I had the chance to really get to know myself better this morning in a Privilege Walk activity.
“Take a step forward if either of your parents graduated from college”
“Take a step forward if there were more than 50 books in your house when you were growing up”
“Take a step back if either of your parents were laid off or unemployed not by their choice”
“Take a step back if you have been divorced or impacted by divorce”
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Office Inclusion Council kicked off their Intercultural Passport Program event with a Privilege Walk. Privilege walks are designed to help people recognize and understand how privilege influences who they are. I know for me, and for others based on their comments, many of the questions were about things we “took for granted” or assumed were common for everyone. However, by being open and responding to each question by moving forward or back, I learned a lot about myself! Having the courage to look at where I was in the room and where others were helped open my eyes.
As leaders I want to suggest there is an additional question that needs to be added to a Privilege Walk.
“Take a step forward if you are in a leadership position”
An important part of the leadership competency, “Understand Yourself and Others” is to have the courage to acknowledge that being a leader is a privilege. A leadership role, by itself, influences how you perceive the world and affects how people treat you. It is a part of who you are! It is not good or bad but it is important to recognize.
If you want to learn more about self-awareness and privilege walks you can click here to watch a video. And this link contains the actual questions.
Yes, we all have privilege and it takes courage to dig deep in search of self-understanding.