#MicroblogMondays: Privilege

In one of the groups I’m in some things went down today involving a
“Statement of Diversity & Inclusion” and the aftermath of backlash involving some who have a gross misunderstanding of racism and white privilege. It’s not my place to go into specifics, but this has been heavy on my mind all day. So I share this story instead.

In my Intro to Psychology class I teach about altruism and the bystander effect. One of my few personal examples I share in class is in this module. Several years ago I was on the bus home, when I noticed a flashing “Emergency, Call 911” on a passing bus. I asked the driver, “Should I call 911?” The driver responded “He’s probably accidentally hit the switch, don’t worry.” But then I thought, how do I KNOW if it’s an accident or a real situation. The bus has the alert for a reason. So I called 911 and a patrol car pulled on at the next exit and presumably stopped the bus. I continued on my way home. The moral of the story for my class is – if you aren’t sure, call for help, what’s the harm, but it may help.

Last fall a young black man asked me: “But what if you are in a situation where you are worried that some harm could come to you for calling.”

I had no response. “You’re right, I’m a white woman. I don’t know what I would have done if I were in a place where I could put myself in danger.”

*Just had to get something out on a day my heart is heavy. These are real problems that need real action.*

***Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


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2 thoughts on “#MicroblogMondays: Privilege

  1. It’s a really powerful message about privilege. I would have thought the same way as you did. The expectation that a call equals someone coming to help is part of privilege, too.

  2. I’ve found the public debates on privilege really thought-provoking, and your piece has got me thinking again too. Here in NZ, it’s not a term that is used a lot yet, but I think it should be. And in the no kids/infertility world, it’s an issue too. I’ve been sitting on a post for a long time, thinking about this. Maybe you’re going to prompt me to write it.

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