In my previous post on privilege, I shared an experience of transferring from an environment of partial rejection based on my underprivileged minority status (a non-Catholic in a Catholic school) to an environment of acceptance due to my privileged minority status (a middle-class kid at a low-SES middle school). I reflect on this experience often and have realized I am so very lucky to have these experiences to draw from.
I reflect on these experiences of being on different ends of privileged or underprivileged so often because it is a way to tap into my empathy required to design learning well for various audiences. I tend to draw on these early experiences when I am feeling especially underprivileged or in a minority; often surfacing as a feeling of being “left out.” When I am feeling this way as an adult, I blame it on my emotional reservation and a perceived lack of intellect.
People must not like me because I am _[Insert something unlikable here].
Professional Relationship to Privilege
As I move forward into a more specialized professional position, I realize it is important for me to work through these moments of thinking I lack talent, even if it is only my perception. I am realizing these moments are important for highlighting experiences of others, especially individuals of ethnic and financial minority.
This is huge for me because I design learning for diverse groups that are often stereotyped as “uneducated” or “illiterate.” Yes, it is true that minorities are, on average, less literate than whites (than me), but it isn’t often a majority that are illiterate in the United States. And this is where my learning design can go wrong: by underestimating the skills of our learners based on their ethnic and racial profiles.
This is a reminder to me and to readers that minority groups are often more resourceful and aware than we expect. They may even have to work harder to prove they are talented