Cougars face discriminatory privileges
Students and faculty discussed on Wednesday afternoon the role privilege plays in society and how it affects the lives of most students on a daily basis.
Malkia Hutchinson, program coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center, hosted a “Gender Talk,” a weekly event where students eat lunch and openly engage in conversation. This week’s topic included privilege and intersectionality, the study of interactions between multiple groups and minorities.
“Privilege is when you experience something that others aren’t able to partake in — that you didn’t acquire yourself. It’s what you are born into,” Hutchinson said. “It has many different forms, such as class privilege, race privilege, gender privilege and sexuality privilege.”
Dianca Chase, graduate program coordinator for the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, said she is often faced with race privilege. She said being an African-American woman made her feel that she had to work harder to prove her self-worth.
“When I was younger, I would always ask myself why I was born black. I wasn’t ashamed, but all the images I saw on TV and movies would be of white people,” Chase said. “My sisters and I would put blankets over our hair and pretend to be white. We just didn’t understand.”
Sexuality-based privilege is also a prominent issue in today’s society. Program coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center Lorraine Schroeder explained the difficulties that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students face when applying for jobs in the corporate world. She spoke about a study adding one’s affiliation to the LGBT Resource Center on a professional resume.
“Two resumes sitting side by side. One is affiliated with the LGBT Center and one is not. The one that isn’t is 40 percent more likely to get called for an interview,” Schroeder said. “It’s not right, but it’s the world we live in. My advice is to not put it on the resume, but bring it up in the interview if it feels right.”
Even though the effects of privilege can be negative in some situations, those in attendance remained positive and were determined to overcome such difficulties.
“I have learned throughout my years to not judge based on race, sexual orientation, religion or culture,” Chase said. “It all depends on the person. If I’m not getting along with you, then we’re not getting along. It depends solely on the person.”
Gender Talks are held every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. in the Women’s Resource Center.