Following on from unconscious bias and understanding how our own worldviews have been formed and shaped, let us now look at the concept of ‘privilege’.

Privilege refers to how society has been structured – who decided the structure? who set the rules and parameters for society? And why did they choose to make it this way…. and since we know we all have them, what biases did those people have? What is the impact of this?

Albert Einstein put it this way: 

The essence of the message here is that we are all born with different strengths and weaknesses. However, in an education setting for example, if there is only one test, then who sets the test becomes a very important question – because more often than not, they will set that test according to their own worldview, in a way that makes sense to them.

This way will not necessarily make as much sense to others – and as Einstein puts it, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.

  • Does this resonate with what Hau’ofa was preaching in his essay we looked at earlier about the lens through which Pacific Studies was being taught?
  • Have you felt like certain tests have not reflected your real ability?
  • Have you felt like certain tests have been made to reflect your ability?

Food for thought… here’s some quotes to end this section about this concept of privilege:

Finally, watch this video for another perspective on privilege and how it plays out in our society:

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