Power and Privilege

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To define and reflect upon the term privilege and how it can be reflected in our curriculum and assessments.

Time: 20–30 minutes

Watch this Video

On page 23 of the NYSED’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, a student expectation bullet states, “Challenge power and privilege where present, or absent, in the curriculum by locating other resources or requesting curriculum that is inclusive of multiple perspectives.” 

What is privilege? What does this term mean in racial contexts? Watch the two videos below that discuss privilege from two perspectives:

Privilege Means Just Having Two Good Choices: Xavier Ramey 

Understanding My Privilege: Sue Borrego

A question posed in one of the videos is: “Is what I have because of me or in spite of me?” Reflect on how you would answer this question and how it could apply to both perspectives shared in the videos above.

Stop & Think

Key: T — Teachers, SL — School Leaders, DL — District Leaders

  • How would you define the concept of racial privilege? (T, SL, DL)
  • What is the “invisible, unearned package of benefits” discussed in the second video? How do those “benefits” showcase themselves in everyday life? (T, SL, DL)
  • Why is it important to have high-quality representation in our curriculum and assessment? (T, SL, DL)
  • How do unconscious media messages affirm or disaffirm each of us? (T, SL, DL)
  • How can you share risks with your colleagues and students? (T, SL, DL)


As a PLC or faculty, you will engage in an Affinity Mapping discussion protocol. Each person will need some Post-its and wall space if conducting this in person. For a virtual meeting, you can use an application such as Google Jamboard or Microsoft PowerPoint.

  1. Present the following questions for discussion:
    1. What are the privileges of your status?
    2. How does status, or lack of status, affect your sense of personal dignity?
  2. Have participants generate responses to the questions by writing ideas on Post-its (physically or virtually) and placing them on the wall or virtual application in no particular order.
  3. Once all the responses have been added, have participants begin grouping the notes into similar categories. 
  4. Label the categories, then discuss why the ideas fit within them and how the categories relate to one another.