After reading sections of Night by Elie Wiesel, students in Ms. Cathy Sabol’s English class participated in a privilege walk. During the activity, Sabol asked a series of 25 questions and based on how they answered the question students either took a step forward or backward.
“The activity was interesting and opened my eyes to some privileges I have that and I wasn’t aware of,” sophomore Jennifer Shelley said. “I never thought that being right handed was a privilege, but some of the questions were more personal and obviously privileges.”
Inspired by a Buzzfeed video, Sabol adjusted the questions for her students. Since students are reading about the Holocaust, Sabol thought the activity would be an interesting way to contrast privileges of the past and the present.
“I have students write end-of-the-year reflective essays about class, and quite a few students wrote that they found it an interesting way to view their lives in comparison to others and an easy way to visualize privilege,” Sabol said. “Since their feedback supported that, at least for some, it was an interesting social experiment.”
Students did not have to answer questions that made them uncomfortable as some questions related to financial situations and other personal aspects.
“The [privilege walk] was an eye-opening experience,” sophomore Alexis Cline said. “I was aware that I had privilege’s but some of the questions really made me think about how much privilege I really have.”
After the activity, students wrote about what questions Sabol asked that shocked them the most and their reaction to their position during the walk.
“The end results of the activity was surprising,” sophomore Ariana San Juan said. “Since we live in such a privileged country I would expect most of us are pretty privileged. But after the activity, I found that a lot of us aren’t as privileged as we thought.”
Have you participated in a privilege walk?