Check your privilege: you might be surprised

Being white or male is itself a privilege - and if you didn't realise that, it's probably about time you did

Share

In the kind of online mash-up that has become inevitable with the rise of social media, an internet tool now exists to allow users to check their privilege – literally. Thanks to Buzzfeed for bringing a simple and mathematically sound resolution to all those messy Twitter debates.

Recently, there have been quizzes asking "which 1990s-era Friends character are you?"; "which pizza topping do you most resemble?"; "what's your mental age?" (not much if you find yourself continually doing these quizzes); and even "which time-wasting Buzzfeed quiz are you?" Now, anyone claiming to have the best feminist or working-class credentials, or the most overlap in her "intersectionality diagram", only has to answer a quick questionnaire by ticking, or not ticking, 100 boxes to get a privilege score out of 100. The search is now on for the person with 0 per cent privilege, who will win the right to have the last word on everything. (The people with 100 per cent privilege have been found already: they're all in the Cabinet.)

Clearly the Privilege Questionnaire is meant as a bit of fun. But, compared with other time-wasting quizzes, it is quite thought-provoking. Beginning with statements such as "I have never been discriminated against because of my skin colour", it asks users to check boxes about their race, gender, wealth, background and sexual orientation, among others. Simply being white or male is a tick in a privilege box. Don't complain: in real life in 2014 Britain, simply being white or male really is a tick in a privilege box, and if you didn't realise that, it's probably about time you did.

In this survey, privilege is measured relative to other developed, Western nations. (It is clearly American in emphasis, with questions about "high school" and "spring break".) It has more emphasis on religion than is probably relevant in godless Britain, but it also has some unexpected statements that will make people think. It acknowledges that good health and good looks are advantages. Having parents who are still alive and married is a privilege, too. Free from mental and physical disabilities? That's two ticks. I'd never considered "not being raped" as a particular privilege. Now, seeing that others might view it as a privilege makes me feel pretty lucky. I turn out to be 55 per cent privileged, though I'm surprised it's not more.

The concept of "intersectionality" gets people's backs up, but really you're just being asked to acknowledge that there are others less fortunate than you. It's a bit like the idea that drivers should give way to cars less expensive than their own: a simple, kind way of moderating traffic that acknowledges others' difficulties.

There's nothing wrong with being made to appreciate how lucky we are. Unless there's a 54-per-center out there who disagrees with me, in which case I defer to your greater awareness.

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Business Development Director - Interior Design

£80000 - £100000 per annum + competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment...

Sales Director, Media Sponsorship

£60000 - £65000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A globally successful media and ...

Head of Affiliate Sales for Emerging Markets

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you looking for your next role ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits