NPR/Ted Talk Assignment
Utah Valley University
Understanding my Privilege
“Those in positions of power hold a privilege accorded to their status, one that they may not recognize, by simple virtue of having that privilege.” (Lawler 1997 pg. 18). This is a quote from one of the articles that I read for my subject of privilege that I will be discussing. I chose to watch a Ted Talk featuring, Sue Borrego titled, “Understanding My Privilege”. I will present the solutions I developed in relation to this issue and feature several articles that support them.
The first solution towards this issue is that individuals should be allowed the same amount of equity regardless of their race, and gender. My first article, “Lawler, P. A. (1996). Ethics, Equity, and Hidden Privilege. Adult Learning, 8(2-), 18-19, illustrates a story of an off-campus seminar at Lawfield University taught by Dr. Vandana Shiva, who was a young woman, wore a sari, and spoke with a slight accent. Jack Barnes was the director of these continuing education programs. One of their important clients was Megacorp, and they relied heavily on their business. Jack received a call from the education director at Megacorp, stating that several of the executives asked him to replace Dr. Shiva. The complaints were not in reference to her teaching, but they felt uncomfortable with the fact that she was different. This story illustrates the need for individuals to be treated equally. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has a famous quote that relates well to this point, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color their skin, but by the content of their character.” I understand that this solution presents many difficulties, because human nature and biases are hard to resolve, but I feel that this solution can be directed towards organizations. I think of the movie, “Hidden Figures” in relation to this solution. Katherine Johnson, who is a black woman is the main character in this film. She works at NASA, and begins as a temp. She is treated poorly based on her race. Eventually, she gains favor in the eyes of the CEO, Al Harrison, for her work. There are still several individuals who are inconveniencing her due to her race. Al takes a stand against this racism, and allows her the same opportunity as the other employees. In summary, within organizations, and as individuals we need to allow everyone equal opportunity for privileges.
There are individuals who have the benefit of having more privilege than others. It is vital that their privilege be used to benefit the lives of others. This is my second solution. My second article, Hernandez‐Wolfe, P., & McDowell, T. (2012). Speaking of privilege: Family therapy educators’ journeys toward awareness and compassionate action. Family Process, 51(2), 163-178. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2012.01394.x gives more insight on this solution. Family therapy educators who are in a position of privilege due to their positions and social locations. They use their positions as a means of creating and modeling equity their family therapy training. By using their privilege, they benefit the lives of others and create a sense of equity. Their example is a great model that we can follow. This story is not in relation to the article, but about the ted talk that I watched. Sue Borrego explains how her grandma worked downtown. She took Sue with her and they saw a man sleeping in the windowsill of a building. She said, “Look nanny, look at that guy sleeping in the window.” Her grandma said, “You have a place to sleep, food to eat, and people who care for you. That does not make you better than that man, but more fortunate.” This story, and the article features how individuals who are in a privileged position should benefit the lives of others.
In conclusion, individuals should be allowed the same amount of privilege, regardless of their background, and those individuals who have more privilege than another should benefit the lives of those who are less privileged. I hope that I was able to effectively illustrate my solutions and insights to privilege through my personal research.
Hernandez-Wolfe, P., & McDowell, T. (2012). Speaking of Privilege: Family Therapy Educators’ Journeys toward Awareness and Compassionate Action. Family Process, 51(2), 163-178.
Lawler, P. A. (1996). Ethics, equity, and hidden privilege. Adult Learning, 818-19.