Privilege means beyond the skin

By Inesha Howard | Staff Writer

On Feb. 24, 2016 in the JSAC Ballroom, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Diversity, an entity of Student Life & Engagement and the Jaguar Production Crew hosted a Privilege Panel that brought out conversations about more privileges than just skin color.

Komal Patel, cultural events assistant director of the Jaguar Production Crew, said that the purpose of the event was to make students more aware of how privileged they are compared to other students.

“For this semester we had to plan a cultural event,” Patel said. “This is the first cultural event we’ve had in the spring semester. We usually have international festival but we had free range and we could choose any topic we wanted to. My partner, Katie Rogers, she picked the topic privilege because a lot of students don’t realize how privileged they are and that’s why we’re having this event.”

Patel said that she feels very privileged compared to most students because she is able-bodied and she does not have to work to survive. She also mentioned that she felt privileged because she was in college and is able to pay for it.

There were several privileges mentioned during this event, such as white privilege, religion, able-bodiedness and race.

Dominique Bond, a senior social work major and panelist for this event, spoke about white privilege as it relates to neighborhoods. Bond said that he did a survey in a predominantly African-American community and the people of this community felt neglected.

Bond said the people of this community felt neglected due to torn roads, vacant homes and nowhere for the children in the community to play.

“To fix things like this we need people who are willing to work and help others make their community better,” Bond said.

Advantages and disadvantages were also a part of the conversation at this panel. Megan Le, vice president for membership in the Jaguar Production Crew, said that she felt she had certain advantages because she is Asian but disadvantaged because she is a minority.

Robert Davis, a part of the special events programming team for the Jaguar Production Crew, said that he feels advantaged because he is educated, but disadvantaged because he is half Asian.

Shanaea Bethea, a student at Augusta University, said that she feels that the male population and the Caucasian population have more privilege over her.

“I feel that males in general have more privilege,” Bethea said. “In this society, it’s still to a point where we have this inferiority complex when it comes to men versus women where men are still the alphas and we are still the betas. Although it’s still improving, it’s still to the fact that males make more money than females when they have the same qualifications and education going for the same jobs.”

The ultimate goal for this panel was for students to become more aware that some students have more privilege than others when it comes to religion, race, gender and sexual orientation.

“I just hope that this continues and that it’s consistent,” Bond said. “I hope it’s not just a black history month thing. I like that we talk about issues but I’m more serious about talking about solutions to issues.”

Contact Inesha Howard at: icarruth@gru.edu.

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