzger and Rodolfa (Eds.), The Handbook of  Multicultural Counseling Competencies, Wiley.
  • Ferguson, S. A., & King, T. C. (1997). There but for the grace of god: Two black women therapists explore privilege. Women & Therapy, 20(1), 5-14.
  • Hays, D. G., & Chang, C. Y. (2003). White privilege, oppression, and racial identity development: Implications for supervision. Counselor Education and Supervision, 43(2), 134-145.
  • Hays, D. G., Chang, C. Y., & Dean, J. K. (2004). White counselors’ conceptualization of privilege and oppression: Implications for counselor training.Counselor Education and Supervision, 43(4), 242-257.
  • Hays, D. G., Chang, C. Y., & Decker, S. L. (2007). Initial development and psychometric data for the privilege and oppression inventory. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 40(2), 66-79.
  • Johnson, A. G. (2001) Power, privilege and difference. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing.
  • Kaufman, G. (1992). The mysterious disappearance of battered women in family therapists’ offices: Male privilege colluding with male violence. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 18(3), 233-243.
  • Kincheloe, J. L. & McLaren, P. (2005).  Rethinking critical theory and qualitative research.  In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.) The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Lapour, A. S., & Heppner, M. J. (2009). Social class privilege and adolescent women’s perceived career options. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(4), 477-494.
  • LeBlanc, S., Wilson, K. B., & Juchau, K. (2008). White privilege: A primer for the vocational rehabilitation counselor. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 39(3), 10-18.
  • Lechuga, V. M., Clerc, L. N., & Howell, A. K. (2009). Power, privilege, and learning: Facilitating encountered situations to promote social justice. Journal of College Student Development, 50(2), 229-244.
  • Liu, W.M., Pickett, T., Jr., & Ivey, A.E.  (2007). White Middle-Class privilege: Social class bias and implications for training and practice.  Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 35, 194-206.
  • McIntosh, P. (1998). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In M. McGoldrick (Ed.), Re-visioning family therapy: Race, culture, and gender in clinical practice (pp. 147-152), New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.
  • Messner, M. A. (2000). White guy habitus in the classroom: Challenging the reproduction of privilege. Men and Masculinities, 2(4), 457-468.
  • Parker, L. (2009). Disrupting power and privilege in couples therapy. Clinical Social Work Journal, 37(3), 248-255.
  • Pewewardy, N. (2004). The political is personal: The essential obligation of white feminist family therapists to deconstruct white privilege. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy: An International Forum, 16(1), 53-67.
  • Pinterits, E. J., Poteat, V. P., & Spanierman, L. B. (2009). The white privilege attitudes scale: Development and initial validation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(3), 417-429.
  • Rains, F. V. (1998). Is the benign really harmless?: Deconstructing some “benign” manifestations of operationalized white privilege. In J. L. Kincheloe, S. R. Steinberg, N. M. Rodriguez, & R. E. Chennault (Eds.) White reign, pp. 77-101. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Raheim, S.,  White, C., Denborough, D., Waldegrave, C., Tamasese, K., Tuhaka, F., Frankline, A, Fox, H., & Carey, M. (unknown date). An invitation to narrative practitioners to address privilege and dominance. International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work. Retrieved from Sept 15, 2009 from http://www.dulwichcentre.com.au/privilege.html
  • Schlosser, L. Z. (2003). Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 31(1), 44-51.
  • Simoni, J. M., & Walters, K. L. (2001). Heterosexual identity and heterosexism: Recognizing privilege to reduce prejudice. Journal of Homosexuality, 41(1), 157-172.
  • Stark-Rose, R. M., Lokken, J. M., & Zarghami, F. (2009). Increasing awareness of group privilege with college students. College Student Journal, 43(2), 537-546.
  • Watkins, M. & Shulman, H. (2008). From bystanding toward engaged witness. In M. Watkins & H. Shulman, Toward Psychologies of Liberation (pp. 64-84), New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Watt, S. K. (2007). Difficult Dialogues, Privilege and social justice: Uses of the Privileged Identity Exploration (PIE) Model in student affairs practice, Special Issue on Difficult Dialogues, College Student Affairs Journal26(2), 114-125.
  • Wildman, S. M. & Davis, A. D. (1996). Making systems of privilege visible. In S. M. Wildman  Privilege revealed: How invisible preference undermines America (pp. 7-24)New York, NY: New York University Press.
  • Wise, T. (2008). White like me: Reflections on race from a privileged son. Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press.

Websites:

 

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