Game Helps Teachers Tell Students To Identify Their Privilege

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David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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High school students were once encouraged to count their blessings; now they’re told to number their privileges.

Michigan students at a college preparation seminar had to list all the privileges they experienced in what might be called a game of blame. Predictably, according to one participant at the April event who only spoke about his experience this week, white students had the most privileges.

The College Fix reports that the Lake Michigan College briefing consisted of several components, some of which actually focused on education. One discussion period focused on the usual social justice agenda that has become part of the post-secondary academic curriculum: diversity, privilege and tolerance.

The high school administrators decided to play a “game” with the students, where the high schoolers read from a selection of paper slips that each detailed one or another “privileges” that might be relevant to them. As students related to this or that privilege, they collected the written descriptions until there were no more. When the game was over, the administrators asked the players to count up how many privileges they had identified.

As one description of privilege read: “I can be pretty sure that my neighbors will be neutral or pleasant to me wherever I choose to live.”

Others described alleged privileges such as noting people of the same race prominently displayed in the local newspaper or discussed how fat or thin students perceived themselves or if they had concerns about body odor.

A Saugatuck High School student at the conference remembered one of the slips of paper offering this declaration: “I do not have to worry while going through security.”

The student, who wished to remain anonymous, said in an interview with The College Fix that the “game” was “definitely calling out [white privilege] more” than it was any other kind of privilege.

When the fun was over, the white students had accumulated a fist-full of paper while the black and Latino kids were empty-handed.

Saugatuck High principal Tim Travis denied the exercise was meant “to call attention to white privilege in particular.” He described the purpose of the blame game as enabling students to understand their “identity,” “reflecting on their personal experiences,” and being “more prepared for an ever-diversified world.”

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