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How Teachers Can Pivot Privilege into Racial Justice
Mainstream media broadcasts, social media posts, and many voices advocating for racial equality often point to white privilege as being complicit in social injustice, especially racism. In many cases, white privilege is spoken of only in the negative.
However, people are less likely to create real change from feelings of guilt or shame than they are from a place of empowerment. Privilege does not have to be a bad thing when it is used to empower people to educate themselves and others. In fact, I think it needs to be seen as a potential power for good.
In the fight against racism, many of those with privilege (be it white or any other form of privilege) are made to feel guilty for having it. This can lead to defensiveness in the form of backlash, or silence and complacency which is equally negative in the fight for social justice. I believe that operating from guilt is often analogous to treating an infection with an antibiotic: if you take only enough to make the symptoms subside, the infection will likely come back even stronger.
As I tell my audiences, privilege is a tool in the toolbox of a percentage of any population. Rather than instill guilt and shame, why not motivate and mobilize those with this tool to use it for good–to pivot privilege into social responsibility?
Be sure to check out Ravi’s daily “Minute to Pivot” video series. You can subscribe to it on his YouTube channel by clicking here, or visit any one of his social media pages @RaviUnites.
Ravi Unites Schools
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