“This study revealed that the network of close friends and family claimed by the average white American is made up of 91 percent white people. When I feel like I am often the only black person in my daily social situations, it is because I am often the only black person whom the white people I am surrounded by actually know. According to the study, only 1 percent of the typical white American’s social network is black.” (Unwelcome in my Country Unwelcome in my Church).

Camille Dungy’s article regarding her experience in a presbyterian church was an interesting take on the dangers of “exlusive rhetoric.” But the passage in the article which stuck out to me was regarding statistical information on the social circles of whites. The above passage indicates that although segregation of blacks and whites is no longer legal, it is quite clear that there remains segregation in other forms many of which are much more pernicious and difficult to remove because though they exist as the result of legal institutions segregating blacks and whites they are not reducible to those racist legal institutions rather they have been shaped by them. Transcending these structures will prove incredibly difficult as any attempts to compel social mixing might be viewed as government overreach. This article left me wondering what is the best way to approach our diversity problem?


“Privilege means that some people are treated better based on their race, gender, class, sexual orientation or physical ability” (Why does priveledge make people so Angry)


“And the discomfort or anger you may feel when talking about you’re own privilege. . . pales in comparison the the oppression those on the other side of the coin deal with every day”  (Why does priveledge make people so Angry)

What a fantastic way to describe the concept of privilege and the reasons why it is challenging for people to engage with it/realize they have it. Franchesca Ramsey’s video is enlightening, funny, clear, and gives anyone who is sympathetic to her conception of privilege some really good tools for engaging in a conversation with those who do not fully understand the concept. If I think it would be a really great class project to try having half of the class show this video to their interview subjects before their interviews in order to compare how people respond to the concept of privilege before or after they have been educated on it.

One Comment

  1. Oh Alex, I like your idea of showing an interviewee this video and then having a follow-up conversation!

    Have you decided who you might want to interview and for what type of audience?

    It would certainly be an appropriate idea if you’ll be selecting someone who isn’t able to recognize some of the concepts of privilege.

    This question of yours stopped me in my tracks: “This article left me wondering what is the best way to approach our diversity problem?”

    I wish I had an answer. I wish I knew. What strategies have you tried? What works? What’s unsuccessful?

    You might ask your interviewee that question, especially if you preamble the question with the statistic that Camille Dungy brings up. Hmmmmmm.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s