Sample Class Activity:

Enacting Privilege, 20 minutes

 

 

 

Define: Begin by asking all students to put all of their things away except for one sheet of paper, and to place their desks into rows. Once in rows, write the word PRIVILEGE on the board. Ask students to speak with the person or people next to them about what the word "privilege" means. Ask them to come up with a definition and example on their sheets of paper. Afterwards, ask for volunteers to share what they came up with. 

 

Imagine:

Place an empty trashcan at the front of the room and deliver these instructions: Please crumple your sheet of paper into a tight ball. We're going to play a game. The name of the game is Privilege. In this game, this class represents an entire society. Today you woke up in the seat you are sitting in, and you don't know anyone around you. Your goal in this society is to get to the upper class. The way you get to the upper class is by throwing your ball of paper into this can at the front of the room. The game starts now. 

 

Question: After all students have attempted, ask those who have made it into the upper class to raise their hands. Ask those who have not made it into the upper class to raise theirs. Ask the following questions and wait for responses between:

 

-What is going on here?

-Front row--is it your fault that you are closer to the goal than everyone else?

-Back row--Is it your fault that you’re farther from the goal than everyone else?

-How do you people in the front know that they didn’t make it into the upper class? Or that they are farther away?

-Front row: Why should you care that they didn’t make it into the upper class?

-People in the back—why should they care that you didn’t make it into the upper class?

 

 

This is how heteronormativity is invisible. This is why we read texts by minority authors. To know about privilege, you have to sit up and look around you. You have to use intention to gain awareness, you have to care about equal access of all people.

 

 

 

Lesson inspired by this buzzfeed article