Resources to promote social justice on campus–unpacking privilege

On behalf of NIRSA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Commission, I invite you to take some time this week to review the resources below. Whether you choose to integrate them into an upcoming staff training or you are simply reading them to expand your understanding on the vital topics of equity, diversity, or inclusion, these resources can help shape your perspective on social justice.

As we work to promote equity, diversity and inclusion with our staff teams, it is important to educate and provide awareness surrounding race and privilege.

By Dr. Peggy McIntosh | National SEED Project

Dr. McIntosh is an American scholar and activist who writes comprehensively on issues of race-based equity and privilege. One of her most well-known works is “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” from 1989. Dr. McIntosh has described white privilege to be “like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.” In this article, she gives 26 everyday examples of those benefits.

While this article explores some of the privileges related specifically to being white, the article could also serve as an example of how to explore other types of privilege. This could be done in a staff meeting or training where all staff brainstorm ways they have benefited from class privilege, gender privilege, ability privilege, and more.

Read the full article

By Kat Blaque | YouTube

Kat Blaque is a feminist YouTube personality and blogger. In this short video from 2015, Blaque discusses what it means to “check your privilege” and how defensive reactions to that statement can be fairly common. Blaque goes on to state, “you cannot truly fight for equality while fighting to maintain structures that oppress other people.” Essentially, while many of us may be initially defensive about the idea of “checking our privilege,” it is our only option if we are genuinely committed to fighting oppressive systems.

This video can serve as a resource to introduce the concept of privilege to yourself and your staff members. Combining this video with the other resource provided above would be a sound foundation for a staff meeting or in-service on privilege.

Watch the video

Add your voice to the conversation

We encourage you to connect with colleagues from across North America on this important topic. Join NIRSA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Community of Practice today to find more resources or to participate in the online discussion.