A sociology professor at San Diego State University is offering extra credit to students who complete a “white privilege” questionnaire intended to prompt students into reflecting on the ways that being white gives them an unconscious advantage in American society.
Dae Elliott asked her students to fill out a so-called “White Privilege Checklist” that features a quote describing white privilege as “an invisible package of unearned assets, which I can can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious,” The College Fix reported.
Items on the checklist include: “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured I will not be followed or harassed;” “I am never asked to speak for all of the people of my racial group;” “Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial responsibility;” and “I can enroll in a class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.”
An essay question at the end of the checklist invites students to come up with other examples of privilege, suggesting “gender, sexual orientation, class and religion” as possible areas that students could be hoarding unearned privilege.
Elliott explained that the checklist was a good way to get students out of their comfort zones so they could understand the issue of privilege and how it affects them.
“Only through processes that allow us to share intersubjectively, weigh all of our perspectives according to amount of shareable empirical evidence can we approximate an objective understanding of our society,” she told the outlet. “It may never be perfect, in fact, I am sure we will always be improving but it is a better response if we are truly seekers of what is truth, what is reality.”
“In a society that values fairness, our injustices that are institutionalized are often made invisible,” Elliot concluded.