White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.

SHARELINES

Privilege is hard to see when you have it, because it often consists of what doesn’t happen to you. On Monday January 11, The Graduate School hosted a salon-style discussion on the topic of white privilege. The event was targeted to UConn staff members who interact regularly with the graduate student population, and it was skillfully facilitated by Maura Hallisey, of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford. Participants initially discussed what white privilege is and why people might take issue with the term ‘privilege’. Participants shared examples of privilege in their own lives before the discussion moved on to examine effects of white privilege. After a break for lunch, the group reconvened to discuss actions that those who carry privilege can take to challenge it. Foremost among the suggestions were to listen more and to show-up in support of racial justice. In being willing to examine and talk about deeply embedded, cultural patterns that divide us, the Graduate School hopes to build a stronger and more diverse campus community. One participant, Coleen Spurlock, stated afterwards “As the white mother of a bi-racial family, I am acutely aware of my white privilege. However, I have struggled in the past to find the correct words and examples to share with my friends of “non-color” to help them understand white privilege. This was a very exciting and helpful workshop!” The event was funded by the UConn Reads Steering Committee, as part of the campus-wide focus on race in America.