Check your privilege: What is the trend going viral on TikTok?

'Privilege isn't all about money' 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 04 June 2020 13:49
TikTok challenge asks people to 'check your privilege'

A viral TikTok challenge is asking people to acknowledge their privileges and how they pertain to race amid continued protests over racism and police brutality in America.

The challenge, which follows the format of the “put a finger down” game popular on TikTok, was first started two weeks ago by Kenya, a woman from Virginia who goes by the name @boss_bigmamma on TikTok.

In the clip, which she captioned: “How many willing to do this? All races. Privilege isn’t all about money,” Kenya holds up 10 fingers, putting a finger down for each racially motivated experience she has encountered.

“Put a finger down if you have been called a racial slur,” she narrates in the video, as she puts a finger down. “Put a finger down if you've been followed in a store unnecessarily.”

Kenya also tells viewers to put a finger down if someone has crossed the street in order to avoid passing them, “if you've had someone clench their purse in an elevator with you,” if you’ve ever experienced someone step off an elevator to avoid riding it with you, and if “you've been accused of not being able to afford something expensive”.


How many willing to do this? All races. Privilege isn’t all about money. ##fyp ##foryou ##momsoftiktok ##foryourpage ##over40 ##challenge ##dontflop

♬ Check Your Privilege by Big Mamma - boss_bigmamma

The challenge also includes experiences such as having fear in your heart when stopped by the police, being bullied solely because of your race and having to teach your children how not to get killed by the police.

According to Kenya, she decided to create the challenge to highlight discrimination she has faced as a black woman, and to compare her experiences with others.

"I know discrimination happens for many reasons, which is why I labelled it 'check your privilege' instead of 'white privilege,'" she told BuzzFeed.

In response to Kenya’s video, which has been viewed more than 59,000 times, thousands of TikTok users have also attempted the challenge to highlight their own experiences with racism.

Among those trying the challenge are white people, who have used the TikTok video to highlight racial disparities and the existence of white privilege.

“White privilege is real,” Allison Holker Boss captioned a video of her and her husband Stephen 'tWitch' Boss doing the challenge with their young son and showing the differences in their experiences.


##blacklivesmatter @twitchtok7

♬ Check Your Privilege by Big Mamma - boss_bigmamma

##duet with @boss_bigmamma i can’t believe there are still people that think privilege doesn’t exist

♬ Check Your Privilege by Big Mamma - boss_bigmamma

Since the challenge went viral, many people have applauded Kenya for the “powerful” statement and for raising awareness about what privilege means.


BLACK LIVES MATTER ##blacklivesmatter ##nojusticnopeace ##equality ##changestartsnow

♬ Check Your Privilege by Big Mamma - boss_bigmamma

“Thanks for sharing! Some apply to me but I think seeing how many apply to you is much more enlightening,” one person commented.

Another said: “This was extremely eye opening, and very appreciated. Thank you so much for sharing.”

According to Kenya, in addition to race, many people viewed the challenge in a socioeconomic light, while others related it to religion.

As for what Kenya hopes people take away from the challenge, she told BuzzFeed she wants people to use their privilege to help others.

“Whatever they took away from it, I hope people will use the privilege they have to help others. I can only hope that we create a better existence for our grandchildren. I want to do my part to be a part of that change,” she said.

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