World Trust

Different Identity-Based Privileges

Posted by Meriam Salem on December 19, 2018

What is privilege?*

When people hear they belong to a privileged group or benefit from something like "race privilege" or "gender privilege," they don't get it, or they feel angry and defensive about what they do get. Privilege has become one of those loaded words we need to reclaim so that we can use it to name and illuminate the truth.... As Peggy McIntosh describes it, privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they've done or failed to do. ... The existence of privilege doesn't mean I didn't do a good job, of course, or that I don't deserve credit for it. What it does mean is that I'm  also getting something that other people are denied... The ease of not being aware of privilege is an aspect of privilege itself, what some call "the luxury of obliviousness." - Allan G. Johnson, Privilege, Power, and Difference. P. 23-25


1. Please identify one or two identity groups, from the list below, in which you have privilege. 

2. Reflect on situations listed for your identity. Take a few minutes and jot down your reflections to these questions: 

  • Reading the example of situations and thinking about my privilege, I felt .........
  • How does this kind of privilege show up in my actions (consciously or not) at work, in my community or in other settings?

3. Ask yourself. What might I do to be more aware of my privilege in my daily activities. 

Reflection Questions

  1. How might your experience as a white person differ from the experience of a person of color in: 
    • applying for a job?
    • passing police on the street?
    • preparing your child to go to school for the first time? 
  2. How might your experience as a cis heterosexual person differ from the experience of an LGBTQ person in: 
    • expressing affection, love and comfort in public?
    • preparing to introduce your partner to your family of origin?
    • participating in a lunch discussion at work on what you did this weekend? 
  3. How might your experience as a Christian differ from the experience of a Jew, Muslim, or Atheist in
    • testifying in court?
    • arranging time off at work to celebrate a religious holiday?
    • openly displaying religious symbols without fear of disapproval, violence, or vandalism? 
  4. How might your experience as an able-bodied person differ from the experience of a person with a disability in:
    • commuting to work each day?
    • negotiating where the annual work dinner is to be held?
    • how people interpret an expression of anger or frustration? 
  5. How might your experience as a man differ from the experience of a woman in: 
    • taking the car to a repair shop?
    • walking to your car after the store closed at night? 
    • reading your performance evaluation in which colleagues describe your performance as aggressive? 
  6. How might your experience as a professional wage earner differ from the experience of someone who is unemployed in: 
    • responding to school requests for supplies for your children? 
    • responding to old acquaintances who want to meet up for lunch? 
    • answering a want ad for a job 60 miles away?

*The content in in this blog post was created in collaboration with The Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD), MP Associates and World Trust Educational Services, funded by The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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Topics: White Privilege, Unconscious Bias, #WorldTrust, Racism, bias, systemic inequity

21 Days of Justice with World Trust

Posted by Meriam Salem on December 11, 2018
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Topics: Diversity Workshops, System of Inequity, White Privilege, Talk about Race, Unconscious Bias, #WorldTrust, restorative justice, systemic inequity, trauma, Healing Justice, racial justice, #givingjusticethatheals

Why is Google Addressing Unconscious Bias?

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 21, 2014

No racists, no problem. Right?
“This is a pretty genteel environment, and you don’t usually see outright manifestations of bias,” says Laszlo Bock, head of human resources at Google. Sound familiar?  

As a leader responsible for diversity and inclusion, you may have seen how “no outward manifestation of bias” can translate into institutional apathy about diversity education. If no one is engaging in overtly segregated hiring or using racial slurs, there is little urgency. So why is Google training all employees and pushing hard for a cultural shift?

Addressing the pipeline is not enough
Despite years of good intentions to hire a more diverse employee base, Google’s work force is just 2% black and 3% Hispanic, and 30% female. Google had begun to address the external factors years earlier, or so it thought, by sponsoring programs to increase the number of women and minorities who go into tech. At World Trust, we see this is common first approach across sectors. “What do we neeed to do to hire X percentage people of color?”

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Topics: Talk about Race, Unconscious Bias, Diversity Initiative, Tech

How Media Representation Feeds Unconscious Bias

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on September 2, 2014

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown - Media Representation
With news out of Ferguson, Missouri entering its fourth week now, media images have been one of the only ways that most of the country receives its information. But amid the tweets from reporters getting arrested and images of paramilitary squads of police on the streets, we were struck by this line offering another angle on the coverage:

Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.

The #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag, trending in the early days after the unarmed Brown was shot by a police officer, examined the way media outlets’ choice of image shaped or conformed to public opinion about the slain teen, and youth of color in general. With this Huffington Post piece, the ways in which unconscious bias affects media portrayal deserve a closer look.

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Topics: Unconscious Bias