BuzzFeed recently facilitated an activity to show people what societal privilege looks like. A diverse group of 10 people were taken into a room and asked to stand next to each other hand in hand in a line. They were then asked a list of 35 questions regarding social privileges and disadvantages.
Some of the questions included:
“If you can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, take one step forward.”
“If you have ever been diagnosed with a physical or mental illness/disability, take one step back.”
“If you get time off for your religious holidays, take one step forward.”
Depending on how they related to the question, participants took corresponding steps forward and back. Despite the expectations the participants had about the position they would end up in the room, the final result was confronting, frustrating, awkward and emotional for many of them.
It's a powerful visual intended to remind us — we might look the same on the outside, but we all come from a different place. And as humanitarians, we need to remember that it's on us to support each other.