As you read in Dowsett’s (2014) article about biking on infrastructure designed for cars,.
As you read in Dowsett’s (2014) article (attached) about biking on infrastructure designed for cars, one key aspect of privilege is that people who are members of the dominant culture don’t necessarily see the ways that biased institutions and systems are designed to support them, or how they (intentionally or unintentionally) hinder others. Think carefully about this idea as you consider the different identities you hold. (Identity categories include race, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship status, disability status, body size, religion, ethnicity, class, age, etc.)
Contrast the concept of privilege with the idea of white immunity as described by Dr. Nolan Cabrera TedTalk (2018). Cabrera (2020) explains that describing the conditions white people experience in the U.S. as privilege disguises the fact that we’re talking about a baseline level of humanity that everyone is entitled to – systems that are designed to protect and serve us. When we flip the conversation and say that white people are protected (immune) from the discriminatory practices that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face, we center their experiences in a way that focuses on the injustice and creates space for empathy. He says:
“White privilege centers white people. People are constantly saying, ‘How am I privileged? How am I privileged?’ And instead white immunity actually says, ‘How is my experience markedly different than people of color?’ It’s asking you to say, ‘What is going on that’s outside of my experience? What have I been blinded to because of the social inoculation? So instead of centering white privilege, it makes you actually look holistically at society and how it is that we’re treating the most marginalized. It requires us to have a sense of empathy. A sense of linked fate. To say that my success and my ability to thrive is predicated upon yours as well” (Cabrera, 2018).
Submit a 500-word reflection about these concepts, responding to the following questions:
1. What is privilege? Provide a specific example of privilege resulting from an institutional or social system.
2. What is white immunity? How does it differ from the idea of privilege?
3. Do you think these terms are useful in helping us understand how social inequities prevent people from meeting their needs based on Max-Neef’s (1986) 9 Fundamental Needs (attached) or Raworth’s (2107) social foundation (attached)? Why or why not?