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Thursday, February 29, 2024

White Privilege 101 teaches students to utilize their privilege

White Privilege 101 offered a group of UW-Madison students a lesson Monday on how to use the privilege they may have from their various identities in an open discussion setting.

The conversation, led by Multicultural Student Center Social Justice Educator Khaled Ismail, provided attendees with an understanding of their privileges. He urged individuals to examine how racism occurs in day-to-day life and gave ideas on how to use their privilege to fix these issues.

“The goal of this workshop was to engage white-identified people in a conversation about what is their experience in the world; what does this experience look like in relation to others around them and what can we all start doing to create a more equitable campus experience and community around this,” Ismail said.

Attendees were required to break the ice with other students in the room they had not met before and discuss the presence of race in their lives. Students shared how much they agreed or disagreed with questions about their privilege, like whether they should give up their privilege, in an interactive activity that asked them to imagine the room as a spectrum and place themselves where they felt was right.

Ismail also educated attendees about the differences between prejudice, discrimination and oppression. He discussed using allyship to eradicate these concepts, which involves being aware of one’s privilege and of other people that are coming from different starting points.

While the conversation touched on various identities, it was focused centrally on race.

“We wanted to talk race specifically and center the conversation around race right now,” Ismail said. “We don’t all exist in siloed identities. It’s important to bring in those examples, just from an educational standpoint.”

The MSC hosts White Privilege 101 every semester. Ismail said there are five more workshops scheduled for the upcoming semester, the next two of which will focus on intersectionality. They have also booked several speakers for the Social Justice Speaker Series.

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