A San Diego State University students’ sociology class is offering extra credit to students that take a quiz meant to help determine their personal level of “white privilege,” according to a document obtained by The College Fix.
Students were offered the option by Professor Dae Elliott in a 20-question “White Privilege Checklist” that can ascertain if the student has “an invisible package of unearned assets” – which is how the sheet describes white privilege.
“The following are examples of ways that white individuals have privilege because they are white,” the sheet says, stating that “racial privilege is one forms [sic] of privilege.” Students were also made aware of other privilege they may be inadvertently guilty of enjoying, including “gender, sexual orientation, class, and religion.”
To earn the extra credit, the students were to answer the questions, add up their scores, and then answer a series of additional questions. With a higher score meaning the student had a high level of privilege, the students were asked if they were surprised by their score, or if the test results confirmed what they already knew.
They were also asked: “Why is privilege normally invisible and what does it feel like to make it visible? Do you think this exercise is different for white students than for students of color? – for black students than for Asian, Indian, Latino/a students, or other students of color?”
Professor Elliott’s list of questions included:
- I can arrange to be in the company of the People of my race most of the time.
- I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
- I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of y race widely represented.
- When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
- I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
- I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the food I grew up with, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.
- Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial responsibility.
- I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
- I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
- I can take a job or enroll in a college with an affirmative action policy without having my co-workers or peers assume I got it because of my race.
- I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
- I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated.
- I am never asked to speak for all of the people of my racial group.
- I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk with the “person in charge” I will be facing a person of my race.
- If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because for my race.
- I can easily by [sic] posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
- I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin.
- I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
- I can walk into a classroom and know I will not be the only member of my race.
- I can enroll in a class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.
When The College Fix reached out to Elliot and asked about the exercise. She answered via email, according to the report, saying the test was “a legitimate way to help students see things from multiple perspectives.”
“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 reportedly wrote. “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.”
The professor said the quiz helps students “to step out of their subjectivity, extend their understanding and begin to be a conscious part of understanding and hence gaining more power and agency to effect change.”
San Diego State University College Republicans President Brandon Jones said the assignment is divisive. “This is another attempt by the Left, and Professor Elliot, to divide America,” said Jones.
Around the country, college campuses are using the term “white privilege” in a variety of exercises and events.
In May, the Western Washington University had a workshop for all faculty and students to learn how to “reduce the impact” of white privilege.
A “White Privilege Checklist” in the University of Minnesota (UMN) residence hall, beginning with the statement, “I can arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time,” provides 11 ways in which white people can identify their own “racial injustice” on the basis of their skin color.
Sam Houston State University in Texas was offering scholarships to college students if they agreed to take courses pertaining to “white privilege” and Black Lives Matter.
In elementary school through high school, students are learning about white privilege, as well.
The Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, held an essay contest, where $1,000 would be paid to the grand prize winner among students who expressed their thoughts about “white privilege.”
Aloha High School in Oregon assigned a “White Privilege Survey” for a Literature Composition class. The survey had students responding to statements such as, “I can be in the company of people of my race most of the time,” “I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me,” and “I am never asked to speak for all the people in my racial group.”
Parents at Monroe Middle School in Tampa, Florida were outraged when a teacher, in an attempt to teach them about diversity and inequality, gave students a form titled, “How privileged are you?” during a Spanish class for seventh and eighth-graders. Students had to circle selections for race, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
At Bank Street School for Children in Manhattan, New York, an elite K-8 school, administrators aimed to fight discrimination by separating 430 students by race. The white kids were made to feel guilty for their “whiteness,” and all the “kids of color” were herded into other rooms where they were taught to feel proud about their race and rewarded with treats and privileges.
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