Found an interesting article titled “Increasing awareness of group privilege with college students” here:
It discusses a social experiment conducted in some college classes. Students were randomly assigned to different teams (red, yellow, or green), and were told they would achieve their goal by demonstrating skill at boling and hockey.
Each player is treated differently based on the color of their sash. Green players are not given any obstacles to achieving their goals, yellow players are given tasks that are harder, but possible to achieve. There are numerous barriers that the red players face. Additionally, the facilitator interacts with the different colors differently, giving encouragement and strongly affirming messages to the green, expressing some encouragement and some doubt to the yellows, and discouraging the red, or asking them to choose a different goal, one they could achieve.
The paper then gives some of the results from the study based on feedback the students gave at the end of the experiement, summing them up into several categories:
* Awareness of differential application of rules based on group identity.
* Awareness of the emotional impact of being treated unfairly.
* The effect of the facilitator’s non verbal and verbal behavior.
* Understanding of individual reactions within and between groups.
* Awareness of the barriers to discussing racism or oppression.
And I am reminded that every time I’ve seen a discussion online about privilege, someone always chimes in “One privilege is not knowing you have privilege”.
Of the five bullet points listed there that came out of this experiment, three explicitely state that people gained “awareness” and the other two talk about becomeing aware of something they weren’t aware of before.
If by “privilege” people actually mean “lack of awareness”, then could we stop doing the shifting-meaning fallacy and say “lack of awareness” when that’s what we’re talking about?