Students at San Diego State University can earn extra credit in Professor Dae Elliott’s classes if they take a quiz to determine if they have “white privilege.”
The quiz is a 20-question checklist that is supposed to help SDSU students dig deep into their past and discover that the color of their skin has afforded them untold benefits in life. The College Fix was able to obtain a copy of this roadmap into cultural structure.
Written with all the subtlety, intelligence, and research metholody of a Buzzfeed quiz where you click on foods you hate to determine your most problematic personality trait (I took it, it was “honesty”), the quiz seeks to determine a person’s rank of privilege by way of answering questions like whether they can find Band-aids in their flesh tone, whether “I can turn on the television and see people of my race widely represented,” and whether “I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.”
That last one is particularly ironic, since it’s part of a quiz to determine whether an entire ethnic group, as a whole, can claim to be privileged above any other entire ethnic group by virtue of their skin color.
The higher your score, the higher your overall privilege. But , of course, the quiz isn’t necessarily comprehensive. According to the paragraph at the bottom, even if you score low on the test, you can still be privileged if you’re not of a minority “gender, sexual orientation, class, [or] religion.” To earn the full measure of extra credit, students were also required to reflect on their score in an essay.
Were you surprised by your score, or did it confirm what you already knew? Why is privilege normally invisible and what does it feel like to make it visible? Do you think this exercise is different for white students than for students of color? For black students than for Asian, Indian, Latino/a students, or other students of color?”
Professor Elliot told the College Fix that the exercise is meant to encourage a form of self-acutalization among students who haven’t been exposed to other cultures (or, for that matter, to many social justice warriors).
“Only through processes that allow us to share intersubjectively, weigh all of our perspectives according to amount of shareable empirical evidence can we approximate an objective understanding of our society,” she said. “It may never be perfect, in fact, I am sure we will always be improving but it is a better response if we are truly seekers of what is truth, what is reality. In a society that values fairness, our injustices that are institutionalized are often made invisible.”
San Diego State University College Republicans disagree, calling the exercise “divisive,” and noting that while people may experience various privilges and benefits, the excercise was meant to drive home the idea that minorities are victims of a deliberately unjust society that can only be equalized with extensive government involvement.