Discussion: Increasing Awareness of Privileges and Inequities

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When you studied the nature of institutional discrimination, you also examined the meaning of the terms privilege and oppression. The authors of the course text, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, comment that privileged people might not even be aware of their privileges but instead, perceive them as "normal."

This assignment offers you the opportunity to increase your understanding of institutional "isms", to learn more about their effects, and to reflect on ways in which you may have internalized privilege/oppression. In preparation for the Discussion,

Take time to review and consider:

  • In the course text, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves:
    • The sections "Internalized privilege and internalized oppression" (pp. 25–27) and
    • "Unraveling our privileges and oppressions" (p. 27)
    • The "Social Identities" chart (p. 31) (focus on the ways the authors categorize certain social identity group members as recipients of privilege and others as targets of discrimination)
  • Your social identities which you listed in Week 1 (reflect in what ways society's institutions have responded by affording you privileges and/or by discriminating against you)
  • The three examples in the introduction to this week and which specific privileges/oppressions they document

By Day 3

Post your response to these questions:

  • In what specific ways have society's institutions, in response to any of your social identities, afforded you privileges (i.e., opened doors for you, and/or discriminated against you (i.e., made your life more difficult)?
  • In what ways do society's responses to your social identities correspond or conflict with the categories of privilege and oppression presented on page 31?
  • What major insights/questions do you now have with regard to privilege and oppression?
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