Students in a sociology class at San Diego State University can earn extra credit if they take a quiz to determine their level of “white privilege.”
Professor Dae Elliott offered the option to her sociology class students, a “White Privilege Checklist” that includes 20 questions that aim to illustrate that “racial privilege is one form of privilege.”
Some of the questions include:
I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin.
I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
I can enroll in a class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.
At the end of the quiz, students were also made aware of other forms of privilege, such as “gender, sexual orientation, class, and religion,” as well as asked to define any more types they can think of.
Students were instructed by Professor Elliott to add up their scores, with a higher score meaning they had a high level of privilege and a lower score meaning they had a lower level of privilege.
To earn the extra credit, students were told to also answer a series of questions given to them by the professor. They are: “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?”
Asked about the offer, Professor Elliott told The College Fix via email that it’s a legitimate way to help students see things from multiple perspectives.
“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.”
The professor added that the exercise “asks my students to step out of their subjectivity, extend their understanding and begin to be a conscious part of understanding and hence gaining more power and agency to effect change.”
Not everyone agrees. Asked to weigh in, San Diego State University College Republicans President Brandon Jones said the assignment is divisive.
“This is another attempt by the Left, and Professor Elliot, to divide America,” said Jones, who is not in the class.
“The Left’s political goal is to ensure that minorities in America perpetuate that their primary problem is white racism. This only furthers the portrayal of minorities in America as victims and does nothing to help contribute to their advancement in society,” Jones said in an email to The College Fix.